As me and Sir L were engaged at the time, we decided to do Christmas apart.
He conveniently planned a business trip to Paris the week before Christmas and then would fly to Barcelona to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with his mother. I would join them on December 27 for a week of Barcelona sunshine and a festive New Year's Eve.
Of course it did not go according to plan. And while this story is not about France or our life in Paris, it was traumatic enough event that I feel like writing a post to remember it by. Plus one of my favorite American Girl in Paris blogs wrote about her experience last year which made me really think back "fondly" on mine.
The Scene: Paris, Pittsburgh & Barcelona. Followed by Penn Station & JFK Airport.
December 8: Paris is hit with a "tremendous" amount of snow. Snow reached 10 centimeters or about 4 inches. Charles de Gaulle uses up all plane de-icing fluid, etc because of this "storm."
December 18: London's Heathrow Airport is shut down for a week because of minimal snow which paralyzed the entire city and suburbs.
Lady Lancelot remarks, "Well, I'm flying British Airways to Barcelona through Heathrow but it will be cleaned up by then."
Lady Lancelot also remarks, "I can't believe how London was not able to handle this snow! JFK is able to handle anything."
December 19: Sir Lancelot's flight to London for a meeting is cancelled. He flies out on Tuesday and the meeting is cancelled. Lady L is happy she has two extra days with her fiance.
December 22: Lady Lancelot flies to Pittsburgh for Christmas with her family.
Lady Lancelot says to her co-worker before she leaves, "I just want a drama-free flying experience. Please."
December 23: Paris cuts 50% of flights due to shortage of anti-freeze fluid to de-ice planes. An emergency supply is flown in from US overnight (ha ha ha...imagine snicker from American Lady Lancelot as Sir L explains this over phone).
Sir L's 4pm flight from Paris to Barcelona is originally delayed by 2 hours, then 4 hours then finally cancelled at 10pm. It takes Sir L 3 hours to realize he won't be flying anywhere for Christmas.
Madame Tootle is dressed up in her Barcelona flat ready to go to dinner with her son. Clearly she is disappointed that we won't be arriving.
He will have to spend Christmas Eve somewhere in Northern Spain. "Bon Noël indeed," he says, "At least there is a door with a lock so I can be alone."
December 25: Christmas Day. Sir L is with Madame T. and Lady L is with her family and they bolt over to Baltimore for a large dinner. There is rumoring of a large storm set to hit the entire East Coast on December 26. Lady L drinks copious amounts of red wine to pretend the storm isn't going to happen.
December 26: Lady L wakes up bright and early and immediately checks out weather.com and views the bad news from the 12-hour radar. Not looking good. She begins to cry and have a 26-year-old tantrum in front of family before anyone's consumed coffee.
She takes the train from Baltimore to New York. The snow begins while on the train. She tricks herself into thinking that it's really not that bad and not coming down that hard.
The snow begins to stick.
3:30pm: Lady L takes a cab and risks her life heading to JFK Airport. She knows the flight will be cancelled but has to check-in anyways just in case a miracle happens.
Facebook let me document the evening and now the Facebook Timeline feature lets me truly relive it.
I thought to myself, "Well, lucky for me I live in Manhattan and can just get home and sleep in my own bed." Nope. The subways were shut, the taxis stopped coming hours ago and I was snowed-in at the prettiest airport in the United States.
I went to the bar for two hours until it shut (who shuts the airport bar at 10pm when all the flights are cancelled? It's not like the bartender could get home!) and then took a NyQuil, wrapped myself in my cape jacket and used my carry-on bag as a pillow. With eye mask and iPod, I was able to sleep until 8:30am.
At around 4:30pm taxis started to show up at the airport again with hopeful travelers. I went back home booked on a flight that was supposed to leave the following day. I didn't get out until December 28, out of Newark on a business class ticket because it was all I could get.
The travel woes of 2010 are the main reason that Sir Lancelot and I decided to stay put for the Christmas holiday.
I guess everyone gets their chance to spend a night at an airport. Glad mine is over and hope it never happens again!