September 3, 2016: Maria Comes to New York, Sort Of

Today is Maria’s travel day from Panama to Rochester.  She was up and left for the airport at seven this morning in Panama City.  That part of her day went relatively well.  The plan is that she is going to fly United from Panama City, Panama; to Houston, Texas; to Dulles, Virginia and finally to Rochester, New York arriving just before midnight.  I will be running up to the airport to pick her up when we see her flight getting in.  We have concerns about delays (or worse) because of the tropical storm named Hermine that is currently hanging off of the US east coast and is battering Maryland and Virginia a little bit, but right now, further to the south.  So fingers crossed all day.

We were watching her progress all day, certain that things would end up going wrong.  We are at dad’s house today as we watch for Maria to arrive.  We are all a bit tired, even the kids, after a full week of a ridiculous amount of driving.  At least it was spread out, but we’ve been driving six hours or more every day this week!  We are so tired of driving.

Maria’s trip from Panama City to Houston went fine.  But things starting going wrong once she landed in Houston.  United only allowed her about two hours for getting off of her plane, getting through immigrations and customs, getting to her new gate and boarding her next flight on to Dulles.  The line at US immigration was incredibly long and after being in it for more than an hour she still had more than seventy people in the line!  She was an hour or more farther back in line when she was already supposed to be at her gate!  A security guard (probably a TSA agent) told her that there was no way that she was making her flight and to prepare for being stuck.  So at least she had some warning.

To make things more complicated, United has essentially no additional north eastern bound flights for the evening and definitely none going to Dulles and/or Rochester tonight.  So this means that she is missing her flight tonight, totally.

She got through immigration and then customs and went to the United desk to find out what they were going to do since they had scheduled an impossible flight connection and left her there even though she had arrived on time and gone directly from gate to gate as fast as was possible.  United was rude and ridiculous and treated her like it was her fault that they hadn’t scheduled their flights correctly.  They refused to do anything for her, would not even get her a hotel or anything.  After a bit of cajoling they finally decided to allow her onto a flight to Newark, New Jersey tonight that would get in around midnight, but would not get her on to Rochester until tomorrow and told her that she was “free to sleep in the airport”.  Um, Newark Liberty Airport?  That’s scary and totally inappropriate to tell her to sleep in.  That airport is not safe and is totally abandoned late at night.  We are not at all happy that United suggested something so crazy.

Maria had a few hours of waiting on her new flight, it was not set to leave until around six.  We knew that leaving her in Newark was not okay, so I got ready and left the house at six to drive down to Newark to meet her when her flight got in.

I got to Dansville and already her flight was getting very delayed due to mechanical issues on the plane, so I stopped at Subway and got some dinner.

The drive down to Newark went fine.  I continued listening to the history of the Wright Brothers that I have on Audible.  Maria’s plane finally took off only about an hour late and is scheduled to arrive at one in the morning.

Dominica, Art and Danielle went up to Rochester tonight, while I was out getting Maria, so that they could scout out bars on East Ave. for the conference next week.  Dad stayed home with the girls all evening.

It was nearly one in the morning when I got to the airport.  Maria’s flight had just arrived.  The timing was perfect, I had to do one lap of the airport while she was waiting on her luggage… which never arrived.  It turns out that that was sent on to Rochester and would be arriving there tomorrow morning around ten in the morning.

So we got Maria in the car, thankfully her important stuff was all in carry on bags so only her clothes and things that she can easily replace are in her luggage en route to Rochester without her, and we were on our way west again.  I already did over five hours of driving to get here, now to do another five or more to get back.  This is going to be one long night.