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Millennium Philcon... Flights From Hell

Millennium Philcon started for me at about 3am Eastern time. That's when I got out of bed in Gravesend, England to go catch my flight at Gatwick. I was tired- I'd stayed up far too late the night before at a house sing with Tim, Annie, Phil, Lissa, Alex, Rika, David, Kirsten, Volker, Nicholas, and Katy.

Tim drove me to the airport, and dropped me at the gate. (Oh, THANK YOU Mike and Tim- for airport tourist shuttling above and beyond the call of duty!!) I wandered, bleary-eyed to the ticket counter and checked in. Then I walked by a Boots, and purchased a supply of Smarties to hold me over for a month or so... bloody addictions... ;)

The Flight From Hell
Found my way to the gate, got on the plane, sat down. Got up at 2:30pm in Pittsburgh. Ate lunch. Sat down on another plane at 6:30pm to go to Detroit (the plane was late). Got off the plane at 7:30 in Detroit, retrieved my luggage, cut off the US Airways tags, then schlepped it all all the way to the other side of the airport to catch my Northwest flight to Chicago. Sat down at 9pm for my one hour flight- I should arrive in Chicago at 9pm Central.

riiiiight.

We took off on time, and around Kalamazoo started circling. THEN we started seeing the pretty, pretty light show that the local thunderstorm was giving us. THEN we were told that there were (ahem) "traffic problems" at O'Hare. It turned out the nice little pretty lightshow I was watching was one of the biggest thunderstorm chains in recent memory- and it chose to hover right over O'Hare (held there by Lake Michigan, I'm guessing).

We circled for an hour. Then we ran out of gas, and landed at... Milwaukee. It's now 10pm. NOW we hear about massive thunderstorms at O'Hare; and nothing is going in or out of the airport. So, they let us out of the plane, so we can wander the closed shops and concourses of the Milwaukee airport. We sit. And sit. And sit. We're told that things might clear soon. We sit some more. At 12:30 we're told we can take off. We get on the plane. And sit. I *FINALLY* fall asleep, 22 hours or so since I got up. I drowsily wake up noticing that it's 3am, and we're still on the tarmac at Milwaukee. Soon after that, we do finally take off.

30 minutes later, we're in Chicago. Joy.

Alyse (god, I love this woman...) stayed at O'Hare until I got there. She had just as good a time on my flight as I did... *sigh* She met me at the gate, and we realized that since my flight to Philadelphia left at 7am the next morning; and it was now 4am; it would probably not be an intelligent thing to actually sleep at this point- or else I would miss my flight. So, we went out to breakfast.

At the appointed hour, Alyse dropped me back off at the airport and she went home for some much needed sleep. I went to the ticket counter.

Mind you, I'm still schlepping the Mountain Of Luggage (tm) with the tshirts, assorted WorlDream paperwork, pictures, etc. I haven't touched it since packing it in England.

So, the first thing the ticket agent asks me- "Have you been in complete control of your luggage since you packed it?" I answer her honestly. She double takes at my 'No' answer. I then explain that I packed the bags 29 hours ago in England; the airlines have actually had them most of the time. She says "Oh, that doesn't count. You're fine." and proceeds to check my bags in. Sometimes the airlines scare me...

I get on my plane bound for... Detroit. Yep, Detroit. I have a connecting flight from Detroit to Philadelphia. You may ask- "Why all this running around?", and I may answer "Because it is Alyse's birthday on Sunday, and I have to end up in Chicago after Worldcon to be there".

And here you thought I'd never get to it... Millennium Philcon- the Con Report

Copyright © 2001 Steve Macdonald