Yes you did read that right, I got stranded in New York and went on a road trip with two complete strangers. Before I get into the story, I think I need to give some background on how I found myself in such an unfortunate situation.
It all started on a cold, cloudy Friday morning where I started my 17 hour trek to Pittsburg USA at 5am in England. I had 3 flights to catch, one to Amsterdam. One to New York and one to Pittsburg PA. Now if you’ve seen the news recently you will have seen how stressful travelling is at the moment. The airline industry is not prepared at all for how many people are choosing to go on holiday and their staff just cant keep up with numbers. Add that to my list of pre departure stresses.
Surprisingly the journey went really well. My first 2 flights were on time and I had time to spare on my connections to relax and get some food before my next flight. I board my flight to New York and luck out because nobody sat next to me! Everything went smooth, up until this point.
They make an announcement on the flight just before landing that once you’re through immigration in New York and you have connecting flights, you have to pick up your luggage and re-check it. Great, another stress. The flight lands and I rush off to get through immigration. Again, I thought everything was going great. Immigration took 20 minutes, which is unheard of at JFK airport. I go through, find my bag and walk out to the exit. At this point, I’d already had 2 notifications saying that my next flight to Pittsburg had been delayed. It was due to leave at 7:20pm, but had been delayed to 7:50pm. I wasn’t too worried at this point as a delay meant there was extra time to go through security and find myself some food again. I
re-check my bag and get told by the agent that my flight had been delayed again until 8:30pm, I accept this news and head for security which took about 30 minutes. And here is where everything went wrong.
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THE CANCELLED FLIGHT
After getting through security I found myself something to eat and I head to my next gate where I can see my flight information is displayed. I sit for around 20 minutes, whilst exchanging texts with my friend I’m going to see about how excited I am to see her finally. Suddenly I hear an announcement “The 7:20pm flight to Pittsburg is cancelled, see the Delta desk to rearrange your flight.” Panic takes over my body, why is this happening?! I made it this far, only one more flight and its all done for the day. Why did this have to happen here and now?
I head over to the Delta desk with the 300 other people who’s flights had been cancelled. I stand and wait in the line to speak to someone for over 2 hours, and still didn’t make it to speak to anybody from Delta. Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I guess you could call it bad luck or I’m just prone to unusual travelling experiences.
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THE ROAD TRIP WITH STRANGERS
Naturally, when you stand in line with other people in the same situation as you, you get talking. I started talking to alot of different people around me. In particular there was a couple in-front of me who were on my flight. They had just been to Scotland for a vacation and were also headed to Pittsburg. After trying to weigh up options, we all still found ourselves at a stand still. We were no closer to our final destination and I think thats what was the most annoying part. Being stuck and feeling like you’re not progressing to getting to where you need to go.
After talking with this couple for hours and getting to know them, we all discussed the option of renting a car and driving the 6 hours to Pittsburg where my friend could come and pick me up. So we exchanged contact information and they headed to try and find us a rental car. I stayed and waited in the line to speak to someone from delta. About 30 minutes later, they contact me and let me know they got a car and we all agreed to split the fare 3 ways. Without hesitation, I left the line, exited the terminal and went to find them.
We took the 6 hour journey together, and honestly it was the best thing ever. It was literally like something out of a movie. We drove through Staten Island, New Jersey and then spent hours driving through Pennsylvania. I made it to my friend at around 4am, where she was waiting for me. Not the reunion we had imagined, but I was just so grateful to have got to her safely. Even if my luggage was still stuck in New York.
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THE MORAL OF THE STORY
I guess with any story there is a moral to it. Mine is that sometimes you have to put trust in others, even strangers. Without them, I would have been stuck in New York for 3 days, by myself. Of course you have to use your own judgement in situations and figure out for yourself if people seem genuine or weird. I am just so thankful that God put me behind that couple, because I don’t know what I would have done.
Everything worked out for the good, and I took a chance and it paid off. The moral of this story is don’t take a road trip with strangers, unless you’re stuck in New York and you know they aren’t going to murder you. 🙂 Oh and don’t ever fly Delta!