Arriving late, we were looking forward to getting settled into our room and relaxing in our pajamas. We checked in, rode the elevator to our floor and approached the door. When we got to the room, she looked at the key and the number on the door and commented that she thought it odd that there was a "Do Not Disturb" card in the door. She knocked, understandably assuming kids had moved the card from another door, and opened it with her key. As she began to step into the room, we realized why there was a sign. There were people, with lots of things strewn about, already sleeping in the room. It is needless to say, we went back to the front desk and requested another room. They were strangely quiet about it, apologizing only briefly and assigned us another room (not without first expressing concern as if there may not be any other rooms available). With increased caution we entered the second room, thankfully empty of occupants and ready for relaxation! We settled in and called it a night.
Day two began at 5:30. We were both up, showering and primping for the day. We got ready, ate breakfast and headed to our destination right on schedule. With the exception of one long traffic light, the journey went well. The team was assembled and waiting for us when we arrived so we set up and began our day. It went smoothly. The advisor (client) we were hired by was quite the card. She made use of a variety of colorful words and kept everyone laughing and light-hearted all day. Our day ended somewhere around 4:30 and we set off for a nice evening. The partner we were travelling with had to excuse himself sometime around 3:30 to catch his flight home, so the two of us were on our own. We found a natural grocer and picked up some snacks, grabbed a coffee, and scouted for dinner locations. A quick trip back to the hotel so she could change her clothes meant parking in the nearby parking structure. We found a spot and headed to our room. The nice surprise waiting for us there... there were no strangers in our room! :-)
|L-R: Straw Hat Ale, Thunder Blonde, Valleyview|
Vanilla Porter and 5:02 Amber
Day three, the plan was to get up at 5:30am, get ourselves ready, check out, and head to the second office location for the team we were here to see. It was about an hour's drive away, so we carefully planned. We knew we would be there until about 4:00pm and then we would need to head back for our 6:00pm flight back through Atlanta to arrive home just before midnight. Everything went extremely well and according to plan until the drive back to the airport.
We pulled into the back of the Sonic parking lot and she called Delta to see about alternative flights. Since our original flight out of Atlanta was the last of the day to Detroit, we would need to be rerouted in order to get home that night. The only option was a flight to Dallas, then to Detroit from there, now on American Airlines. We ordered our limeades, stopped for gas and headed to the airport with our new plan. Our flight to Dallas left nearly on time and we were off!
Arrival in Dallas meant it was time to eat! We found a spot that had vegetarian options and relaxed a while. When we got to our gate, we noticed the plane had been delayed a bit, so we settled in and waited to board. They finally got us all on the plane and there we sat a while longer. As we backed away from the gate, the plane came to a stop and we sat a few minutes. The captain then informed us that the right engine would not start and we would be returning to the gate for maintenance to come look at it. It wasn't long before he announced the need for us to gather our belongings to board a different aircraft. The good news was, they had another lined up and waiting for us. It was only 33 gates away or so. Everyone gathered outside the gate and began the waiting game once again. The airport restaurants were closed and those of us who were waiting on complimentary in-flight beverages started a line in front of nearby vending machines. Just as my turn came near, the machine started eating people's money and not returning it. I decided I could wait a while longer and hang on to my money.
A desk attendant began making announcements to keep us informed of our boarding status. She let us know that the plane they had secured was not scheduled to fly that night and subsequently not been cleaned, did not have catering on board and that they needed to get the power going on it. Our crew also had to clear the first plane before arriving at the second. They completed their prep and began boarding our completely full flight that was now a more than a couple hours overdue to depart. As we waited, we heard her grumpily remind passengers that you are only allowed two bags and any purses must be secured inside another bag. I was carrying the tiniest little purse, and it was hanging over my luggage to the rear. I never gave it a thought, thinking she was after the women carrying carry-on size purses. My boarding pass was larger than my purse after all!!!
Our flight home was quiet and smooth and we were very tired. Our arrival was not around midnight, as planned, but after 3 am instead. When we arrived, it was to the Smith Terminal, where American Airlines operates, not McNamara, where Delta is housed. The terminals are some distance apart and this could have been a serious problem, considering we were parked at the McNamara terminal. Thankfully, I had been texting Shane to keep him informed of our situation and he had offered to just come get me at the airport, instead of me going home with BL for the night. When our departure happened so late, she agreed it was a good idea and told me I could work from home the next day. This worked out for the very best, since we were then able to take her to her car at the other terminal. There are no shuttles that run between terminals, to our knowledge, so the only solution would likely have been to pay a taxi to take us to the car, if Shane hadn't come to collect me.
My first business trip presented some travel challenges, but overall, was a resounding success. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to head out again soon. There are more clients coming on, and more trips already in the planning phase. Flexibility and the ability to roll with the punches is critical in the line of work we do, and, quite emphatically I learned, is a big part of the traveling we do as well!