I have been at the SC condo for a week and was scheduled to fly back to Boston today. I have to fly through Atlanta. A major snow event happened today that affected much of the South. My flight home at 11:55 am today was canceled yesterday. I waited on the phone to reschedule it for 6:20 pm today. As I looked at the weather I realized I probably wasn’t going to get out of western SC today.
I woke up at 4:00 am and had the bright idea to fly out of Charlotte. So, I checked the flights and weather and thought it might be a possibility, IF Hertz did not charge me a fortune to drop the car off at another airport. So, I called to find out – and the saga began.
The check engine light had come on in the car earlier in the week. So, as a good do-bee I called to report this. Hertz told me to tighten the gas cap and see if it went away. I hadn’t planned on doing much driving so I didn’t worry that the light was still on. Little did I know that calling to report that check engine light would cause me so much headache. I called Hertz to see what the change in location would cost me. They can’t access my account because it is frozen due to my report of the check engine light. I get transferred to emergency assistance to remove the hold. The first question from the person answering my call is, “Are you safe?” At least they take things seriously. But, they can’t help me, I get sent back to reservations thinking my situation is fixed. Nope, but at least this person explained that only the actual rental location can make any changes to the reservation, I need to call them. They don’t open until 7:00 am.
Ok, so while I wait I check the weather in Charlotte, it seems they may get snow as well. Plus, getting to the airport in time to make the last flight that will get me to Boston is doubtful. I check the weather for Charleston – rain but no snow. I’d like to get to Boston today because this storm will be in New England tomorrow. I call Southwest. While they will change me to another flight out of Greenville for no charge due to the snow event, I can’t change to another airport unless I want to pay the difference in airfare. That is fairly significant since I am trying to book a flight today. Plus, I still don’t know about dropping off the car. I’ll hold off on making that change. I’m not going to get back to sleep now so I do some packing.
I call Hertz at the airport at 7:00. I wade through all of the prompts and get the opportunity to leave a message that will be returned within 24 hours. Gotta love that customer service! You know there is someone at the Hertz office. Is it really that busy in a relatively small airport that they can’t answer the phone? I get the bright idea of just booking a new rental from one airport to the next. I do that online and it would be about $70. I ponder whether it is worth the extra flight cost and rental fee to get home today. I have to admit I’m not overly excited to drive 3.5 hours in the rain. Plus, I first have to go in the wrong direction to return the current car and pick up a new one. And, I don’t trust that I won’t be hit with an additional fee when I turn in the car. I try the local Hertz number again and someone answers! It would be an additional $200 to drop the car off in Charleston. I ask about renting another car and told I can do that but when I express my concern about an unexpected fee when returning the car I don’t get a comforting answer. And, at this point I am still hoping that my 6:20 pm flight might happen.
Nope. At 11:00 I get the text from Southwest that my flight is cancelled. I wait on hold to reschedule. I now know my airline confirmation code and hertz rental agreement number by heart. At this point Southwest probably would have let me change locations but it is too late to get to Charleston and there is still the matter of the rental car cost. I opt for the 7:30 am flight on Saturday.
At this point I could have had a meltdown. I’m tired. I had made several phone calls and gotten the run around (I’ve skipped many of the details). I’ve been gone a week and am ready to be home. I feel guilty that I have left the cats for a trip that wasn’t really necessary but was a nice escape (I came down for the annual condo meeting). I am also not anxious to fly home to Boston during the snowstorm that is arriving on Saturday. Although at least Boston can handle a snow event and knows how to take care of the roads. But, I took a breath and put things in perspective. I have a place to stay and friends to take care of the cats. If I had elected to fly out on the 6:35 am flight this morning, I would have made it to Atlanta but the flight from Atlanta to Boston got cancelled. I would have been hanging around the airport rather than working in my condo. I took a break and got to work.
At 6:00pm I got the text that my flight tomorrow is cancelled. There is only one other flight out on Saturday, that is listed as full. So I wait on the line for over and hour to talk to a Southwest representative. There is one seat on the afternoon flight that gets in to Boston at 10:45pm. My car is parked at a satellite transportation facility about 30 minutes from the airport. The buses only run every hour on Saturday until 11:00pm with one additional bus at 12:15. If I am delayed I will be stuck in Boston or taking a taxi in the middle of the night. I opt for the flight on Sunday. There are only two options, getting in at 6:30 pm or after 10:00 pm. I picked the earlier one. At least I shouldn’t have to deal with snow! Wish me luck.
And, to add insult to injury I leave for an overnight business trip to New York on Monday. Thank goodness I am a passenger and not driving. If there is any hint of weather I’m bailing out!
But, I at least feel like I learned something from this mini-saga. While I did let myself get pretty worked up this morning I did calm myself down and didn’t feel too sorry for myself. There is no one to get mad at, no one to blame. I am safe and comfortable. The cats are fine. Yeah, they’ll be mad at me when I get home but they will get over it (although there might be some revenge when I leave again the next day ;). I made the choice to come here. No one can control the weather. There are far worse things that happen in life than a change in plans. Get over it, embrace the change, and move on.
Who thought there would be a major snow event in South Carolina in early December??? Next year I’ll think twice about a “quick trip to South Carolina in the winter!”