GreenReaper (greenreaper) wrote,
GreenReaper
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Chicago O'Hare Airport madness

When I went to Further Confusion 2007 I took my laptop to write up some notes, which later ended up in this Wikinews story.

On the way, I ended up in the unfortunate situation of being stuck in Chicago airport overnight - after a full day of work. Naturally, I recorded that as well.

5:00PM: Leave for the airport in a taxi
5:03PM: Run into huge traffic jam waiting for a train to cross
5:05PM: Realize that the start of rush hour is not necessarily the best time to leave for the airport
5:40PM: Arrive at airport, 40 minutes later and $50 lighter
5:45PM: Informed for the first time (but not the last) that the threat advisory level is ORANGE
5:50PM: Check-in staff are courteous and helpful, whod've thought it?
6:00PM: Security screening. Don't tell them about the suspicious block of chocolate in my checked luggage.
6:40PM: Aren't we meant to have started boarding by now?
7:00PM: The pilot has found a "minor mechanical malfunction" with the wheel door hatch
7:20PM: Engineer arrives, a ten minute job predicted
8:00PM: We finally get to board the flight. Unfortunately it's been at the gate so long it needs de-icing again, and we missed our slot to go.
8:30PM: Finally in the air . . . the flight to Chicago takes almost an hour, but we end up in Central time.
8:25PM (CST): Get out of the gate, find (as expected) that the connecting flight has left, and that there are no more flights to San Diego.
8:35PM: Arrive at Customer Service desk. Queue time. Hey, we British are meant to be good at that, right?
8:45PM: Strike up a conversation with a guy with a zillion airmiles who apparently got forgotten about for the whole day. He was not amused.
9:00PM: Get to the front. Find I've been rebooked on the earliest possible flight anywhere - 6AM to Denver, then on to San Jose.
9:05PM: Am given token compensation of a discounted hotel room. Head for the last known location of the shuttles.
9:10PM: Realise after leaving the security zone that I don't really want to spend $60 on a hotel ten miles away when I have to be back at the airport by 5:20AM. I stay.
10:30PM: After wandering aimlessly around Terminal 1 for a while, am informed that all the action is in Terminal 5, at the other end of the airport.
10:55PM: Airport food is overpriced and unimpressive. I later regret that I got the folded meat in bun, which was greasy, expensive *and* a little too hot.
11:30PM: Get a bit of coding done for Vista logon screen changer. Get distracted by promise of MS zip engine, find they've restricted it to private use only.
12:45AM: Having exhausted the interests of Terminal 5, I head back, finding that the transit system goes to just one set of cars during the night.
1:15AM: Terminal 1 is a wasteland of benches painted by local artists of Gallery 37 with sleeping people on them.
1:30AM: Wander aimlessly around luggage claim taking pictures of broken machines and the trolly cart system, for possible Wikipedia use (as it happens, I used one I took on the way back instead - it's now in baggage handler).
1:45AM: "Designated smoking area on the outside of the lower walkway?" Those guys got screwed.
1:50AM: Hmm. Those padded chairs by the luggage claim look awful comfy . . .
3:00AM: Shit! I fell asleep? What time is it?! Oh, too damn early again.
3:20AM: Get hassled by a guy who claims to be "with a group of people" who are "just trying to get home". I *think* he's trying to sell a stolen/broken CD player to me. We're both very tired.
3:30AM: TSA staff are starting to appear with regularity, and disappear into the doors in the walls.
3:45AM: Figure out Mr. "security level . . . ORANGE" is on a fifteen-minute timer. Wish I had an actual orange. Tummy still complaining about supper.
3:50AM: New travellers starting to arrive, followed a few minutes later by United people.
4:30AM: We're finally into the security zone. On to Denver!

Also, I still have a room available for Anthrocon.
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