Is there anything worse, while traveling, than a flight delay? No. Although I’ve never lost my passport, I bet that really stinks. But flight delays are the worst. Especially if that delay causes you to miss your connection, that connection is the last flight out, and you are thus stuck in airport hotel limbo overnight, causing you to miss work the next day, and forcing you to listen to a chirping, dying, smoke detector in your compensated room for hours on end. That’s worse.
But it doesn’t have to be that bad. My husband and I turned our lemons into lemonade when our flight home from Hawaii was delayed enough that we found ourselves staying at a hotel near the San Francisco airport for a night. It had been a long day and a long flight, but even though it was late, we dropped our bags and hopped a taxi in to the city. I was born just outside San Francisco and lived the first year of my life there. I had only been back once as a child, so I wasn’t about to miss this free opportunity to get another glimpse. Plus, that smoke detector was enough to drive you bonkers.
I quick got in touch with foodie friends who lived locally and knew the ins and outs of the restaurant scene. They recommended a late night option with awesome food and craft cocktails where I enjoyed the hands-down best grown up grilled cheese of my life. It was after midnight, but we grabbed another cab (this was the dark ages when Uber was still a little newborn baby) and had the driver take us on a drive to see the infamous nearby Lombard Street, before heading back out to the hotel near the airport.
That was back in the day when we traveled without children. This would no longer fly. Ha, get it? But we have also experienced the inconvenience of a missed connection and an unplanned overnight with a kid in tow. This one was really sad- picture a 30 weeks pregnant lady dragging a toddler as fast as she could after the husband who was sprinting ahead to tell them to hold the door (where my GOT fans at!?)! They closed the door. We were on our last two diapers. We’ve all done it…right?
While a quick trip in to the city was out of the question this time (it was Detroit anyway), (kidding, I’m from Michigan, Detroit I love you) we were all able to make the most of it in our own way. Toddler made the most of it by being super-duper excited about another stroll on the moving sidewalk through the colorful tunnel that connects concourse B to concourse C and a ride on a shuttle bus. Husband made the most of it by being super-duper excited about the 30 craft beer options on tap at the hotel restaurant and by squeezing a travel voucher out of the airline. I was super-duper excited to be breathing the air of my home state and to see that one of the craft beer options was from a brewery owned by a guy I went to high school with.
The glass can be half empty or half full. You could cry in to your hotel pillow and call your mom, or at the very least, you could find a nearby restaurant, try some local cuisine, and chalk it up to experience. I choose the latter.