How do I even explain the last 24 hours? In a word: crazy.
So there I was, just sitting at the airport charging my iPhone and enjoying a delicious Starbucks coffee. Everything was going swimmingly. Then, suddenly my phone lit up and I saw the word CANCELLED.
I rushed to the gate to talk with the attendant and find out what happened. No details were offered other than to say that the flight to Paris was cancelled and they had no way to route me to Tel Aviv.
I called the airline, walked quickly towards the help desk, and sent a text to Jodi all at the same time. Jodi began at once to try to find a solution. The airline took my number and said they would call me back.
I arrived at the airline help desk and was first in line. I could see the look of terror building on the face of the person who was helping me. The line behind me grew quickly and loudly.
The attendant could not get me to Tel Aviv. She found a flight that got me close, but it was apparently booked by someone else while she was looking at the screen. The best she could do was to get me on the same flight the next day. I would have to stay in New York overnight and I would be a day late to join up with the group. That did not make me happy, but what do you do? My options were pretty limited.
While I was taking with the attendant at the help desk, the airline called me twice. I didn’t want to answer since I was currently talking with the attendant. They called again after I rebooked my flight for the next day and I asked if there was anyway to get to Tel Aviv earlier than a day late. I was hoping the person on the phone was privy to more information than the lady at the help desk.
We had two options. IF I could get on a flight to Madrid, then I could get onto a flight to Tel Aviv from there. There was also a flight heading to Zurich from which I could connect to Tel Aviv. I quickly made my way to both of those gates and waited in line to speak with the attendant. In both cases I had no success. Meanwhile I was contacting Jodi to see if she found anything from our home computer (she is a bit of a ninja when it comes to finding things for me). Unfortunately, she was not having any success this time, either.
I made one last effort on my way out to speak with an attendant at yet another help desk. She looked and looked and found nothing.
There you have it.
I finally gave in to the reality that I was going to be an entire day late for my Israel adventure. How disappointing!
(I found these circumstance especially ironic given the fact that while I was traveling today I was writing a blog post entitled “Dealing With Disappointment”.)
I collected my checked luggage and left the airport. I took the airbus to the place where the hotel vans come to pick up passengers and take them to the nearby hotels. While I was just about to load my things into the hotel van, I received a text from Jodi.
“Stay at the airport. I’m on the phone now.”
Okay. I had actually already left the airport, but decided I had better head backlight away. I jumped on the airbus train again and started back towards the airport. Sure enough, Jodi had found a way to get me to Israel, but I had to hurry!!
I had just over an hour to get back to the airport, get my flight confirmed, get my luggage checked, get through security, and make my way to the gate. That’s not very much time. Everything had to go well.
Nothing went well.
Somehow my flight confirmation was stuck online so I couldn’t check-in electronically. I had to wait in line to speak with a representative… the representative was not authorized to confirm my flight, so she had to wait for her superior to come down and confirm.
I was trying to be patient, but it was difficult. Time kept on slipping, slipping into the future.
FINALLY, I was confirmed. I grabbed my ticket and ran to security. I made it through security and ran to the gate.
Just in time.
I was able to get on a flight to Madrid, and from Madrid to Tel Aviv.
I am now in Israel. I successfully made my way from Tel Aviv airport to the Jaffa Gate in the Old City in Jerusalem. What an adventurous way to start an Israel adventure!