Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014  -- Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C.   

Once upon a time, there were two cautious travelers who decided to arrive at Dulles airport 4 hours before their flight was to depart.  They were worried about traffic, weather and the vagaries of Western civilization, so the found themselves in the check-in line at 4:30 pm for an 8:40 pm departure.  While standing in that line, they discovered an email sent two hours earlier – at 2:30 – alerting them to the fact that their plane would not lift off until 11:30 that night.  This was no joke, but it did offer an explanation of sorts for an earlier mystery.

Our heroes were flying on Icelandic Air which meant that they had to change planes in Reykjavik.  Icelandic brings passengers from across the US to Reykjavik and then redistributes them on their planes to assorted European cities.  Why choose Icelandic rather than a direct flight, you ask?  Affordability.

At about 2:00 pm, the airline had sent an email to inform them that their connecting flight would arrive in Amsterdam 3-1/2 hours later than scheduled.  There was no explanation given, just the new times.  When the intrepid explorers learned of the delay getting out of Dulles, they understood why they were leaving Reykjavik so late.  The official explanation cited “industrial action,” but what they really meant was “labor strike.”

The Intrepids are flying business class [see affordability above], so they were able to wait for boarding to start [at 10:30 pm] in the Air France lounge.  The chairs are comfortable, the snacks are plentiful and the wi-fi is free.  Still, by 10:30 it is going to be really tedious.  As one of the other Amsterdam passengers said, he would rather eat sandwiches in the lounge at 6 pm than a fish dinner at midnight over the Atlantic.

And so begins part 2 of this year The Longest Day.  We have been visiting Emily and Harper for Harper’s first birthday.  She was a delight all week [except for the cake incident at her party].  She laughed, talked and danced constantly.  But for the past two nights, she had the Screaming Mimi’s – up all night, inconsolable and not just crying but screaming.  The result?  None of the adults has had a good night’s sleep and the Harpster has been cranky in the mornings.  So to be told that our long day, which had an estimated arrival at 6:40 am Eastern time [basically a 24-hour day] would now become The Longest Day was not welcome news.

David notified the river boat company as soon as he knew about the delay in arrival in Amsterdam and was assured that we would still be met and taken to the ship.  We might be late for dinner, but sailaway is scheduled for 11 pm.  If we miss that, they will get us to Rotterdam to meet the ship on Thursday.  We are not too worried about that happening.

So here we sit Air France lounge, just two hours into a 6 -7 hour wait.  It may be nap time soon if we can get comfortable.  

Tomorrow – Amsterdam and the ship                         

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