Submitted on 04/20/10
As a lot of you know, this has been a busy couple of weeks for Joe – last week from Sunday thru Wednesday he was in Augusta working The Masters for SAP. And he is working on a big new project which entailed trips to Canada and Germany within about ten days of each other. He needed to go to Vancouver for a day and was going straight from Georgia but I nixed that plan as I had gotten Opening Day tickets for the Giants on Friday for Jacob and me (yes, they won in dramatic fashion after 13 innings). So Joe left for Vancouver on Sunday evening. This week was spring break and we had planned to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium since the kids have been asking for months to go. We decided that we would pick him up from SFO on Tuesday morning, go to Monterey and stay the night and drop him off on Wednesday at SFO. He planned to travel (round trip) about 20 hours in a plane for less than six hours of meeting in Waldorf. (We had a great time in Monterey by the way. Good thing too.)
Well, Joe’s flight to Europe was probably one of the last to get there – the volcano in Iceland erupted Wednesday afternoon. Joe’s flight was delayed two hours at SFO while they decided what to do, then add extra fuel to fly to French airspace rather than going over the northern route. This added two hours to his flight time, which meant by the time he landed, he was already an hour late for his meeting! He was scheduled to leave Friday noon, but knew that wasn’t happening so changed to a flight for Saturday afternoon. All iffy and up in the air (literally).
As of his night time on Friday, there was no way to know if he is getting out on Saturday. His cohort Alexis waited in line at the airport for more than four hours and later on hold on phone for more than an hour (at which point his phone went dead) just trying to get a flight to Boston where he lives (flights to the east coast from Europe were at first not affected as they do not go over the globe, so to speak). Alexis’s flight is to leave at 1:00 German time, Joe’s flight is at 2:00. When they wake up (with hangovers no doubt because they did a pub crawl tonight), they will know if they get to come home. If not, here is the plan.
They will contact Travel and see if they can get a flight out of Rome, which is one of the only European airports still open. They will fly to where ever via where ever to get back to the States.
If that is not an option, I think that Joe will try to swim the Atlantic.
I can see some of you in the audience raising your hands, thinking, why don’t they just stay in Germany and wait for the next available flight? Good question – lots of problems.
There were 16,000 flights cancelled in Europe today (so I heard on the news). There are more than 100,000 travelers stranded all over the globe, and now planes and crews are all out of position for current and future flights. SAP alone had 250 employees affected by this, 50 staying at the same hotel with Joe. Five employees got out on the company jet to Rome today, and then flew commercial airline to Asia. They will be in the air for 35 hours before getting home.
Now, some of you are thinking “Poor Joe, how difficult.” But wait, what about ME? I am the one stuck home trying to entertain three active kids during spring break while my partner is off globe trotting, going to The Masters, Vancouver, Germany, and now probably Rome. That is a problem I WANT to have, not the same humdrum existence of laundry, dishes, meals, dog walks. What an adventure! Driving through Europe to Rome – wow, something that only college kids do, right?
Okay, if it we were doing it as a couple, it would be a lifetime story, but I know that Joe wants to get home to the kids and I certainly can use the second set of parental hands. Luckily for me (in case you were asking), my right hand go to lady is back from her awesome vacation to St. Thomas, so I will have help on the home front (thank God for Cheryl!!).
Will let you know if Joe’s home flight goes through the Bahamas – then I really won’t see him for another week!