Today did not turn out at all as I thought it would. As I type this, I’m actually on a bus traveling from New York City to Ithaca. (Yay for wi-fi on busses in the US!) we had a full house this morning at the bed & breakfast and even tried a new egg-free crepe recipe, filled with tomatoes, chives, basil, arugula and baby spinach, and herb & garlic cream cheese. The guests who chose it declared it a winner.
After breakfast was finished, D’Arcy and the kids loaded into the car to take me to the Halifax Stanfield International airport, 45 minutes from home, so that I could go to Cornell University to take the third course in my certification in Strategic Hospitality Management. The course I’m taking during the next week is called, “Strategic Financial Management for Hotels”.
The drive to the airport was uneventful, and we got there in enough time that we could check in and then watch planes take off from the observation deck. It was raining fairly heavily. I had a asked Our 14 year old to re-explain the Bernoulli Effect to me again last night, as I was a bit worried about the weather. I told him i was nervous about flying in lightening and he advised me to choose an aisle seat. My family walked me to security when it was time and we said our goodbyes with many hugs and kisses.
I had packed very carefully to ensure I would not have to Check my luggage. As I went through the scanner, it beeped and I was told I had been selected for a random check. I was given a choice of having a pat-down or going into the full body scanner. I chose the scanner. It turned out I had my glasses on my head and they were what set it off, luckily, the security agents decided I looked harmless enough and sent me through without any further questions.
When I got through security, I met up with Loretta, who took the same course as I did two summers ago, and who was on my same flight. We chatted a bit about our quick connection time in Newark (we had a half hour scheduled to land and change terminals) but hoped all would go smoothly. In no time at all we were boarding the flight.
The plane was a small one. I’m not sure how many rows, but I was in a seat by myself and there were two people in the aisle across from me. I had a glass of wine (free!!)!and it tasted good! I did my homework readings and then shut my eyes for a bit. The pilot had anticipated a smooth ride and once we were above the level of the clouds, the sunshine was beautiful! He even thought we would arrive in Newark ahead of schedule! I was pleased with how well things were going.
About half an hour before we were scheduled to land, the pilot announced that he had been told to reduce speed and anticipated some bumps as we descended. He wasn’t kidding! We had one drop that caused most people to let out a gasp and I was happy I had kept my seatbelt on! It was really beautiful, however, as we flew by the New York City and I was able to spot the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.
Loretta and I rushed from one terminal to the other, happy that we were going to make it in time. When we got to the gate, it read “to Albany”. I asked the lady at the ticket counter if the gate for our flight had been changed, and she replied, “Your flight has been cancelled due to lightening!” Ugh. She directed us to customer service where we waited in a liane for an hour-and-a-half. There were other people who were in the same predicament as we were. We spoke with a grad student who was in line ahead of us and he had been able to get his flight changed fly to Syracuse at 9:00 pm, and then planned to rent a car for the hour from Syracuse to Ithaca. We tried to do the same when we got to the counter, but were told he had booked the last available seat. We were rebooked on a flight to Ithaca that was not due to depart Newark until 2:15 tomorrow AND to rub salt in the wound, United Air was not willing to refund any part of our ticket price, nor were they contributing to food or hotel for the unexpected layover, not to mention the hotel room we had booked and would not be sleeping in. Humph.
A couple who had been behind us in line (going to visit his mother and sister in Ithaca) ended up at the agent next to ours. I happened to look over and ask if they’d had any luck with an alternate arrangement and they said that their agent had just booked them on the evening flight to Syracuse. My “Amazing Race Adventure” turned sour in that moment. I took down our agent’s name and will mention the incident when I contact their customer service department. Perhaps I should have dropped Dave Carroll’s name…
We talked to some others who were in the same boat and heard about the “Cornell Bus” that runs between Cornell campuses. It was $82.50 each, but left Manhatten at 7 pm and would drop us off at our hotel on campus just before midnight. I went outside to call (no wireless or cell service in Newark) and we got the last two seats! Phew! We took another bus into the city which was about a 45 minute ride and cost $16 each. I couldn’t help but think how our guests would love the opportunity to take a bus from the airport to Truro for only $16!!
We checked in at the Cornell Club, located at 44th Street and Madison Avenue, and left our bags while we went to a pub close by to grab a glass of wine and a quick bite to eat. We were right next to Grand Central Station. We got back to the bus in good time and boarded to make sure we didn’t lose our seats. I have to admit it was fun to drive through Times Square as well as the theatre district, and see all the hustle and bustle that we normally only see on television.
The bus is extremely comfortable, complete with Keurig, free snacks, and cold drinks. It’s also got free wi-fi, charging stations at each seat, and beautiful views of the New York State scenery. Other than the fact that the day has been much longer than anticipated, it may have turned out better in the long run than I thought it would.
I keep reminding myself that I’m lucky I didn’t have to fly in lightening after all! 🙂
By the way, I have been in contact with home and D’Arcy is enjoying a full house tonight. Please excuse the mistakes. This is my first blog post via ipad and it’s been written on a comfy, but bumpy bus. 🙂