So, I flew from Moline, IL to Atlanta yesterday afternoon. I got into the ATL at about 3:30. Per tradition, I took the tram straight to Terminal A for my traditional ATL airport eats: Great Wraps and Dunkin' Donuts. I happily consumed my gyro which was especially good. I think they knew it was going to be my last American meal so they just made it extra yummy. That's what I was thinking each bite, at least. After that, I headed to Terminal E for my Amsterdam flight. I had just sat down when they announced that they were looking for volunteers with flexible schedules to go on another flight. They offered an awesome amount of money in Delta vouchers plus meals, hotel, etc. My first thought was, "no way, can't do it".
Allow me to give you a little back story. Jill and I were going to meet up at the airport here during my layover to hang out one last time. If we were going to meet up, I was going to bring my American cell phone for us to be able to meet up easier. She would then ship it back to my parents. That morning, Jill found out that she couldn't come due to work. Knowing security would be extra insane, I figured it was for the best as well.
Back to Terminal E. On two ends, I didn't think I could even check to see if changing my flight would work. I didn't have my cell phone to communicate with Jill and I had no way of contacting my roommates in Kampala to tell them of any changed planes. As I sat, I thought of how great it would be to see Jill again AND get kick awesome vouchers. I packed my things and got into line to see what changes would need to happen and if it would work. The cute Asian Delta woman (I love Asians :)) explained that I would be taking the exact same flight tomorrow and therefore would need to spend the night in Atlanta.
This was it.
I had about 15 seconds to make the decision.
My mind went from Jill wondering if this would work for her to my roommates and if this would cause major problems with them to what I would do with the voucher money.
"Ok, I'll do it!"
Wait, did I just say that?
She started clicking her computer and immediately I started second guessing my decision. I had NO way of getting in touch with Jill and knew I'd have to find internet somewhere in the airport to get on Skype. I didn't know what my roomies had planned for this week and was praying that nothing was planned the next night. There was a man next to me who is also flying to Kampala that took Delta up on their deal. We chatted a bit since, I mean, Kampala isn't your "normal" destination from Atlanta. :) He requested first class instead of the Delta money voucher. After I received all of my vouchers, I headed towards a gate in hopes of internet. Two weeks ago when I was here, I could find free WiFi everywhere so I had high hopes...
...that were soon dashed to smithereens.
I went through the process to pay for internet and it still wouldn't work. By this time, it was about 5:30 and I knew Jill would have already left work. I didn't know what her plans were for the night but I knew I had to get ahold of her soon for anything to work out. I started to get REALLY frustrated. My brilliant spontaneous plan was not going well. There was a guy and a girl across from me so I decided to brave it and ask to borrow one of their cell phones. The girl agreed. Feeling flustered and frustrated, I call Jill.
*speaking 500004938 miles an hour* "JILL! I did something crazy! They asked for volunteers and I said YES and so now I'm here until tomorrow what are you doing RIGHT NOW and tomorrow and will this work for you!?"
Jill laughed and we planned out for me to take the MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rail Transit...Something) where she could pick me up. She had to call her friend to find out which station for me to go to and told me to call her back in five minutes. Hm, easier said than done. Not wanting to bother the nice people any longer, I packed my things and left to find a Delta counter where I could perhaps use a phone. I found a Delta station where they had phones. It was too late when I realized that their phones only called Delta agents. Not helpful, my Delta friends, not helpful. I looked at some pay phones, which I don't think I've used since perhaps junior high in order for my mom to come pick me up from a movie. However, since I don't quite live in America anymore, I don't have American change to use the pay phone. Frustrated, I looked around to see if I could find another nice person who would let me use their cell phone. There were some Delta workers and I went up to explain my situation and ask if there was a cell phone I could use. One of the guys pulled his out. I called Jill quickly and we arranged to meet at the Doraville stop.
I hauled my carry-ons towards the tram once again. I should note that my rolling carry-on weighs approximately the weight of a checked bag. My arm is seriously sore. Anyway. I headed to the MARTA to ride across the ATL. The train hadn't arrived yet and it was then that I realized what would be my main concern for the night: it was cold. Really cold. Really really cold. It was a decently long ride. My iPod kept me company as I also people-watched. My stop came, I got off, and that earlier concern about the weather became a reality. Jill had mentioned there was horrible traffic so I knew I was in for a wait in the cold. Considering she had just rearranged her night and life for me, I wasn't about to complain. :) I carried my carry-on down the stairs (seriously, people, the weight of this thing is ridiculous) and looked around wondering where to go to meet her. Oh, meeting her. Gosh, I hadn't even thought to plan WHERE in this place to meet. I walked down one way for a bit before I realized that it was a parking garage that I probably didn't want to go to. As I walked back the other way, I saw a girl waiting and prayed that she'd be my third cell phone to borrow. She was dressed kind of punkish but had the most Southern accent ever. Made me smile. She was SUPER nice. I left Jill a message as to where I'd be. The Southern punk girl asked if I was from this area, where I was going, etc. She pointed me in the right direction.
I headed out in the cold and waited...and waited. I think I was there for about 40 minutes. The temp was I think in the 20's-30's at most. Brrrr. I also prayed for Jill like crazy. Things like, "Lord, please move that traffic and guide Jill here and ooooh Lord it is COOOOLD". God and I had some well needed and good conversations during that time.
Jill picked me up and we met Amberly at a restaurant for dinner. Jill mentioned on the drive to the restaurant that she'd be leaving for NYC with Amberly and others the next day so she would already be heading to the airport. WHEW. What a God-thing! It hadn't even crossed my mind how I would get BACK to the airport if Jill would have been at work. After dinner, Jill and I went shopping for last minute NYC items for Jill. With that, we didn't get to Jill's home until after 11:00pm. Jill packed while I showered. She even washed my clothes so I didn't have to wear the same outfit three days in a row unwashed. Ah, great friends are...great. :) I Benadryled up due to the cats in the house and was asleep by about 1:30am. We left the house this morning at 8:45, met up with their friend Reggie and then off to the airport. We all checked in and then hung out until they left for their flight at 11:30. I AT LAST found free WiFi in this airport and am now happily connected to the world (and you!). My flight is in a little less than five hours so I have lots of time to be connected.
One more tidbit of happiness. When I checked in this morning, my seats were changed and I saw that I was in the fourth row of the plane. Wait...huge plane...row 4...FIRST CLASS!? For my flight to Kampala, I'm now in row 10 which I have no idea if that's first or business but HOLY COW! I have no clue how that happened. Since I'll be out on Ambien my flight to Amsterdam, I won't get to fully enjoy first class unless they have like, flat beds. I wonder if they will! First class on an international flight. Whoa. This is going to be INSANE! I'm seriously waiting for them to be like, "oh ma'am, sorry, we meant to give that to someone who owns a multi-million dollar business not you" which may happen. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.