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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Monday
Sep102012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of my Short Trip to Upstate New York

Wednesday evening of this past week I had to fly out to Syracuse, NY for a work meeting on Thursday morning. A supplier that I work with is located in the Finger Lakes region so I have taken this trip many times. It is never a great flight because it is on a tiny plane which tends to be uncomfortable but I had no idea what I was in for this time.

The Bad
The early evening flight was sold out so I was on a 9:45 flight which meant that after picking up my rental car and driving to Auburn I would likely be at my hotel by midnight. It wasn't going to be great but not that bad either.

Unfortunately my flight was delayed but since it wasn't too bad of a delay so I wasn't that concerned. After boarding the flight the pilot apologized that the air conditioning wasn't working. It was absolutely miserable - think 100 degrees with no air circulation. A baby in the back of the plane was screaming his head off most of the flight and although it made the situation worse I really couldn't blame him. On top of that the gentleman sitting beside me didn't feel limited to his own seat area and was almost sitting on top of me.

About half an hour into the flight I was trying to concentrate on my book and ignore my discomfort when the pilot came back on the PA. Due to some maintenance issues we had to head back to Detroit. A few minutes later the pilot came back to let us know that since they needed to burn off some fuel before the approach we needed to circle for a while before landing. After over an hour of miserable flying I was back where I started.

At first the air conditioning of the terminal was a welcome change but quickly the drastic change in temperature started to give me terrible chills. After an hour and a half of the flight saying we were about to board a new flight we finally managed to get on a new flight and head toward Syracuse. Lucky for me we had the same seat assignments so Mr. I Don't Care About Your Personal Space was next to me again.

When we finally arrived I was thrilled that I had only packed a carry on and didn't have to wait for any baggage. I also nearly kissed the rental car agent because she had kept the agency open over two hours after they normally close to wait for our flight. I got on the road and made it to my hotel in Auburn at nearly three in the morning.

I've flown a lot, but this was my worst flight experience. Don't get me wrong, I've had flights delayed longer or cancelled and stuck someplace for a day. But in each of those instances I've made the best of things by enjoying some extended sightseeing somewhere or relaxing and reading at an airport cafe. In short, my original plans were derailed but I wasn't miserable. On this trip I was just physically feeling miserable the entire time, plus I knew I would only be able to catch a few hours of sleep before a full day of work where I needed to be interacting with people all day. 

The Good
This post isn't all doom and gloom. After making it through the day on Thursday I went out for dinner at a lovely place called the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles with my coworkers. The Sherwood Inn is across the street from a park overlooking Skaneateles Lake so before we sat down for dinner I wandered around a bit and took a few pictures. It was really beautiful and I wished I had some time to enjoy the lake.

Back at the Sherwood Inn I had a wonderful dinner. The restaurant's history dates back to 1807 when it was a stagecoach stop. The building itself was charming with blue clapboard and shingle siding and black shutters. Inside it was just as quaint and we ate our dinner on their Lakeview Porch and watched the sun set.

Our food was delicious. We started by sharing some appetizers including the Dynamite Calamari, which were crispy fried and tossed with hot peppers, Sriracha chili vinaigrette, cilantro and lime, and the Sherwood Kettle Chips, which were freshly made and served with melted blue cheese, bacon and bacon-ranch dipping sauce. Both were incredible and I would not be able to pick a favorite.

For dinner I had the Ommegang Steamed Seafood entree which consisted of littleneck clams, shrimp and mussels steamed in a Belgian Ale with fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers and Swiss chard. The seafood was cooked perfectly and I loved the dish. I was stuffed after dinner but made the mistake of looking at the dessert menu anyway and couldn't help ordering the Strawberry-Rhubarb Lemon Tart. It was a lemon tart with a strawberry rhubarb topping that was out of this world. I think I need to try to make something like this at home sometime.

The Ugly
After a my wonderful meal the stress of the flight into town had been replaced with simple exhaustion. I got into my car to drive to my hotel near the airport looking forward to getting a full night of sleep before flying home on Friday morning. That was not to be, however. 
During my drive, my airline called with a pre-recorded message to inform me that my flight home was cancelled. I didn't pick up since I was driving and by the time I was able to reschedule my flight everything was booked up except for the 6:10 am flight. My dreams of sleep flew out the window. I can't explain how defeated I felt especially knowing that I was going to have to be at work late on Friday. I ended up making it through the day (it was not pretty!) and needless to say that when I made it home at nine in the evening I crashed. Hard. Really hard. 

Looking back (now that I've slept!) it's a funny story and I am going to be getting some frequent flier mileage compensation which takes a little sting out of things. What was your worst flying experience? Delays, cancellations, redirected flight: I want to hear!

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Reader Comments (5)

When I heard you mention the word Syracuse, I shuddered.
That was my worst flying experience. 1993.
In St. Louis that year, we were having the 500-year floods and it was raining hard that day.
I had my 7 month old with me by myself to go visit my brother who lived there and was an EE
at the nuclear power plant.
The flight was two hours late arriving in NYC due to the fact that we had been unable to take off in St. Louis
on time. Unfortunately, they did not hold the plan to Syracuse for me. This would mean that I was stuck in the airport there for five hours with my baby and only a small diaper bag and little food or drinks for her. It was a nightmare. The thing is, when I found out that the plane had left without me five minutes before, I started sobbing hysterically (and loudly) at the gate to the attendants. I was also convinced that a woman wanted to kidnap my baby because she kept asking me if she could help me to the bathroom and hold her for me, to which I answered a resounding, "NO thank you!!" Well, it was the longest five hours of my life but we made to Syracuse very late that night barely
in one piece!!

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkathy f

My worst experience ever:
I flew to Germany my junior year in college. I was spending a month at a German college as a part of my minor in German. I had to fly back on a Friday in the middle of my trip to be in my sister's wedding. Sunday morning my parents drove me up to the airport in the am. My flight was scheduled to depart at 11 am. I checked in without any trouble (back in the days of no intense screenings) and waited for my flight to Dulles (Dulles to Amersterdam to Frankfurt), but low and behold the plane coming in that would be our plane going out was late. I had plenty of time between my new arrival time into Dulles and when my plane to Amsterdam would be leaving so no worries. Once we boarded I sat down next to the window (my fav) and an elderly couple sat next to me. The husband next to me and the wife on the outside. During the middle of the flight the husband threw up orange juice all over himself and some of it got on me. I was severely de-hydrated from flying from Europe to MN all day on Friday, staying up most of the day on Saturday and drinking and then getting back on a plane so my stomach started churning and it was all I could do to not mirror my neighbor. The flight attendent brought some wipes for the man to clean up with but there wasn't enough, so the smell of oj was still very pungent and strong. I felt so bad because the wife kept apologizing to me and it wasn't anyone's fault. There was a doctor onboard who came to examine the man and it turned out that he was having a heart attack. So once we finally landed in Dulles, we were several hours late, nobody could leave the plane until the EMT got this man off the plane. Once I finally left the plane I literally ran the entire way to my gate and was too late so I couldn't board. I had to get the next flight which wasn't until the next day at 6 p.m. The airline put me up in a hotel, paid for my dinner and breakfast and the cab to and from the hotel as well as a voucher toward my next ticket.

The next day I got to the airport early, sat around and read a book until 6 p.m. I was fine with it because there was nothing I could do. When I got to Amsterdam I had an hour before my puddle jumper took off for Frankfurt. Once we were in the air it was horrible. Cramped conditions and some pretty bad turbulence. Up and down, up and down. My stomach was not happy. Then the man next to me spilt his ginger ale all over during one of the ups and downs. Better than oj I guess.

Once I got to Frankfurt, it turned out that they had lost my luggage. It was still somewhere other than in Germany. Good thing I had left some clothes in my dorm in Germany so I wasn't too worried. They got my address and said they'd deliver my luggage the next day.

The next day came and I waited during the designated time and they never came. I called them and they said they came but nobody was there. I told them that I was there and they had to ring up to my room. So the next day we did the same thing and I waited and waited. Nothing. So I went downstairs and decided I'd sit on the curb and wait. I sat there for awhile and just as I was going to the pay phone to call them again I see a couple girls I knew from class. They were toting my suitcase behind them. They said some delivery guy just left it with them. Boy was I mad. He just left my luggage with strangers. Not even knowing if they knew me or not. (my building was 15 floors high...there were a lot of students in this dorm).

So...aLL in all I got my luggage back, lost a day of Germany and didn't lose my lunch on any plane. I was happy despite the horrid circumstances of getting back to Europe.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I am glad there was good to your trip and the kindness of the car rental lady The restaurant looks like a lovely place to eat. Beside the great looking food, I liked the floors and all the windows in the restaurant. I could just picture myself there having afternoon tea, but of course I would have travelled there by car - I am not a flier !

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Lou

Wow, that sounds awful. I just had a pretty bad experience in Newark that involved not being allowed to check both my bags, getting turned away at security because of a problem with my boarding pass, losing a gift at security (liquid soap), missing my flight, tears. Lucky for me I got on a flight an hour and a half later, but very stressful.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Keller

Kathy- I remember those crazy floods on the Mississippi back in 1993. That must have been a terrible time to fly. How awful to have been stuck with your baby at an airport for so long. I'll bet you were so relieved to finally get there!

Jen- That is an awful story! I've been spilled on several times on a flight, but never thrown up on. Also, when my luggage has been lost I've gotten it back in a few days, but no one ever gave it to random people where I lived. That is a truly bad flight experience. I bet you were glad to finally settle back into life in Germany when you finally got there.

Mary-Lou- The restaurant was really lovely, with such a nice settling and history. If you have a chance to visit the Finger Lakes region you should definitely go!

Kate- That sounds terrible! Why is it that when one thing goes wrong for a flight more and more bad things seem to start to go wrong? I'm glad that you were able to catch another flight and finally make it home!

September 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLisa

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