9:00 AM- Leave apartment to head to the airport for an 11:35 flight to Chicago, where we’ll have a one hour layover before heading to Frankfurt, where we’ll have 55 minutes before leaving for Venice, arriving Thursday morning at 9:30 AM.
9:15 AM- Flurries turn into snow showers. Highway visibility reduced. Traffic slows.
9:40 AM- Check in at the United gate, as they’re operating the first leg of our Lufthansa flight. Heading through O’Hare to meet Dr. Girlfriend’s sister before heading to Venice.
9:45 AM- Inquire about expected delays and switching planes. We’re 15 minutes too late to catch the earlier Den-Chicago flight. Attendant says, “That’s why you should come two hours early.” Our flight is at 11:35 AM.
10:00 AM- Breeze through heightened security checkpoints. Fight is showing as on-time. Start search for donuts.
10:30 AM- No donuts yet. Fuck scones.
11:00 AM- Flight shows as 10 minutes delayed.
11:30 AM- Board flight. Scheduled for a 12:05 PM departure.
12:00 PM- Notified that Chicago thunderstorms are affecting departures. Optional deplaning allowed.
12:15 PM- Dr. Girlfriend rebooks us on the next Chicago-Frankfurt departure as we’ll miss the first connection. Estimated Venice arrival time is now 1:30 PM (4 hours behind).
1:00 PM- Chicago has a full ground stop. Entire plane is deplaned. Three hours of flex time to make new connection. Eat a quesadilla. United agent tells us we can’t switch planes as they can’t pull bags off the plane, and that they can’t follow us internationally without being on the EXACT SAME PLANE WE ARE due to customs.
2:00 PM- Ground stop still in effect. Waiting for a decision to be made at 3:00 PM. Head to United customer service desk to start plans for alternative arrangements.
2:05 PM- Get in line.
2:40 PM- Dr. Girlfriend leaves the queue to go back to the gate and wait for news.
2:57 PM- reach help counter. Told no decision can be made until we are delayed so long our working itinerary is impossible. Also told that the 5:40 Den-Frankfurt flight is full.
3:03 PM- leave desk.
3:04 PM- Phone call from Dr. Girlfriend. New departure decision will be made at 4:00 PM. Our working itinerary is now impossible.
3:10 PM- head to secret overflow United help line discovered while queued up in main line.
3:45 PM- D. Thornton at United help line rebooks us onto the 5:40 Denver to Frankfurt flight. Will still make original Frankfurt-Venice flight. Still on track for a 1:30 PM Thursday arrival. Abandon any plans to meet Dr. Girlfriend’s sister, who has now been rerouted to Indianapolis.
6:10 PM- board flight. Need to leave ASAP to avoid missing connection.
6:30 PM- head to deicing line.
6:50 PM- Lady five rows up passes out. Frantic search for doctors on board. Six report before Dr. Girlfriend can.
7:30 PM- back to gate to deplane sick lady.
8:30 PM- back the deicing line.
9:30 PM- We’re flying to Germany! No way in hell we’ll make our Venice connection though.
3:00 PM- Reach Frankfurt. Head to customer service. Lufthansa has already booked us on the next flight. German efficiency is noted. United inefficiency is also noted.
3:15 PM- Issue with new boarding passes as agent can’t find us easily due to the number of booking/rebookings.
3:20 PM- Boarding passes printed.
3:30 PM- Pretzels are bought. Scotch is bought. Pretzels are delicious. Dr. Girlfriend’s sister is called. Her new estimated arrival time is now Friday morning, 24 hours late. Her bags will meet her there, though on a different plane.
4:15 PM- Board plane for Venice.
5:30 PM- Arrive in Venice.
6:00 PM- Discover our bags have not arrived in Venice.
6:20 PM- Make it to baggage agent. Her English is *touches fingertips on right hand together* “notta the good”.
6:25-6:45 PM- cannot explain to agent why the fact that no one answering the apartment phone when she calls doesn’t mean we won’t be able to. Lots of iterations of “No one is there right now. We’ll be there tomorrow.”
6:50 PM- head to water taxi.
7:15 PM- watch water taxi leave while we approach. Next one in thirty minutes. Beautiful sunset over lagoon.
7:45 PM- catch water taxi. Head to Venice.
9:00 PM- reach apartment. Bathroom break, then off to find dinner. We haven’t eaten since breakfast was served on our morning flight.
9:10 PM- Dr. Girlfriend turns the ancient key in the ancient lock. It breaks in the lock. #freebonz hashtag is created for real-time Twitter updates.
9:45 PM- apartment owner in San Francisco starts calling for a locksmith.
10:15 PM- Fire department is called.
10:45 PM- Fire department arrives. #freebonz hashtag discontinued.
11:00 PM- Shower time. Full body dish soap lather achieved.
Bags? Sightseeing? Stay tuned.