Our flight home was delayed from San Jose by 45 minutes -- just long enough to have USAirways delay our connection to Pittsburgh by 30 minutes so we'd make it. We were grateful and had well communicated to our students what we all needed to do to catch our final plane. USAirways told us they would have their USAirways staff meet us right outside of customs, we would hand off our suitcases, and run to the flight. Our team of 24 was ready for the challenge.
Unfortunately, the bags were delayed in reaching the baggage claim, making us THREE MINUTES too late to pass through TSA security after customs. So we were grounded in Charlotte for the night. I couldn't believe my ears when the attendant told me. This was probably among the top ten worst case scenarios for a bunch of tired chaperones like ours. The process of contacting all parents and breaking the news began quickly, and plans for our extra evening together were arranged.
It took about an hour (until 11:30pm or so) for them to book us a new flight and hotel rooms, and then they said all we had to do head up to passenger pickup and the hotel's van would take us to the hotel, which was just 5 minutes away.
Unfortunately, when we got up to the passenger pick up most food vending was closed and the van for the hotel (which was 20 min away, not 5) only fit 6 students in the first trip as the van only fit 12 and there were other guests going there for the night. So the van had to make 3 trips and it took about 40 min round trip each time -- so the last group didn't get to the hotel until almost 1:30am. USAirways wanted us back at the airport at 5:45am at the latest so we did wake up calls for the kids at 4:15am....and we began re-shuttling the the airport by 5am.
I was amazed at how well our group of students coped with this unexpected delay. There were a few tears, but overall they saw there was nothing we could do and did what needed to be done without complaint. Our family had really formed over the past two weeks together, and it showed in the way they handled themselves in this final night.
We finally arrived about 9:30am yesterday morning....a bit weary from the last leg of travel, and happy to be home :-)