Wednesday – Day 1
I taught class the night before leaving so that I could see my students and give the assistant instructors a last minute briefing before my wife and I left for Thailand.
I was up late double checking everything for the trip (we will be gone for 4 weeks) and spent a restless night going through things in my head trying to make sure that I didn’t forget anything. We only spent a few hours sleeping and then it was time to get ready to go. Our flight left at 9am and my sister was coming to take us to the airport at 7am.
Everything went smoothly until we arrived at O’hare airport in Chicago. O’hare is the 2nd largest airport in the U.S. and the 4th largest in the world. It averages over 2,400 flights and 182,989 passengers a day and has five terminals and it is huge! Our flight arrived about 40 minutes before our connecting flight was scheduled to leave.
Wait, let me clarify that, our flight arrived 40 minutes before MY flight was scheduled to leave. You see, since my wife and I were going to different destinations (I was heading to the Philippines after my stay in Thailand and my wife was staying in Thailand to visit with family a little longer) we had to book two different flights. Even though we were both heading to Thailand at the same time we were put on different flights. I even called the booking agent and was told that they could get us on the same flight to Bangkok for $1000 US extra. Uh, no thanks, we’ll take different flights. So after reaching Chicago I went to Shanghai, China and my wife boarded a plane for Seoul, South Korea (we each had connecting flights to Bangkok, Thailand from there). Crazy, huh?
Anyway, with my wife being from another country and not being fluent in English yet (she is getting a lot better), I couldn’t just leave her and head to my gate so I took her to terminal 5 where her flight was leaving from (mine was terminal 3). Well, it is so far away that you have to take a train to get to the terminal. We got on the train, went to terminal 5, found where she needed to go to board the plane and then I raced back down to the train/monorail area.
When I got back to terminal 3, I looked at the departure board. It said that my flight was in Final Boarding! My gate was K16, I looked down the hall and saw K1 and sped towards it, as I rounded the corner I saw a long hallway and started running hard.
I ran as fast as I could weaving in and around other people heading for their flights (good thing that I jog everyday). K1, K2, K3 where the heck is K16? I ran and ran but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, “How long is this terminal?”, I thought to myself.
Finally I see K12 then a sign pointing down another hallway that said K12-K16. Holy cow, I’m not going to make it. I finally get to K16 and NO ONE is there! I spy two attendants standing at the door and run up. Just then another guy comes running up alongside me.
One woman yells at us “Where have you been? The flights leaving”, while the other one calls the plane. They say that the door has not been closed yet and if we hurry we can still get on. The other guy and I (both out of breath at this point) dash through the door, down the boarding ramp and onto the plane. I quickly dropped into my seat with about 3 minutes to spare before the plane took off.
What a way to start my trip. I was wanting to do some training but not this soon.