Delayed!

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[Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

It finally hit.  Day 7 of the #My500Words challenge.  I have nothing to write about.  I’m also extremely sleepy, but I have to get 500 words in before midnight.  Earlier in the week, I joked with a friend who is also doing the challenge that writers must be very competitive people.  That was probably an over-generalization.  The people who’ve signed up for this challenge are probably very competitive!  Lol.

So here I am, trying to figure out what I’m going to say for the next 400 words or so.  Nothing interesting happened to me today.  I spent the day doing a lot of driving – taking my aunt on a couple of errands and then picking up a friend from the airport.  My friend had an interesting story – she was supposed to get back here to Maryland last Thursday, but she got caught up in the whirlwind of cancelled flights that swept the country.  I think I heard on the radio that there were 4000 flights canceled / delayed, leaving about 200,000 people stranded because of weather.  So my girl got stuck in Florida.  Not a bad place to be stuck, actually, while the east coast was experiencing Extremely Colder Than Normal Temperatures.  🙂  Fortunately for her, she had family in FL, so she got an unexpected addition to her “vacation”.  But there were people I’m sure, who were stuck in cities where they didn’t know anyone, racking up expenses that they hadn’t planned on.

We got stuck in an airline debacle once – it was the winter about four years ago that people in the DMV call Wintergeddon.  We were trying to get to Trinidad (yes, the tropics!) and got stuck in JFK.  We spent about six or eight hours waiting in the airport trying to get another flight – with a toddler – before we gave in and went to stay with my husband’s aunt.  We spent the next two days trekking back and forth from her home to JKF before giving up, admitting defeat, and driving back home to Maryland.  By then the snow had started to melt, and we were eventually able to get new tickets – this time flying south, NOT north, to Trinidad, via Florida.

When you stop to think about it, it’s amazing that we don’t have more massive airline cancellations than we already do.  You can see how easy it is to happen.  Flight 101 on Airline QRS  is supposed to leave Chicago at 1:25 p.m., heading for Miami.  Because of weather, it’s canceled.  This means that Airline QRS now has to re-seat about 200 people on another flight.  Good luck doing that during Christmas week when flights are pretty much booked solid.  The airline will only be able to get 1 or 2 people at most on standby on each of the remaining flights to Miami that day, leaving more than 150 people stranded in Chicago.  Now imagine that happening to ALL of Airline QRS’ flights, and then imagine that happening to ALL of the airlines that fly in the country.

I did a quick Google to see if I could get an exact or more accurate count of the number of flights canceled.  To my surprise, there are two websites that actually track and graph this data – flightstats.com and flightaware.com.  Who knew??  Flightaware reports that yesterday, there were 14,000 delays and almost 4,600 cancellations.  Flightstats says that last week (Dec 29 – Jan 4), there were more than 12,400 cancellations and almost 63,000 delays.  Can you understand now my girlfriend being stuck in Florida from last Thursday to today?

I have to travel to Chicago next week.  Hopefully everyone’s dug out from the snow, temperatures have returned to normal and we’re back on track flight-wise.  Otherwise, I may be writing a #My500Words post on being stuck in an airport.  🙂 Speaking of which -I’m over  600 words now.  Good night!  Safe travels.

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