Travel Fiasco

The Tornado Edition

by Berit Baugher

The view of the grounded at Dallas/Fort-Worth airport.

When Popupla editor Berit flew from New York City to Orange County yesterday, the weather decided to get in the way. Hello, Dallas.  

I've spent a lot of time on planes and consider myself to have traveling down to an art; however, despite diligent planning and my best efforts for a smooth day of travel, yesterday nearly turned into a disaster.

7:30 a.m. - Wake up, shower, put on pre-selected clothes, eat breakfast, check-in online, and ensure apartment wont blow up while away.

10:30 a.m. - Arrive at airport, pick up reading material, head to security.

10:45 a.m. - Stop in Admirals Club (thanks, American Airlines), grab apple and New York Times.

11:20 p.m. - Board flight to Dallas, do last read of emails. Scoff at message from mother asking if I'll make my connection. She thinks I'm cutting it close. I don't

2:15 p.m. - Plane starts to descend, pilot comes over intercom. "Folks, it seems there are a few at the moment and the airport has shut down indefinitely. They've asked that we staying in a holding pattern for four hours, but we don't have enough fuel, so we're being redirected to Tulsa." Probably won’t be making my connection…

2:45 p.m. - Deboard, confidently advise elderly couple next to me to call American as soon as we get off to book alternative flight out of Tulsa.

2:50 p.m. - Talk to customer service, get annoyed that every flight from Tulsa to Southern California requires a layover in Dallas, book late flight to Orange County. No one knows what is going on. According to news reports, the air tower in Dallas has been evacuated and .

Trucks flying in a tornado.

Trailers thrown in the air by yesteday's tornado in Texas. Photo: Courtesy .

3:00 p.m. - Learn via Twitter that American has canceled all flights out of Dallas. Come to grips with the fact that I may be spending the night. Reference Popupla Travel Hell article for tips on staying calm. Call American Airlines and hold for 45 minutes.

3:45 p.m. - Hesitantly reboard flight to Dallas, where we're told travel arrangements will be sorted. Why are they sending us on a plane to an airport that just nearly missed being struck by a tornado and has no outbound flights?

4 p.m. - Experience extreme turbulence, question myself for getting on plane, listen to kids behind me continually shout out weeeee! — like we're on a roller coaster.

5 p.m. - Land in Dallas, get in line for help desk, call American. Hear faint rumors about three flights going out. Two to LAX and one to San Diego — all driving distance to my destination.

5:20 p.m. - Learn over the phone that I've been booked for the next flight to Orange County — at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. Nearly get out of line to sulk and make calls, but decide to stay and hear what gate agent has to say.

6:40 p.m. - Finally get to front of line, confirm tomorrow morning flight. Sigh in defeat, then remember LAX and San Diego rumors. Ask about standby. After lengthy silence and a lot of tapping, desk attendant confirms I can get on the list for the 7:20 p.m. LAX bound flight. Since I just hit gold status with American I can jump 50 people to #4 slot.

7:00 p.m. - Sprint to airtrain.

7:15 p.m. - Hear name called and heave a huge sigh of relief. I wont be spending the night at the airport after all.


Tsunamis, grizzly bears, and Chinese prisons: Read more travel fiasco tales

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