Let me start with some background, this blog involves the various scenarios I have been put into the past 2 days as I attempted to return how via airplane from vacation. My family lives overseas and I stayed behind in the US and I study here (18 yrs old, freshman in college). I went overseas to spend some time with my family for winter break. On Wednesday I left from Qatar (the country my parents live in) and immediately ran into trouble. So my mom came into the airport with me to see me off, I left her behind at the checkpoint as only fliers can go beyond that point. Interesting point to note is that unlike in the US there are no security checkpoints, instead they check your passport and take a picture of you for reference, and then you move on. I went ahead and went through this process and then after a second the guy asks me "where is your exit permit?". I was extremely confused as I had no idea what he was talking about, he proceeded to ask "where is your sponsor/father" -let me make something clear here, in Qatar, expats can only stay if they have a "sponsor". A sponsor is a family member that works in Qatar and through whom allows you to stay in Qatar. My father being the person in the family with a job is the sponsor- and I told him he is at home, to which he replied you need him here, so go call him. Well I couldn't do that, as my cell phone plan only allows me to make calls within the US. I explain this and he puts up in arms basically in a motion of "not my problem, go take care of it". I now leave the checkpoint area trying to look for payphone (which I have never seen in Qatar btw, but what choice did I have, I was stuck in the airport with no way of making my flight). When I exit I realize that by some miracle, my mom stayed there at the entrance to the checkpoint in case something went wrong, had she not done so, I would have been royally fucked. But she was there, and we managed to get the issue sorted out.
Well I got on the plane, and after 14 long hours we arrived in Chicago O'Hare International Airport. If anyone has come in to the US from overseas, you know how much of a pain customs is, well, I had to deal with that, and then as I went to the flight agents area (Whatever you call it) to go drop off my baggage (which you have to pick up from the carousel prior to finishing customs), I find out that my connecting flight to my final destination-Indianapolis- has been cancelled due to bad weather (it was snowing pretty hard). I got in line to speak to an agent and he tells me that the next available flight was the next morning at 6:20 a.m. I tell him I have no sleeping accommodations in Chicago and he tells me that there are cots being set up in Terminal 3 of the airport. He takes my bags and sends me on my way, I proceeded to take a train to the terminal, found my gate (which was on the complete right end of the terminal in Concourse G) and they tell my that the sleeping arrangements will be located around Concourse L, (which was on the complete opposite end of the terminal). I go all the way through L and didn't find so much as a pillow or blanket, so I talked to two people standing near a gate and they tell me to exit the area (meaning I have to go through security again T_T) and go talk to an American Airlines Agent about getting a hotel voucher. I found my way to the agent who tells me vouchers are not given out if the flight is cancelled due to bad weather (which mine was). He, however gives me a number to call to book a room for the night in a nearby hotel with 24/7 shuttle system to and from the airport. I figure out the system, get a room, found the location of the shuttle system (the entrance to which was near the opening of Concourse L, explaining what that idiot at my gate was saying) and proceeded to wait for the shuttle (which when I booked the room was told would take no more than 15 minutes). Now because the door are auto sliding and everyone is standing at the door waiting for their shuttles the doors are constantly open and its COLD outside. I wait for half an hour before a shuttle from my hotel shows up, and he doesn't even park, he just keeps driving like an asshole. I call the hotel again and they tell me 15 minutes before next shuttle. 15 minutes pass, I call again, and a new guy picks up who tells me you have to request a shuttle for it to come, which I did. So after an hour of standing in the cold the shuttle came, I got to the hotel and all was well.
The next morning I woke up around 2 am feeling like hell. My nose was stuffy as shit, my throat was dryer than the Gobi desert, and I was ready to dump-(censored to spare you the gruesome details)
Anyway, I managed to get a shuttle, got to the airport around 2:30 and find out that the security checkpoints (which are the first thing you go through in the terminal) are closed until 4 am, so I sat there for awhile, saw MKP somehow beat soulkey and the first two games of San v Yoda before I ran out of laptop battery. At this point its not even 5:00 and the plane leaves at 6:50 (it was later delayed by another 40 minutes with me still feeling like hell).
We finally reach Indy....and then I find out that even though I made it, my luggage did not....they left it in Chicago, still dont have it, hopefully I will get it ASAP.
Just thought I share my disastrous journey these past couple of days, I'm not afraid to admit, this was my first time flying alone and at many points I was scared, but hopefully I can take these experiences and learn from them (and hopefully I get my luggage soon)