Getting to Moscow

Well nothing starts a day off traveling quite like getting a text on the way to the airport saying that your flight has been canceled! This is how August 8, 2016 started for me! Delta’s computers went down for about 6 hours in the very early morning and so nearly all of their domestic US flights were delayed or canceled.

I started the day stopping off at my brother’s to say goodbye and getting that text while I was standing at his door. At which point I told my dad to just head straight to the airport. While he was driving I was online trying to figure out what was going on. I checked the Delta app to see that they had rerouted me through Memphis – Atlanta – Paris – Moscow. So I figured that I would deal with it all when I got to the airport.

When I got there a lovely Delta gate agent named Gary helped me out. I have to say that the Delta employees in Memphis seemed to be on top of getting people on flights that would work and did not seem to be too stressed, they were in ‘get it done’ mode. So Gary gets into the computer and quickly realizes that with the current delays the rerouting through Paris is not going to work. He then spent some time trying to find a route that would. While doing this he ran into a snag with Aeroflot. Since they “owned” the ticket and I had checked-in the night before, he couldn’t get me off of that flight so that he could rebook me.

So, he gets on the phone to a Delta rep who tries to get me off of that flight, but they have no luck. While he is doing that, he calls Aeroflot on his personal phone to try to get me off, with no luck. I called Aeroflot and tried to get off of the flight with no luck! The flights were booked through Expedia, so the Aeroflot rep told me that I had to have Expedia email Aeroflot to take me off. (Yea, cuz email is going to be answered that quickly!)

That leads me to call Expedia, which leads to this photograph! Which I am blaming on BB-8 and the fact that I was probably the only person who looked remotely stressed in Memphis!

Taken by Jim Weber of The Commercial Appeal, used with Mr. Weber’s permission.

I saw the photographer walk over to my direction because I think he was going to try to get pictures of the University of Memphis Girls Basketball team who were checking in beside me. Then he stopped sat down on the floor and started taking pictures. I was trying to not look at him which is why my eyes look like they are rolling, really I was just waiting on hold and bored!

While I was on hold Gary called another Delta person and his attitude was more like “I don’t care if she isn’t released, I am rerouting her.” So, I hung up with Expedia and Gary finished checking me in. My new flights were Memphis – Atlanta – Amsterdam – Moscow and he made sure that I had plenty of time to make my connections. The MEM – ATL flight was supposed to have gone at 10:30 but it was already delayed until 12:30 so I had a few hours in Memphis before I even started.

At this point, Mom and Dad said goodbye since they had stayed in case I didn’t get flights. My bags were checked in and I headed through security. Everyone in Memphis at this point in the morning was still in pretty good spirits.

And so it began! This was followed by sitting in the Memphis airport until about 4:30 when my flight to Atlanta finally boarded. Getting into Atlanta and rushing over to the international terminal. When I got to my gate they were only beginning to board so I rushed over to the shop and grabbed some snacks to get me by. Then the flight from Atlanta was delayed because they were trying to get as many people as they could on it.

We finally left about 30-40 minutes behind schedule. I knew it was going to be tight in Amsterdam because I originally only had an hour and 10 minutes. As it turned out I had about 15! I literally ran from my plane through the international terminal to the gate and got in line to board. I was probably 10th from last. I didn’t know it at the time but another teacher was doing the same as me at that point.

I thankfully had enough Wi-Fi signal while I was running through Schiphol to post a message to the school that I had boarded. This flight was uneventful and but when I landed in Moscow I was not surprised to find that my bags had not completed the mad dash through Schiphol with me! After filling in some forms and getting them located (they were in Amsterdam still and were being put on the next flight) I was able to leave the baggage area.

I was picked up by the school and taken straight to my temporary apartment. My actual apartment is being refurbished and will not be ready until my shipment arrives in about a month or so. I am currently staying in one of the guest apartments that the school owns.

I was invited to dinner at the director’s apartment which is in the same building which was nice since I had been up for about 27 hours at that point. I met a few of the teachers, learned how to run the washer and dryer, and got taken to the local shop for some necessities then I crashed!

I even made the News! One of The Commercial Appeal’s photographers was at the airport and grabbed this shot!

I am still being used in The Commercial Appeal article today, though it has changed!


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