Friday, April 11, 2008

As If 28 Hours Wasn't Enough!

What a miserable ending to such a wonderful World Finals. We're stuck in Minneapoles with a wonderful snow storm brewing outside and a blizzard forecast for tomorrow morning!

It all started last night when we had the first snow in Banff and it came down hard, although it didn't last very long. We took the bus to Calgary this morning at 09:30 and as we got closer to Calgary airport so the snow started to plummet. By the time we arrived at the airport the roads were full of slush, the trees were coated in thick snow and the visibility was limited to less than 100 meters. About half a foot of snow had fallen in a matter of hours.

It went from this in Banff:

to this in Calgary:

to this at the airport:

As we got off the bus we were debating as to whether or not the flight was delayed. Unfortunately my gut feelings were confirmed when our flight originally scheduled for take-off at 13:50 was delayed until 14:54. I was immediately concerned as our connection time was already limited to 90 minutes, but as it stood we would have been able to make it. We were also told the weather in Minneapoles where we were to stop-over was also bad so we were hoping that our connecting flight was also ironic!

When we went to check-in we discovered there were several teams on the same flight, some of whom also had tight connections. So we weren't entirely board waiting as we got to meet more teams. As the time approached so the delay was extended! We finally started boarding at about 16:00. When boarding I asked one of the flight attendants for the expected arrival time and it she said 19:27. The woes...our connection was scheduled to depart at 18:58 and it was shown as on time on their systems. So things were looking rather bad!

Finally we took off at about 16:30 and when we were approaching Minneapoles they told us that only one runway was in use due to bad weather!! So we had to fly in circles and only got to land at 20:30. Boy did we cross our fingers and just wish as hard as we could! We were told to go to gate G15 to get details on our connmecting flight. Some people called to find out about their connecting flights, but since our phones don't work in the US we had to stand in the queue. Luckily we chanced our luck and went to another gate that was able to help us without the wait. Unfortunately our flight had just departed 40 minutes ago!

There was, however, a flight to JFK departing at 22:50 so we changed to that flight. When we went to ask about our luggage at the gate they told us that due to the bad weather they were not re-routing any luggage and therefore our luggage would be sent to LGA (another airport in New York). So we were faced with two options:

1. Take the 22:50 flight to JFK tonight arriving at 02:30, taking a taxi to the hotel and then visiting LGA to collect our luggage.

2. Take a 07:00 flight to LGA tomorrow morning arriving at 10:39 and taking the bus to the hotel.

Tough choice! We had had enough of slugging around though and therefore after much debate we settled for the second option. The flight to JFK has just departed and so now we're stuck with our choice. Since there are so many delayed flights they've supplied portable mattresses for us to sleep on so we'll at least get a decent sleep at the airport.

Now we just need to hope like hell that this weather doesn't further affect us tomorrow morning and that our flight leaves on time. It's not looking good though as it's been coming down hard for the last two hours and there's a blizzard forecast for tomorrow!

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