We got to the airport with plenty of time. Returned the van and got our bags checked. The lady at the counter said that there was some weather in Newark and all flights were delayed 45 minutes to an hour. I was uneasy, again with tight connections, but what can you do? Finally two and a half hours later we are taking off! We are being told that Newark is at a full stop, so connections should not be a problem.
Then we headed South.
You may not be a geography genius, neither am I, but I can assure you that New Jersey is not south of Florida! We were then informed that we were being re-routed due to the conflicting with the Shuttle launch! Mind you, if we had taken off on time, we would not be conflicting with the shuttle launch.
Here is the upside of this problem...we saw the launch from the air! And it was very cool to see and Jewel can't stop talking about it!
We finally head to Newark and finally land. We are still being told that the airport is at a full stop. This is good, since it is 45 minutes since we were supposed to leave for England. We are also told that there are 65 international connectors on our flight so we are priority to the gate. They ask non-international passengers to let the international passengers off. Of course, no one listens. By the way, it is totally dry and no sign of bad weather as we flew in. The airport is in chaos from so many cancelled, late or missed flights, but it is not at a full stop!
We are in luck, however, as our flight is leaving in 14 minutes and we only have two gates to go to get to it. We run. The plane is at the gate. The door is closed. There is NO ONE working at the gate. And, there are eight transfer passengers from our flight at the door that we can't get through and there is NO ONE to ask! The plane leaves.
We go to the information desk. As you can imagine the queues are forever because this is happening to everyone. German gets in line. He tells me to take Flower and go to the gate of the next flight (leaving in 90 minutes) and see if I can get us on. I go to the gate and the rudest person in the world says she won't deal with me, to go to information. I go to another information desk. Thankfully the flight is delayed. German had been in a queue for 2 hours and I had been in another queue 90 minutes with at least 2 hours to go before either of us will reach the beginning of the line when a guy from our flight came by and told me he got on...to go to the desk (which is a new desk because they moved it). And it had new staff!
I do that. She tells me they are full. I ask when the next flight is and she says 730 the next evening (it is almost 10pm by now). I ask about our chances on that flight and she said it was sold out as well. I told her I was traveling with a three year old and a five year old and I was desperate. She then came back and said she had four middle seats on this flight. I told her I'd take them! She was amazed and I said I was desperate and the girls travel well. I phoned German and told him to run because we had about 10 minutes before they loaded the plane!
German and Jewel arrived. We get our boarding cards. We have 31A (window), 30B (middle), 28B (middle) and 12B (middle). German takes 12 and the girls and I go to the back. I put Jewel in 28 and I put Flower in 30 and I wait with her. She goes into total meltdown that I won't let her sit in the window seat. Just then, the owner of 30A arrives. The look on his face was priceless! I asked if he would switch with me and take 31A and he couldn't accept fast enough! lol. Flower immediately stopped crying when I told her she could now sit in the window seat. (He later accused me of pinching her so that no one would want to sit with her). Flower is settled. I give Jewel some snacks and tell her to go to sleep when the plane takes off. The lady beside her smiles incredulously. But, just as the plane was pushing back the man in 30E (middle across aisle from me) moved so I had the flight attendant move Jewel to there so I could at least see her. She ate her snack and went to sleep and slept until we got to England! The passengers around her could not believe how well she travels. I could only thank God for his blessings of her being able to do that.
We arrived in Manchester late the next morning to rain and cold. But we were home, albeit 5 hours after we had hoped to arrive. But home can look awfully good, especially after a 27 hour day.
No more holiday posts! Thanks for indulging me (like you had a choice). It was a magical holiday and we will do it again someday.