Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Long Day


As I was driving to the SeaTac airport and as soon as we took off, i could see the flooding that had hit Washington around the Puyallup river
Layover in Chicago went smoothly and was brief. Boarded the enormous Iberia Airbus 340.
The 8.5 hr flight went by rather quickly as I was able to sleep through most of it, although I did always manage to wake up for the meals (seems euro airliners still serve food free).
Seems like I can’t escape the snow this winter after all.
Landed in Madrid around 9am local, light snow falling and a bit of power on the ground.
Went through customs without a hitch.
Its been snowing harder all day. There appears to be about 3-4 inches out on the ground as of 11:30. I haven't seen any snow plows. I doubt they have many and If they do I am sure they busy clearing the runways. There we no delays when I arrived but they have slowly been updating more and more flight times as the day goes on.

There was a total of about 5 inches of snow on the ground around 2 when it stops snowing.
My flight kept getting pushed back and pushed back until 4 when its no longer posted.
I asked a group what was happening. The flight had been canceled. It turns out the people in the group that I asked were all doing a study abroad in Alicante, although a couple were through a different program. We went downstairs to baggage claim because we were told to claim our bags off the flight had been canceled.
Everyone whose flight was cancelled was down there. Bags were just piled on the floor and the sides and were coming out of a single carousel. We look for a short while before realizing our search was futile. so we camped out around the carousel to wait for our bags. People kept telling us that our bags were coming but there was no sign of them. We had to wait to get our bags so we could check them before we could get tickets

Around 10 we started to get tired of waiting. Myself and a couple others went to get some food before the restaurants closed. We returned back to others in the baggage claim. 2 in the group, Tyson and Brynn had found 1 of their bags each just lying in between the carousels. We talked to some officials who then told us to just reserve tickets for the next flight and make a claim the following day if our luggage didn't arrive at its destination.

So we headed upstairs to the ticket booths. There were lines stretched around the walls of the entire terminal. Dismayed we had no better choice to get in line. we waited in line for another 2-3 hours. We spun coins on the ground to pass the time. Every once in a while while we were waiting, shouts (what sounded like cheers) and whistles(booing in Europe) would start up. Occasionally, we would here the chant “Huelga, Huelga…” (“Strike, Strike”) emerge from the line. Tyson and Brynn had to figure out what to do with the bags they found (since they were still missing a bag each, which was not a good sign). Fortunately they had found some good help and were told to go to the Business Plus Ticket booth to check their bags and get their tickets. After 20 minutes they had their tickets and bags checked ready to head out. They came and told us how they had just bypassed everything so the 4 of us who were waiting in line (Me, Jacob, Jimmy, and Drew), saving everyone else a spot went over and got our tickets in 20 mins as well. We had to get in another line for an hour however, to get stamps to get put up in the airport hotel, while the rest of the group when to get their tickets through the fasttrack we had found. We did one more pass around the carousels to find our luggage with no luck (our whole flight had lost baggage). We finally got out at 2, but had to wait in another line when we finally got to the hotel. We grabbed showers and the hotel fortunately had free wifi so i was finally able to contract my parents (international network, pay phones that required calling cards we couldn't buy, and expensive internet at the airport made sure of that). All in all, we got to bed at 3 and had to be up at 6 to catch our flight in the morning the next day

lines would continue to plague us until we got out of the airport of Alicante the next day.

We would late find out that Terminal 4, our terminal got the worst of this disaster. Also that in pretty much never snows in madrid and the airport hadn’t been that bad for at least 30 years



  1. Remind me never to travel with you in the winter.......Bad weather seems to follow you. :D