Maybe I spoke too soon… Or maybe some celestial being is bound to test my patience from time to time

*written at Orlando International Airport on a 3 hour layover to New Orleans

What a lousy travel day. Getting from one city to another that would be only an hour flight – if there were direct flights – is turning into travels worthy of a transatlantic flight to… I don’t know, Istanbul?!?!

I want to spare you the details, so here’s the Cliff Joi Notes:

12 noon CST: while in a meeting with a coworker, I get a text from Southwest that my flight to Tampa had been delayed. This meant that I’d miss my connection to New Orleans. Although this would have given me an extra hour to spend with my teammate, I decide to get to the airport by 2pm, an hour before my flight was originally scheduled to leave, to perhaps arrange an alternative flight that would magically transpire before my very eyes.

2pm CST: I check in at SWA and am immediately surrounded by people freaking out because they, too, were on the same doomed (perhaps that’s too strong a word) flight, and would be missing their connections to Nashville & Philly. The kind check-in lady found a flight leaving at 5:40pm, getting me to Orlando for an 8:55 pm EST flight to NOLA that would get me in at a reasonable 9:40pm, only a little over 2 hours past my original arrival time and in just enough time to get dinner at my favorite Bywater pizza joint. I kind of love Southwest even when there’s problems because they do things like give you a $100 travel voucher at the drop of a hat.

2:15pm CST: TSA at Bham is crazy easy.

4pm CST: I get notice that my flight to Orlando is delayed 10 minutes. Worried that this might make me miss my connection, I looked that up and found that no, that flight had been delayed to 10:45 pm EST. So, hello three hour layover!

4:05pm CST: I scarf down a bag of Corn Nuts. Plain. Not BBQ. Don’t judge. So far all I’ve eaten today is a hummus plate at 11am.

5:30pm CST: I board my plane and the woman in front of me loudly tells everyone that she’s a nervous flier and bring on the alcohol. I’m realize I’m lucky that I’ve overcome my fear of flying about 18 months ago (more on that, later).

8pm EST: I land in Orlando and find out that my flight to New Orleans now leaves at 11pm EST.

8:15pm EST: Realizing those Corn Nuts have zilch nutritional value (how I love my salty empty carbs), I try to find food. I’m happy to find Au Bon Pain, as they often have vegan soups, but the chairs were up and the entry blocked. Discouraged, I find a lousy bar & grill serving up frozen drinks and fried foods only to be told that the kitchen was closed. I order a glass of Chardonnay.

8:25pm EST: Last call

For the love of God, I’m still existing in a 7:25pm world and I’m made to feel like it’s the wee hours of the night. This is not good for my psyche. I expect to see people strolling by in their pajamas at any moment.

I’m scheduled to arrive home at around Midnight CST. My fridge is typically empty and NOLA isn’t exactly chock full of vegan-friendly options after closing time.

This is why I need to plan better. This is why I need not tempt the fates by gleefully posting about how I don’t complain about traveling.

But I hope you don’t think I’m complaining, friends. I’m just hungry and when I’m hungry, I get cranky. I also make friends! I just met a lovely older couple on their way back home to Ohio. We commiserated about the lack of food and drink options in this joke of an airport terminal at such an early hour. They bid me well as they left the bar to make their flight. I have faith in humanity. Just not in airlines (to be fair, Southwest does try their best).

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