Because it was $200 cheaper and I wouldn't be spending close to that much on gas driving there, I bought a ticket out of Phoenix. It's about a 2 hour drive to Sky Harbor Airport from my house so I picked an afternoon flight out so that I would have enough time to drop Sammy off at the kennel (poor baby!), get to Phoenix, find parking, and get to my gate. It was no problem getting out, as I was only flying into Las Vegas. When I got there I realized that my other tickets didn't print out because they were from a different airline. Let me tell you, McCarran International Airport was confusing! In the terminal I came in my connecting flight wasn't shown on the displays so I didn't know what gate it was departing from. Frustrated, I decided just to go down to ticketing and go through security again. I was cutting it close, but the guy at the counter told me the flight to Seattle was delayed a little. I made my flight because it was delayed 2 hours! That's more than "a little" delayed, don't you think? Because of that, I wouldn't make my flight to Walla Walla. Only one airline flies there and I was on the last flight of the night. I almost cried. If I missed it, there weren't any available flights until Christmas morning (2 days later). Flying standby might have been possible, but I'm sure all the flights were full, due to the catch up of all the canceled flights due to the weather.
Seattle wasn't even that bad. I think all their runways were open by the time I came in, but it was something seeing all the snow piled up alongside the runways! I've never seen so much snow there! By the time I walked into the airport I had come to terms with the fact that my flight was long gone, having taken off 40 minutes prior. Just a quick look on the monitor on my way to the bathroom, you know, just in case. To my surprise, my flight had been delayed until 11:25! I had been ready to call one of my friends and visit one of my favorite watering holes.
I was nervous waiting there for those 2 hours. My terminal was a nightmare, full of frustrated people, garbage littering the seats and floor, flights being canceled left and right after having been delayed for hours, and the would-be travelers filing into a never-ending line to rebook. The more time I sat there the more I felt it a possibility that I would be in those people's shoes. But I made it on and landed in cold, snowy Walla Walla 4 hours later than planned. Did I mention only the runway was clean and there was ice everywhere else? We even got stuck in the airport parking lot. My mom had taken to keeping a tiny little shovel in her trunk for those situations, so that along with some muscle power provided by my younger sister and I and we were on our way.
I'll save the rest of my visit home for another post because I have some pictures to upload and share! I got back to Tucson this morning at 2. The TSA in Walla Walla is to blame for that one. One terminal, one gate, arrival time one hour prior to flight departure and I still managed to miss that flight. There were four TSA guys working that one security checkpoint. Four! Yet, I, along with 5 other passengers, were left behind because those guys were excessively thorough and unbelievably slow. I did make it through once. After having my purse scanned....and rescanned (watch out for that fragile Christmas ornament in there!), I was pulling on my boots when one of "them" came up to me to tell me they couldn't get my suitcase open. I didn't know a lock was set for it! Frustrated because I had to take all my belongings with me and go through all that again, I walked out of the "safe" zone to deal with the suitcase. Remind me to thank my husband for that....I really had no idea! I got it open by lucky guess (I know my husband too well) and went back into the security line. I was two people back when they closed that one gate. I was fuming for maybe 5 minutes, but my mom had some words for the security people. Why can't TSA work together with the airlines? It just doesn't make sense to me.
So I got into Phoenix at 10:15, had to take a bus to the right terminal to claim my bags that got there before me, and find that my suitcase wasn't there after all! The slow-cooker from my brother was there, but suitcase was not. I didn't leave the airport until 11:30 and proceeded to get lost trying to navigate the highways of Phoenix. I was ready to wring the neck of the guys who designed their freeway system. Doesn't it make sense that if you get off at a certain street exit, there should be an entrance back onto the highway there as well? Not in Phoenix! It was awesome.
Wow, that was boring! I apologize. Oh well, at least I only had to do without my makeup and favorite clothes for one day because my suitcase just got here!