Stuck in Atlanta

May 19, 2017
By , Park Ridge, IL

If you have ever gone on vacation or to visit family far away, you know that traveling is the worst part of the trip. After coming home from a long vacation or maybe just a quick trip, you want to get home as fast as possible. Flying home is a good option to get home quick, but only if everything goes according to plan, sometimes there are things that can make getting home by plane a really long and frustrating experience. This long trip home is something my family and I have been through.

Everyone in my family loves traveling and visiting new places, we almost always travel when we have a break from school. Winter break 2011, I am 11 years old, we decided to take a trip to the Dominican Republic. I was very excited at the time to get away from the cold, wet Chicago weather and go to the warm weather, palm trees and beaches. I have never been to the Caribbean so I was ready to go somewhere I have never been yet. We were going to be flying directly to the Dominican Republic on the way there but had to make a stop for a connecting flight on the way back. After packing all our bags, we were off. The trip was very smooth and we got there quicker than I expected. We spent five days at a resort near Punta Cana, tanning in the bright yellow sun, swimming in the crystal clear ocean and having a great time with the family.

Next came everyone’s least favorite part of any vacation, it was time to go back home. No one ever wants to go home, but after you are packed and checked out of your hotel room all you want to do is get home as quick as possible. We arrived at the airport, which didn’t even look like an airport it was filled with palm trees and colorful flowers all over the place. All of us were exhausted, dragging our bags behind us. On the way back we were flying from Punta Cana to Atlanta and then back to Chicago. We knew that right when we got to Atlanta we had to hurry to get to our next flight because we had about an hour till our flight to O’hare departs. Of course when you are in a hurry everything that can go wrong, will go wrong and slow you down. We boarded our plane at Punta Cana ready for lift off and then the captain comes on the speaker and tells everyone on board that we will be a little delayed because of some malfunction they need to double check. Annoyed groans and sighs came from all of the passengers and all I thought to myself was, “This better not take to long or were going to be late for our next flight”. After sitting patiently for about half an hour, we heard the captain's voice again telling us we are just about ready to depart. Now we knew that it was going to be a race to the next terminal right when we touched down in Atlanta. After about a four hour flight we had about 15 minutes until boarding ended for our plane to Chicago. We didn’t have to wait for our bags because we had a connecting flight so they automatically get transferred to your next plane, that saved us a good couple minutes.

Next, was the reason in the end we did not make it on time to our flight. Since the Dominican Republic is out of the country we had to go through US customs. The many times I have been out of the country this process of getting checked back into the US is never a quick one. There is always a long line of anxious people ready to get to there destination. We made it through all the bag checking and pat downs and we were ready to get to our terminal.

We asked a worker what the fastest way to our terminal is and when he looked at our boarding passes he told us, “Last call for boarding is in just a couple minutes, there’s no way you’re making it”. We didn’t mind him telling us we weren’t going to make it and after showing us where to go we were off to the races. We sprinted through the airport weaving through people left and right. I felt like I was running so fast, passing everyone in my way without looking back. People looked at us like we were crazy, our bags nearly hitting people, rolling around on the clean, marble white floors. With the terminal in sight I was out of breath ready to collapse.

Just as we made our way to the gate, the man at the podium that scans boarding passes says,”Sorry guys, the plane is leaving right now, you missed it”.

I felt like I was in a movie, just barely missing our flight. All I could do is look out the huge, crystal clear panes of glass and watch our plane slowly ride away. I was so disappointed I just sat down and watched our plane until it was out of sight. My whole family was mad because now we were going to get back really late and the next day we had school and my dad had to go to work. We waited for 2 hours at the airport in silence, doing absolutely nothing just waiting for another flight. When the time finally came to board our second flight we were the first ones in line making sure we got to return home.

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