Hey, I'm back from Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun -- and was an eye opening experience. I'll just say that I didn't expect Vegas to be like it was but it was still sweet. I'm also going to say that I won't elaborate on that. :) Getting there and back however, was a frickin' adventure. That's what I'm going to talk about.
We flew round trip on Continental Airlines. On the way there we went through Continental's eastern hub in Newark, New Jersey from Toronto to Las Vegas. On the way back we went through their south-western hub in Houston, Texas. You might have noticed that yes, we went further east to go west and further south to go north. The reason: it was much cheaper. I didn't think much of it at the time.
Everything was fine until we landed in Newark and got on the connecting flight to Vegas. It started to rain on the runway and the captain told us a storm system was coming from the west so we would have to wait it out. The flight attendants responded by giving everyone free headsets (usually $5) and booze. This seemed to keep people mostly satisfied. After four and a half hours sitting in the plane on the taxiing runway we finally left for the five hour flight. In total, we were on planes for 13 hours that day.
The bonus of being delayed is that we landed in Vegas at night instead of 7:30pm. Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert, and looks like a bright island in a sea of absolute blackness. I've never see anything like it. The strip is right next to the airport and we could see it clearly as we landed.
On the way back our flight left on time from Las Vegas and landed on time in Houston. However, right after we landed a huge thunderstorm poured rain on the runway and the airport wouldn't let us get to our gate. Unfortunately we had scheduled only a 38 minute changeover in Houston, and by the time we got off the plane and talked to the Continental representative at the arriving gate, she said "your connecting flight is on time and has probably already left".
Why they wouldn't delay our connecting flight for us when all of the other flights at the airport couldn't take off either, I don't know. But our first instinct was to run to the connecting gate on the other side of the airport. If you've never ran across an airport I highly recommend it -- it was a pretty cool rush! All of those years of soccer and football really paid off (and the fact that I was coincidentally wearing actual running shoes).
We dodged people, baggage and those motorized vehicles for taxiing people from gate to gate running as fast as we could. I passed my friend near the end (he was wearing sandals) and came up to gate C-31 in Houston yelling "stop 31!". The Continental rep stopped me and said "we've been waiting for you, we need five more" and that was that. We didn't need to run, they had actually delayed the flight for us. The Continental rep we talked to at the arrival gate was using old (printed) information. Maybe she needed a tablet or PDA? :)
Sitting in our seats, winded and sweaty, the pilot told us we were waiting for baggage from connecting flights. We ended up leaving about 20-30 minutes late, plenty of time to walk from gate to gate, but running was much more fun.
As we waited for our baggage in Toronto at the carrousel, we heard our names over the PA system. They had left our luggage in Houston and it would be coming on a noon flight from Houston the next day. We filled out the forms and went home. At 10pm the next day our bags finally came and I left Toronto at 11pm, arriving in Ottawa at 3am this morning.
Even with all of this flight crap (to be fair, mostly due to bad weather), the trip was completely worth it. Go check out Las Vegas!
Lesson learned: 38 minutes is not enough time to changeover, I don't care what Continental says.Posted at June 22, 2004 at 07:05 PM EST
Last updated June 22, 2004 at 07:05 PM EST