Here’s a little chance involving a life, a death, a dental emergency, Delta Air Lines, bad weather, an impossibly beautiful granddaughter and how the cosmos sometimes conspires to bandy you a alternation of curveballs.
That’s the account for why I’m actuality in the Star Burghal this weekend, rather than in Austin, Texas, breadth I’d hoped to accommodated a smile-happy 3-month-old girl, Sadie Jacqueline Strayer, my aboriginal grandchild.
Her altogether was Jan. 3. The aing day, Donna flew bottomward there for two weeks. I didn’t go because I had acclimated up all my accessible vacation and adopted not to borrow any. So I planned to arch bottomward there in February, and was aflame about that.
Around Feb. 5, I got a alarm from my sister, who lives a Toledo, Ohio. Our 83-year-old mom, who additionally lived up there, was in declining health. I had to get there soon.
Then one of my advanced teeth started acting up — I bare an emergency basis canal. After that $1,200 adventure, I developed a abstruse infection in my nose, and saw a specialist. The allegation for that appointment appointment (before insurance) was $937.
Anyway, I got to Mom’s on Feb. 10 and alternate home Feb. 13. She died the aing day.
Then there was a burial to plan in Annapolis, breadth mom would be active aing to my dad, who died in 2008.
Getting her from Toledo to Annapolis, analogous with ancestors advance about the world, lining up the arrangements, and afresh the burial itself ate up best of the blow of February. So I couldn’t get to Austin.
My babe Caitlin — Sadie’s mom — was activity aback to assignment at the end of March. She capital me to appointment afore then, but for a array of affidavit it didn’t work.
So Donna and I fabricated affairs to go bottomward there for a continued weekend — THIS weekend. We chose Delta Air Lines, aerial through Atlanta, on a 7:59 p.m. flight Thursday out of Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
In hindsight this accepted to be unlucky. Had we paid $20 per admission added to fly American or United, through Charlotte or Chicago, we’d be in Austin appropriate now.
Anyway, Wednesday about 8 p.m., I got an email from Delta adage it was time to analysis in for our flights, so I did that electronically. Delta gave me a acceptance cardinal and texted our boarding passes to my cellphone.
Then there were clothes to launder, accoutrements to pack, a cavalcade to address afore I larboard town, and a abode to clean, so that aback we came home Monday about midnight, we wouldn’t be abiding to a mess.
Everything went calmly until Thursday afternoon. About 3 p.m., Donna appropriate I analysis on our flight status, because she’d heard some account about bad storms in Atlanta on Wednesday. On the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport website, I abstruse our flight had been canceled. Whoa!
Turns out, all Delta flights amid Roanoke and Atlanta (and a lot of added places) were canceled Thursday. This wasn’t Delta’s accountability — the Atlanta breadth got formed with crazy storms Wednesday that acquired the affliction calamity that burghal had apparent in years.
(It would accept been nice if Delta had notified us via argument or email, but for whatever acumen that didn’t happen.)
So I alleged the airline to try to rebook. Ha! That accepted impossible. Delta has a brace of toll-free chump account numbers; they were ashore with calls from bags of added black passengers. I spent a brace of hours aggravating to get through.
Each time, this was the message: “We’re apologetic all our circuits are active now. Please try your alarm afresh later.” (Those curve were still jammed, giving out the aforementioned message, as of Friday afternoon.)
Another way Delta suggests contacting them is via Twitter. So I approved that.
Around 4:30 p.m., I beatific the airline this tweet: “ @Delta You canceled my flight out of Roanoke. 5461. What are you activity to rebook me on? Why won’t your phones work?”
A few account later, I beatific this Tweet: “@Delta Last nite you gave me boarding passes for flight 5461. Today, canceled w/o notice. … Aback will I fly?”
The airline didn’t respond. But addition Delta chump on the West Coast did. His name is Greg Jumes: “Been tweeting them aback [7 a.m. Pacific time], they don’t accept the bandwidth to advice people.”
(By Friday afternoon Delta still hadn’t responded to my tweets. Jumes tweeted me that they hadn’t responded to him, either).
There’s an old reporter’s ambush for aback addition is alienated your buzz calls and/or emails: Go beating on their door. So Thursday about 5 p.m., Donna and I collection up to Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport to allege in actuality with addition from Delta.
As we waited in band abaft added Delta barter whose flights were canceled, we heard comment that Atlanta had been hit with 9 inches of rain in a seven-hour aeon Wednesday, or maybe it was the added way around.
(One of them, the bi-weekly said, was Greg Hall of Roanoke, who was aggravating to get home Wednesday from a business cruise in Louisiana. He declared his acquaintance as “a nightmare” and “a fiasco.” After his Thursday flight was canceled, Hall concluded up renting a car and active home.)
Back at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, a Delta rep told addition chump advanced of us that the airline had candy added refunds in the accomplished 24 hours than anytime afore in the company’s history. That’s an absorbing statistic, because Delta was founded 93 years ago.
When we got to the arch of the line, the Delta rep said there were no seats accessible Friday or Saturday. She offered to rebook us on a flight abrogation Roanoke on Sunday evening. Because we bare to be aback in Roanoke Monday night, that didn’t accomplish any sense.
“Thank advantage this didn’t appear in February  aback we were activity bottomward there for the wedding,” Donna said. Indeed.
Anyway, we asked for a refund. At the time of this writing, it’s still actuality processed.
We looked at some flights on added airlines. They were about all booked. Added delayed travelers had biconcave up those seats advanced of us. One airline had a brace of tickets accessible for $800 each, about $300 per admission added than we had paid Delta. That was too much. We absitively to bag the cruise altogether.
In the car on the way home, Donna was crushed.
“I aloof appetite to cry,” she said. She’s dying to see Sadie again.
We may try afresh after this month. It would be nice to accommodated my granddaughter afore she grows her aboriginal tooth, or takes her aboriginal steps, or utters her aboriginal word, you know?
But a awe-inspiring little articulation is whispering in my arch notions of added being that will happen; that fate will cabal adjoin me already again; that added roadblocks are coming.
I’m developing a circuitous about this — like the cosmos doesn’t appetite me to go to Austin.
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