I’ve heard many quotes and sayings, placing a greater importance on experiencing the journey rather than enjoying the destination. I’m not sure on which side I lean, but our journey to St. Maarten for a nice extended weekend break from winter proved to be an extraordinary one.
After enduring multiple feet of snow up here in the Greater Boston area over the past few months, the knowledge that I would soon be on the island of St. Maarten for the Heineken Regatta, with other members of a local travel group – The Onyxbirds – was that proverbial next light at the end of tunnel.
While at work during the week of the trip, I received a call on my cell from a 1-800 number that I did not recognize. I assumed that it was a spam telemarketer, but then I saw a curious email from US Airways. I opened up the email, and saw information about my flight from Boston to Philadelphia being cancelled. Cancelled? It couldn’t be!
So after deep breaths, my girlfriend and I were texting frantically trying to figure out what our next steps would be. Thankfully, she took care of communications with the airline as we tried to get rebooked. The big issue was a snowstorm rolling through Philly when our flight was supposed to arrive there.
We rebooked our flight, but it was cancelled again. So we rebooked a third time. But due to waning confidence in the next morning’s flight, we decided to take our chances with going stand-by to make sure we got out of Boston.
Shut down before we could even complete our first sentence…”We’re sorry, but the flight is full.” Well, how about standby? “No, no stand-by. I would advise, you guys check your flight status at 3:30 am tomorrow”. Wow, so we rushed down there for nothing it seemed. We sat on one of the benches to collect our thoughts on what our options were. Then, it hit me.
Let’s not wait to get that cancellation call again from US Airways, at least for the flight out of Boston. Let’s ride the rail to Philly! Initially, my girlfriend wasn’t into the idea, especially due to the 6-7 hour train ride it entailed. But the more we thought about it, we were losing confidence in our flight out of Boston by the minute. So we decided to buy our train tickets and head to Philly.
Once we arrived at the airport, it felt like we achieved a milestone. Even though we didn’t do anything superhuman, we felt accomplished. A piece of our journey was now complete. We weren’t exactly in St. Maarten yet, but we were making slow progress.
I peeked outside the window, and saw that what started as drizzle, turned to rain, and now was full-blown snow. As the snow was really starting to come down, I started to worry. Would we be able to enjoy warm temperature in “The Friendly Island” or would we be stuck in cold, snowy, Philadelphia for a night?
As the potential boarding time came nearer and nearer, we were checking our US Airways flight status pretty much every 5 minutes. It was still showing as “On Time” so we kept feeling relief after that jolt of nervousness when we felt it was time to check again. Oh such a vicious cycle!
Finally, we board! While on the plane, I look out the window, seeing the snow falling, accumulating on the window feeling less and less secure about our escape from the cold. I catch a glimpse of the fluid being generously applied to the window and wing, hoping for the best that later that day I’ll be able to take off all these layers I’m wearing and enjoy nice weather sans snow.
The de-icing finally completed, the plane slowly gets set up, moving to the appropriate spot to start it’s takeoff run. Here we go. After a pause I feel the thrust of the jets as the plane is propelled forward. With the needed acceleration and lift the plane gets off the ground, and like a finely sharpened dart, cuts through the snow and the clouds almost like that hot knife through butter.
A boisterous passenger got everyone going, ecstatic over our success in taking off, and yelled out “Yeah! We made it! Woohoo!” And everyone on the plane gave a round of applause for the crew. Definitely one of the things that helped make this a memorable trip.
As we got above the clouds, a feeling of serenity took hold of me and I’m sure others, as we could see the clouds below us, and all the craziness of the storm was no longer a concern. We’re gonna make it to St. Maarten!
Through it all, we kept our cool, thought about various scenarios to successfully complete our travels and made it happen. What are some of the more “unique” ways you had to use, or circumstances you had to endure, to get to your travel destination? Please share below!
By: Kenny Hyde
Photo Credit: Kenny Hyde