Friday, July 2, 2010

Epic UK Road Trip: Volume 1

Recently, as many of you know, I took a trip to the UK to visit my friends, Candice and Collin, with our friend Matt. We are good friends from graduate school and last year had some really fun times together in Waco and St. Louis before C&C moved to Cambridge. These fun times led us to say, "Hey, you know what would be really fun?!?!!? If we all met up in Cambridge and toured around together."

So then we decided we were for serious on this plan.

And then I bought a plane ticket.

And then Matt did too.

And IT. WAS. ON.

So the Monday after finals ended, I grabbed my suitcase, eye mask and travel pants and got into an airplane headed to Chicago Illinois. My original plan was to fly to Chicago, where Matt and I would have shared layovers for a few hours, and then I would follow Matt by about two hours into London, arriving on Tuesday morning.

As my flight to Chicago seemed to be nearing its end, the Pilot came on the PA and informed us that we would be making an unscheduled stop in ST. LOUIS because some type of equipment on the plane wasn't working "that we needed in order to land in Chicago." I wasn't too worried because I had a 6 hour layover in Chicago, so I was feeling good about making my connection. When we landed, at first we weren't sure if they were going to let us off the plane. So I sent a text to Matt (who was flying STL to Chicago) to say "funny story! I'm in your town!" and found out his flight was delayed.

Fast forward about 30 minutes. They took us off our plane and had no idea when we were supposed to get going again. Other people were rebooking onto other flights to Chicago, but I was just standing firm, hoping my connection would still be OK. Meanwhile Matt and I got to visit a bit before finding out that they had CANCELLED his flight to Chicago, which then hosed up his connecting flight to London (on another airline).

While I was fretting over Matt and they were trying to board my plane, Matt was getting the runaround from American Airlines. I added him to standby on my flight, hoping to at least get him to Chicago. Eventually Matt was able to get rebooked to Chicago (on my randon, unscheduled flight) and then rebooked to London. You can read about our frustration with "the man" over on Candice and Collin's blog.

While we were worried about Matt's luggage getting on the flights (with good reasons, it turns out), Matt and I ended up having a really nice time hanging out in Chicago and both enjoyed good red-eye flights to London.

Candice and Collin were there to welcome me when I landed in London and then we waited for Matt.

I took a tiny President Obama with us on the trip - here we are in our unexpected landing in St. Louis. He is as excited to see Matt as I was!

Matt was also excited to see us... 

Finally in Chicago, I was looking a little travel worn, but glad to know that both Matt and I were going to make it all the way to London!

Leaving Chicago - finally - for London.

My first view of the UK from the plane. 

Candice and I waiting for Matt.

More installations of the trip to come.....