A cousin of mine lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and her son and mine got along famously the last time we had a family reunion. For almost two years, Liam has asked when we would visit: we chose Easter weekend.
I’ve never had such a comedy of errors while travelling, and for someone who has done a significant amount of business and personal travel, that’s saying something.
It started off innocuously. Our flight left on time and it was an uneventful flight. We were thrilled to see the mountains around Salt Lake, and didn’t realize we were circling the airport until the pilot came on to tell us we were in a holding pattern due to high winds.
Thirty minutes later, they announced the airport was closed due to high winds, and we were being diverted to Grand Junction, Colorado.
Another thirty minutes later we landed. First, we were told it shouldn’t be too long before we turned around and flew back. Then they announced we’d be let off the plane – never a good sign – but could leave our bags.
It was maybe 9pm.
We weren’t allowed to leave the airport because there were no TSA agents working. The only cafe and gift shop were closed.
Long story short, we watched all the other diverted planes leave. We were told we needed a new plane due to a cracked windshield, and a “rescue plane” and new crew was required. I watched our departure time get later and later…we didn’t leave until 2:30am.
Liam and I shared a couch and tried to sleep. He managed about 15 minutes, I slept fitfully but not much longer. The airport staff ordered pizza and the airline handed out blankets. All things considered, they tried to make us comfortable. But we weren’t. The lights of the gift shop were blindingly bright, and they couldn’t turn off the PA system, which played decent rock music but not what I wanted to hear at that hour.
We got to our hotel at 3:30am and the conversation went like this:
“Hi, checking in, last name St. Vincent.”
“Oh, hi… ummmm… I cancelled your room since you didn’t show up.”
“Ah, why would you do that? I checked in using your app.”
“Well, most people who don’t show up by now don’t arrive.”
“Yes, but I checked in using your app. Why would you give my room away when I checked in?”
“Okay let me see what I can do…. It’s okay, I have a room for you.”
“Well that’s great, thanks.”
The next day we managed to sleep in so while we didn’t get nearly as much sleep as we needed, we got a bit. We had a great day with family, and dinner at a fun Mexican restaurant.
We got back to our hotel room and neither of our key cards worked. Cue the next conversation with hotel staff:
“Oh, hi, yeah my key cards don’t work.”
“Okay no problem… oh you’re room 203? Yeah, we were a little confused why you left your things in the room.”
“Ah, not sure why that’s confusing, we have a four night reservation.”
“No, it shows just one night.”
“Well last night when we arrived the person working told me he cancelled the room, despite having used the app to check in. I guess he cancelled my entire reservation and not that one night?”
“Well, it’s not really a check-in when you use the app.”
“Maybe it shouldn’t be called check-in then?”
“Well you did arrive at 3am.”
“It’s okay, let me see what I can do. I’m able to keep you in the room.”
“Great, thanks. And you know, he didn’t need to tell me he cancelled my reservation, he could have just fixed it.”
“Yeah, I know. But our night staff, they don’t see customers much. Here are your new key cards.”
The next day, Liam started feeling sick. Headache, nausea, lack of appetite. All the symptoms of mild altitude sickness. It didn’t stop us from going out but I felt bad for him. We both had terrible gas, which is also a symptom. And terrible gas is pretty unpleasant for all involved, when stuck in planes and family vans.
We cancelled the planned sleepover and went back to the hotel early. That day we got back to the hotel to find our room hadn’t been cleaned.
The only thing to order in was pizza, which was good but didn’t make me feel great, either.
Our final day there, Liam was sicker, and I didn’t feel great either. I felt progressively worse throughout the day. I started to need to go to the bathroom, a lot. I decided we’d try to stay through Easter dinner. I could barely eat. My cousin drove us back to the hotel, stopping at a pharmacy on the way.
Me, asking an employee about 20 feet away from me: “Hey sir, where would I find Imodium?”
Him, in a loud voice: “What’s it for?”
Me, louder, for fun: “Diarrhea.”
“Oh, with the weight loss stuff, that’s funny.”
My humour was lost on him, clearly.
Back at the hotel, I spent a fair amount of time in the bathroom. In addition to my bowel issues, I started puking. Good times. I managed to get Liam to bed, and our things packed. I felt moderately better after my entire system was voided, but it’s all relative.
Thank goodness we could sleep.
I write this from the plane ride home. So far, no further illness or mishaps have occurred. But I suppose until I’m back home, I won’t consider this trip over.