Trying to Get to Texas

For a second year in a row, I was excited to be presenting at the Partners In Education (PIE) conference, hosted by the five region five chapters of SGMP, in San Antonio, TX.  With sessions beginning mid day Friday 3/6, I had planned to leave late in the day on Thursday 3/5 to maximize time at home with my family.  March weather is surely unpredictable in and around New York, but what I endured trying to get to San Antonio this weekend was something from a Shakespearean tragedy.

With snow the night before and into the morning, I had anticipated delays getting out Thursday.  But since the program didn’t begin until Friday, it really didn’t matter how delayed I’d be so long as I was there in time to wake up there Friday morning.  Easier said than done.  On Thursday morning I learned from my mother – not my United phone app, not from the United website, not from a text message alerting me about my flight, not from FlightAware – that Laguardia was closed because another flight, a Delta flight, had slid off the runway. Thanks to my mom, and later CNN, I called the airline immediately and notified them – not the other way around – that my flight was cancelled.  This jumpstart put me ahead of so many others trying to get out and so I was rebooked on an early flight out on Friday that would get me in just prior to having to give a talk as part of the opening segment of the conference.  I didn’t love that scenario, but at least it was workable and at least I could spend the day at home with my family rather than getting to the airport and turning around.  And before the evening was over, I’d learn that morning flights too were being cancelled and so now I was rebooked on the very same mid afternoon flight Friday that I was for Thursday.  The conference organizers were notified and were kind enough to switch out my talk for the closing session.  Things were settling into place.

Fast forward to Friday.  I learned early in the day that my afternoon flight was already delayed an hour – wait, make that two hours.  I’d now likely miss the evening events associated with the conference but would still surely make my Saturday breakout session and Sunday closing session.  I thought I’d still get to the airport on time because these delays have a way of changing.

And change they did.  Two hours became three hours.  Oh I had a lot of time at the airport.  At last the plane that would take us to Houston arrived at the gate and presumably all they needed was to clean the plane and get us on board.  Not so fast.  Apparently there was now an issue with the cabin door.  An issue which could not be resolved after an hour of mechanics trying to fix it.  Was I even getting to Texas tonight?  At last they found us another plane to take us but that plane would be delayed another two hours and in fact, would get us to Houston.  But it would get us into Houston so late, there’d be no way to make a flight to San Antonio.  Houston, we have a problem.

And like that the answer was no – there was no way I was getting to my conference.  This was one of the biggest wastes of a day I’ve experienced in recent memory.  And I’m so disappointed to have not been able to present at PIE this year.