The flooding and destruction seen in New York are terrible, but there's another, lesser scourge that has been brought on by Snor'eastercane Sandy. Airport gridlock. You hear about it every year, whenever there's a big storm somewhere: thousands of people stranded at airports in London and Paris.
I'm coming to you live from Charles De Gaul Airport in Paris, wishing, like a lot of other people here, that I was already where I'm headed. The closure of several major airports in Washington, D.C., New York City, and everything in between has caused a huge backup.
Here at Paris' massive airport, it's meant a crowd of exasperated people running around wondering what the heck they're supposed to do while overworked airline employees do their best to wade through the confusion. Air France employees took the frustration in stride with mixture of "it's not my fault, you know, I cannot control the weather," and "This happens every time you Americans have a storm."
I'd booked my flight over a month ago. A Dublin-Paris-New York loop to get me home securely and inexpensively from my Sicilian Targa Florio adventures. But lady luck did not smile upon New York, and allowed the Kraken a shot at America's biggest city. Thus, New York is wet and I got stuck in Paris.
But what I learned today is that the trick about these situations is not to lose your head. You have to accept your fate. You're probably not going anywhere for a while, so you might as well relax and talk civilly to the airline people. They're just as bummed, and if you go all Parking Lot Mechanic on them, they won't even know what hit them.
The people who had the most problems at the ticket desk and at customer service were the ones freaking out about not getting a flight for two or three days (ok, I admit I freaked out a bit myself when I found out I would be stuck in Paris until Sunday without any accommodations).
But by persistently hounding the various information, ticketing, and check-in desks (and with the help of a really sweet French lady who works for Air France), it was possible to find a loophole in the system. I'm flying to Boston with a few other lucky loophole finders. You never know where these holes are unless you poke.
Photo credit: Ben Preston