Virginia’s Airport Odyssey

The summer of 2012 was a really special summer for my family and I. We went to Virginia in one of the most exciting trips of my life. There’s so many fun things we did throughout the whole trip but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s start by the frustrating airport odyssey.

My oldest cousin had just graduated from High School and was about to start a new phase of his life. He didn’t get a chance to go to his “Close Up” trip in 11th grade so my mom thought it would be very special to bring him along in a vacation to make up for it, especially since our trip was going to be in Virginia, one of the visiting places of the “Close Up” trip.

My mom, sister, cousin, and I were flying from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Charlotte, NC and finally to Virginia Beach. Due to work my dad would be arriving a few days after.

The first flight went smooth and we landed in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our next flight was to Norfolk, Virginia. As soon as we arrived we found out that the flight was delayed for bad weather.

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport was a pretty big airport with many places to eat and stores but after waiting for so much time, you don’t find pleasure in anything. We checked back to see any news on our next flight only to be told it was, again, delayed. For hours, my family waited with both impatience and hunger and just walked around as if the airport was an amusement park. We constantly bought some snacks or food to cure our hunger but there was no cure for our desperation. Far from home and without my dad who is basically our guide on trips.

Filled with exhaustion and boredom we checked our delayed flight at the end of the night after six hours of waiting and that’s when we were told that our flight to Norfolk, Virginia was canceled for that night. The first reason we were on the trip was because of an important tennis tournament my sister had and she was supposed to play the next day. It was 10pm and we were still stuck in Charlotte. At that moment, anyone could imagine our frustration.

My mom was getting to a point where just about any available flight would satisfy her, so she asked if there was any other flight that night to Virginia. Hope came to visit us that night when my mom found out that there was only one and it was going to Richmond which was like one hour away from our where we were supposed to arrive, in the first place. “Just do what you have to do to get us on the flight.” Even the lady in the counter could sense my mother’s desperation and her eagerness to board that flight.

All the way from Puerto Rico, my dad arranged for a taxi to take all four of us to the hotel when we arrived at Richmond and he called the tennis tournament to explain our situation to see if they would understand and make arrangements for us.

We had never been so excited to board a flight, like we were that night. The moment we set foot on Virginia we felt so relieved. The Richmond International Airport was very empty; the last flight of the night was ours. Our feelings of desperation were slowly drifting away and turning to happiness, when we soon found out that one of our bags was missing.

One of our bags stayed behind. We just embraced the situation and decided to wait for the next day to fix things.

The taxi cab my dad had arranged was waiting for us outside and we drove. Finally, on the road and not in a plane or in an airport. The ride was calm and I can’t remember much as my deprived sleep took control over me and the rest was a blur until we reached our hotel at 1:30 am.

My mom, sister, cousin, and I managed to get through a long, rough day. It was for sure an odyssey and I can’t say it didn’t end well. Yes, we waited for hours, our flight got canceled, we didn’t have my dad, one of our bags decided to take its own vacation and took on a different flight, but at least we went through it together and it was only the beginning of a very special vacation, one that would forever be close to my heart.

P.S. Our bag arrived the next day in the afternoon in our hotel and my mom hugged it, as if it was her estranged child. I’m not exaggerating, she literally hugged it! Oh and my sister still had a match the next day…

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