Our trip home was Saturday, and e-baby did not want to go to sleep Friday night until almost 1am. She knew she'd miss her cousins. But 5 hours of sleep followed by 8 hours of airplanes isn't all that awful so I wasn't sweating it. E-baby did really well on her flights to Seattle (2 1/2 hrs plus 4 1/2 hrs flight times as well as a 2-hour layover), and she was mostly happy on the seattle to chicago leg, except for one total ears-hurting meltdown that lasted as long as it takes to fish out the baby tylenol and sneak a few drops into e's mouth, and then she slept the rest of the time.
Our flight left Seattle at 10:45, landing 4 hours later. That'll be 2:45, set watch forward a few hours, next flight leaves at 5:45, that's a 3 hour layover. Right?
Plenty of time to be the last one off the plane, then go to the Admiral's club, change a diaper, throw a blanket on the floor and play until time for the last flight home.
Diaper, play, play, look at stupid TV coverage of garbage news, look at watch, still an hour until take-off (time sure flies when you're having fun), half an hour until boarding, check monitor for delays and HOLLYCARP THAT MONTIOR SAYS IT IS 5:43?!?!?!?! My WATCH SAYS 4:43?!?!?!?! WHAT THE???? I thought I had a 3-hour layover!
Um, yeah. too many time zones to keep track of and I screwed up BIG time and completely missed my flight home. My layover was actually one hour. First things first: call the Platinum desk. They always brag on the benefits of having status and using The Platinum Desk.
Platinum desk tells me that they cannot rebook me. I have to see a gate agent.
Gate agent tells me that they cannot help me, and that I have to rebook from one of the Red Courtesy Phones.
Red Courtesy Phone lady tells me she can't help me, that I have to rebook with the gate agent (who has, by now, left the gate) or leave the security checkpoint and go to the main ticket counter.
Meanwhile, e-baby hasn't eaten in over 4 hours (another time-zone mix-up) and is screaming her head off, I'm in tears because there are no more flights back to Raleigh, or anything within 200 miles of Raleigh that isn't oversold.
I beg, I plead with Red Courtesy Phone lady that I have a 5-month old, we've been travling since that morning, and it seems that NO ONE at American Airlines can help me and do I just have to rent a car and drive back to Raleigh?
That got her attention. She told me that she has a new grandbaby and she wasn't going to let that happen. Hold music. Screaming baby. SNG in my other ear (cell phone) saying to go down to United and catch their flight at 9:20pm. Hold music. Screaming baby. A friendly 20-year old offering to hold the baby while I get all this sorted out. E-baby screaming at the friendly woman. Red Courtest Phone lady tells me she will rebook me on the 7:15am flight at no charge (technically against AA's rules) because she's a rebel fighting for the cause of tiny babies stranded in airports. E-baby squirming out of 20-something's arms. SNG saying "Go to United! Go to United!" Confirm 2 seats aboard Sunday morning's flight with American. Hang up one phone, hang up the other, get e-baby back down to earth.
Call back SNG-- the United tickets are over $500 each.
SNG finally relented from his United battlecry, and gave me the number for the Chicago O'Hare Airport Hilton. King bed, non-smoking, porta-crib, toothbrush, free breakfast and all for a mere pittance of Hilton points. I keep the most well-stocked diaper bag ever, and had a clean outfit and blanket for e-baby and basic personal hygiene stuff for myself. Socks can be sink-washed and dried in front of the heater vent.
In spite of the rookie time-zone mistake, I am, still, a Road Warrior. The picture at the top of this post is e-baby the Road Warrior at the O'Hare Hilton.
We were asleep by 10, I was awake by 2 (um, 3? time change, so there was no 2:00. I was awake 4 hours later) and lay there staring at the red light on the smoke detector until the wake-up call at 5. E-baby thought it was entirely too early to be awake, but she smiled graciously at everyone in her vicinity.
We just got home an hour ago. e-baby and I both missed SNG so much. He and she are busy staring at each other all day today.