For me, it could be worse. There are plenty of power outlets and a wifi day pass is only $8.
It got worse.
9:30 pm: the 11 pm flight (originally scheduled to leave at 7:10 pm) is canceled.
9:45 pm: Best Delta can do is get me on a 7 am flight out of Laguardia, or I could be on a 11:15 am out of Newark. I go for the 7 am one. I’m told with all the canceled flights, there’s no hope of getting a hotel room anywhere near Newark airport, and Delta won’t help in any way since the delays are due to "act of God."
10:30 pm: I get my luggage and catch a cab to Laguardia. On the way, Nancy (who is already in Atlanta) calls to tell me that there’s a motel near Laguardia that has a vacancy. I give the cab driver the address. He has no idea where that is. It’s near where I used to live, so I guide him to the best of my memory.
11:30 pm: still in the cab…on a whim, I use my Cingular 8125’s browser to go to delta.com and check the 7 am flight’s status.
It’s canceled. #%#^&@!%!!!!!!
I call Delta (disconnected twice after being on hold for 10 minutes each time). There is no flight I can get on out of JFK or Laguardia. The next available flight to Atlanta is the 11:15 am out of Newark.
midnight: I tell the driver (who is lost trying to find this Queens motel) to take me back to Newark airport and I’ll pay the round trip ($140 plus $6 for the toll…yes, that’s not a typo…I was quoted $68 to go from Newark to Laguardia). I call Nancy and she scopes out hotels in the Newark area. The only thing she can find with an opening is a place called Spring Lane Motel. It’s either that or a chair at the terminal, so I give the driver the address. He gets lost. Again. Takes me to a different flea bag hotel and I argue with him that when I say "nine thirty" that isn’t the same thing as "1-7-8".
12:30 am: finally arrive. One jokes about "rooms by the hour" but now I know that such places really exist. The manager told me he was giving me one of the "nice" rooms…thinking of the not-so-nice rooms are the things nightmares are made out of. Probably the big difference is that my room didn’t have the chalk outline of a body on the carpet. I took note of the signs on the office door "Cash only." "3 hour rate: $40 on weekends" and my favorite: "Condoms are not refundable"
I got to the room, dead bolted the door, turned on all the lights, tried to ignore the smell and sat in a chair watching MSNBC until daylight. I dozed for maybe 30 minutes at a stretch a couple of times.
5:45 am: feeling it safe to venture outside, I catch a cab to the airport with a fellow guest from Oklahoma that got stuck in the Garden State on a layover. He said he went to no less than 15 hotels around the airport last night before finally checking in to the land of nonrefundable condoms. His final destination is Kuwait. The cab driver, different one, doesn’t understand when we say that we’re going to the airport and he starts to take us to Newark/Penn Station (the NJ Transit/Amtrak station). Finally, we get him to turn around and head to the airport.
7 am: I check my bag (again), go through security (again) and settle down with a cup of coffee, my laptop and a power outlet.
It doesn’t look good. The first flight to Atlanta was canceled, and everyone was bumped to the 8 am flight which is delayed until 10 am. People are complaining. I used to think a 2 hour delay was bad, too. So far, my 11:15 am flight is still showing "on time" but I’m not counting on anything. I don’t even have a seat assignment, just a confirmation thing that I’m on the flight. I have to wait until the gate opens on that and goodness help a ticket agent who tries to tell me that the flight is overbooked. It won’t be pretty.
Update: finally karma is on my side. I was one of the first names called to get a seat on the 11:15 am flight. Turns out it was a flight that Delta added just to accommodate all the over booking. The pilot announced that the crew had just 15 minutes notice to leave Atlanta. Finally arrived in Atlanta at around 2 pm. Just got out of one of the best showers of my life…the smell of that room is still stuck in my nose, though. Ick.