Traveling home to Milwaukee

Trip Start Mar 15, 2008
Trip End Mar 22, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, March 23, 2008

We pulled into sunny San Diego this morning around 6 am. After clearing customs and receiving permission to disembark the ship I took a shuttle to the airport. While standing in line for Midwest Airlines I heard that the Milwaukee Airport was closed (2 feet of snow in the past two days) and that the company was allowing people a five day window to rebook their flights at no extra charge as long as it wasn't today or tomorrow - Easter. Unfortunately I don't have control over my flights, my company does, and I really needed to get home so I proceeded to get my seat assignments and boarding passes for my flights to Kansas City and Milwaukee.

I went through security with no problems and went to my gate. The time for boarding came and went and someone happened to walk up to the desk area and say within my hearing that the flight to Kansas City was being delayed four hours. I went online and saw that flights from Kansas City into Milwaukee were also delayed and I had no desire to arrive some time in the middle of the night.

Thankfully there is an after hours emergency number for travellers and crew with my company and I called the crew hotline and talked with a travel coordinator to switch my tickets to a different airline. She was able to put me on a flight with NWA that flew through Minneapolis instead and get me home before midnight to Milwaukee. If any airport would agree to send planes in bad weather it was Minneapolis. This was a lot better than waiting around and possibly getting stuck in Kansas City, at least my family lives 20 minutes from the airport in Minneapolis and in a worst case senario I could have spent the night with them.

I grabbed the new tickets and then had to proceed back through security. This is where flying carry-on this week saved me and killed me. It saved me because I didn't have to deal with the luggage nightmare changing airlines would have caused due to cancellations and delays in Kansas City. It killed me because I had so much technology in my bags and was now selected for special screening because of the last minute flight change. Anytime you buy your tickets last minute (whether 2 days before or an hour before) you will automatically be selected for special screening. This meant that every single thing was taken out of my suitcase and backpack and individually charged for explosive materials. Unfortunately for me I had purchased an airport ripoff bottle of water for $4.00 and finding myself having to throw it away because it couldn't come back through security. Also, at some point during the week on the cruise something that has components that could also be found in explosives wound up on one of my dSLR's and my computer laptop. This sent the officials my way to further investigate me. When it was all finished I questioned the kind officer as to what may have triggered the alarms and she said something as simple as hand lotion could potentially trigger it. Yikes! I'm glad they are working hard to keep us safe though. I would rather have them be too thorough than not thorough enough.

I finally got through the checkpoint and went to the new gate and said good-bye to sunny San Diego. I was en route to snowy Milwaukee and not very happy about it. It's the middle/end of March for goodness sakes and it's still snowing. Next winter I hope to get a contract somewhere warm and remain at sea until the winter is over!

In Minneapolis I headed to find some dinner. On our last flight we had a child with severe airborne peanut allergies and therefore we were not offered anything to eat on the four hour flight other than Pringles. I was very hungry and it was now 8 pm so I looked around for some real food. Out of all the airports I've ever visited in the world thus far Minneapolis/St. Paul has some of the best offerings for food and shopping. It's like being at the mall and then flying home instead of driving. I ate at TGI Fridays and my delicious dinner and milk shake were at the table before I could even complete a phone call to a friend. THAT is good service and my waitress made sure to ask if I had sufficient time to dine prior to taking my order. I highly recommend this eatery if you are flying Northwest Airlines on the C concourse at the MSP airport.

When it came time to board the gate was very empty compared to all my other legs of this journey. We were on a very large plane (normally this short jaunt from MSP to MKE uses a tiny plane) and when all was said and done every passenger on the plane was able to sit in a row with no one directly next to them and some with their own row entirely. The flight was uneventful and I laughed when the captain apologized for the "rough air" that you couldn't even feel. The runway was slightly slick and we skidded to a stop, but stop we did and pulled safely into the gate.

I was glad to not have to wait at baggage claim and went directly to the taxi stand, hopped in a cab and headed home. The taxi driver was very kind and we chatted about the crazy weather that I missed the day before. He is a private hack and decided to take the day off yesterday because it was so bad. How nice that he can decide when he wants to work. :)

It was a great trip, had its share of adventures and now is done. Stay tuned for summer in the Mediterranean!

Til next time,

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