Picture this, I had to go to Chicago on a business trip this past week. There wasn’t a lot of advance notice, but it was not the first time, so I sailed through the trip arrangements and off I went.
Arrived Monday afternoon for an all day meeting Tuesday. Tuesday flew by, quite busy, and I hopped back in the rental car and drove to O’hare. Checked in the car and got to the terminal, rushed to the Delta Kiosk, and swiped my credit card. I half paid attention when it said it had problems finding the reservation and it asked for the city destination for help finding it. Punched in “ATL” and waited. Again, it said it couldn’t find it and asked if I had the flight number. I pulled out my itinerary and then punched in the flight number.
Seconds later, it popped up with, not a valid flight number for O’Hare. Hrmm… Must have typoed it. I looked back at the itinerary and suddenly the words “MIDWAY” jumped out at me… I have never had such a sick sinking feeling in my life. I was at the wrong airport! At slightly over two hours, on a rainy Tuesday, and I was at the wrong airport. I rushed to the ticket counter to see if there was anyway to get on a flight out of O’Hare. Nope, all full the rest of the night. They thought I had a shot at getting to Midway and sent me to a shuttle service that would supposedly get me to Midway in 20 minutes.
The shuttle driver was not so optimistic. Rain and bad traffic, he figured it would be well over two hours… He shared the news with me that I apparently could have taken a couple of connecting trains after we had been on the bus half an hour… hmm… not so helpful there bud.
Sure enough, we arrived at the airport within minutes of my 7pm flight leaving the gate. And, of course, it was the last flight of the night. I got on a 6am flight instead and went to find a hotel room. I ended up at a hotel a few minutes from the airport and did some work over a McD’s meal while half listening to the presidential debates.
Not a lot of sleep was had before I had to get up to go to the airport again. I got home late morning.
I can laugh a bit about it now so I feel more open to sharing this insane story. Still have some angst about our travel booking system, though. I never search on cities. I searched on the airport code, ORD, so now I know that our daft system will still deliver you flight options at other airports. Good to know… I’ve learned to look a little closer at the results our booking system delivers.