For starters, our flight from Cairo to Amsterdam was delayed, due to the plane not having arrived from Amsterdam yet. We weren't too worried - it was only delayed an hour and we had a three hour layover in Amsterdam so we should still make our connection. We were extremely sleepy though, having stayed up all night. Fortunately we got about 3 or 4 hours of sleep on the plane when we finally left.
Coming in to Amterdam we could see there was a lot of snow. It looked really pretty at the time, and weather hardly ever affects trans-Atlantic flights. But it was snowing a lot...
First we were delayed an hour. Then another hour. Then the flight was pushed back to 4:00 (we were supposed to leave at 11:30). There was some confusion about the gate, and all the people waiting for the Chicago flight ran to the other side of the airport when they announced a new gate. Then we were delayed until 6:00. That time came and went. By 6:30 they hadn't officially cancelled the flight, but they hadn't given us a new time either. Finally around 7pm the flight was cancelled. We were officially stuck in Amsterdam.
Unfortunately we were stuck with hundreds of other people whose flights had been cancelled too. The lines leading to the transfer desks (where you had to go to get on another flight) were about a quarter of a mile long and not moving. Dylan and I tried everything else first - we were told to call and to try changing our ticket online. But when we got a phone card we just got a message sayign there were too many calls right now and could we try again later? The internet was no help either, so we joined the queue at about 7:30pm.
We stayed there all night. The transfer desks closed at about 9pm, but everyone stayed in line to wait for them to open again at 6:00am. Once the line stopped moving everyone settled down, laying or sitting on their bags, covering up with a scarf or whatever was on hand and trying to sleep. It was COLD on the tile floor. People who weren't in line would walk past staring at us, or taking pictures of all these people sleeping on the floor. All the chairs and sitting areas were full too. People were sleeping everywhere.
They came down the line once or twice with some donut like things we could eat, and we all got free water bottles. Dylan went to try the phone every hour or so, but no luck. We had emailed back and forth with my mom and dad who were waiting for us in Chicago, but they couldn't do anything either. It seemed pretty hopeless, and we figured we'd be lucky to get out of Amsterdam by Sunday.
Morning came, the transfer desks opened, and we started moving. Just as we came in sight of the desks at the end, KLM staff came down the line telling everyone to go to the gate to get a boarding pass rather than standing in the transfer line. Could they gurantee that we would get a boarding pass if we went to the gate? No... Well, we're not getting out of this line that we've waited in for 12 hours then are we???
Fortunately, Dylan and I could divide and conquer. So he stayed in the transfer line while I went to the gate to wait. Long story short, we ended up getting boarding passes for the 11:35 flight to Chicago - same one, but a day later. YAY!
Then the flight was delayed. And it started looking whiter outside. And they made an announcement about equipment difficulties. Oh no... We did eventually take off though. I've never been so happy to start a 9 hour plane ride as I was then. I fell asleep immediately.
9 hours later we arrived in Chicago, where the weather was clear and cold. It was SO exciting to actually arrive! We ran to the passport control line, the sooner to get through and collect our luggage. HOWEVER...
Due to our extended stay in Egypt, we were asked to submit to an additional interview before being allowed into the country. We were led into a waiting room where about 20 other people (mostly middle eastern and eastern european) were already waiting. I almost cried. We waited maybe 20 minutes, then had to answer a bunch of questions about why we lived in Egypt and what we do there and why Dylan's family is there and how we paid for our trip to the States, etc. In the end, they let us in.
But really, after a trip like that would you expect your baggage to arrive? No. And it didn't. So we stood in the line for lost baggage (which was quite long). We spotted Dad waiting for us on the other side of the glass doors, but we simply held up our empty hands and turned back to the line. Half an hour later, we filled out a form and crossed our fingers that our bags would actually reach us in Indiana. (They're still not here...)
FINALLY, we got to greet mom and dad and head out of the airport! In spite of ti being late, we followed our original plan of going to India Palace for dinner on our way home (best Indian restaurant in the midwest - if you're ever near Wheaton, you should go). The food was delicious. We piled back into the car to drive to Fort Wayne, and finally arrived home at 1:30am (Chicago time).
Wow. Ironically, my brother was also delayed on his way home, getting stuck in Detroit for a few hours. As of now, we're all safe at home. Dylan and I dug into some of the boxes we left with my parents to find clothes. HOPEFULLY our bags will turn up today or tomorrow at the latest.
One of Abby's options for a college essay was about adventures. Something like, "an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." Well, we had some adventure!