Last Sunday I needed to fly to DC. No problem. I bought a ticket on United that connected through Chicago and left Milwaukee and arrived in DC at decent hours with a long lay over. The weather in Milwaukee had been terrible and the news on Saturday night made us think it might take longer to get to the airport. It usually takes 15 minutes. The roads on Sunday morning turned out to be fine and while we had left ourselves 45 minutes, it still only took 15.
The plane that was supposed to land in Milwaukee and take us on the 16 minute flight to Chicago was delayed because of bad weather. It was either Souix City or Souix Falls, I can't remember which, but either way, we were now due to arrive in Chicago at 11am, the exact time of my connecting flight.
So still in Milwaukee, they rebooked me on the 1pm flight.
When we arrived in Chicago, even though it was the wrong gate, I asked the agent if she would print the boarding pass for my second flight. There wasn't a line and she didn't seem to mind taking care of me. It printed, and before I walked away, I figured I should double check my originally scheduled 11am flight. If it was delayed, maybe I could still catch it. She checked, and of course it had departed on time. And in those 30 seconds, my 1pm flight got cancelled.
Thankfully she noticed, and immediately rebooked me on the 2pm flight - within seconds of it being cancelled. This was my luckiest break of the day for a few reasons. The first is that when I was walking to my next gate, there were dozens upon dozens of people waiting to rebook flights at the Customer Service desks. The second was that because of all of the delays, there were 60(!) people on the stand-by list for the 2pm flight. I was not one of them.
At this point, it was also clear I was not going to make my 3pm meeting and I'd probably be late for the 5pm meeting.
And I had no snacks. And there is nothing to eat in the airport unless you want to pay and arm and a leg for a fruit salad that looked like it had been made the week before. It turns out though, that McDonald's has a fruit and yogurt side salad for less than $2. I should have gotten 2. And their "gourmet" coffee isn't really so gourmet, in case you were wondering. And they only had Equal and Splenda and no Sweet and Low.
Flash forward. The boarding started for the 2pm flight. I was in group 4. The called the first three groups and then stopped. I heard the gate agent answer her phone and say "Damn". It turns out there were mechanical difficulties and they de-boarded the entire plane.
In the end, they found us another plane and we left by 3:30pm or so and arrived in DC around 6pm. It wouldn't have really been faster to drive, but almost. Maybe.