Thursday, January 8th started off with everyone who was going on the trip, meeting up at 7:30am at Kansas City International Airport, as scheduled. We proceeded to go through security without major problems and everyone got to the gate around 8:30am.
Our plane wasn’t supposed to leave until 10:15, but then we were informed that our flight would be delayed until 11:30 due to a vehicle that helps move the plane to the runway getting frozen to the plane due to the severe temperatures in Chicago. Once the plane finally arrived we all boarded for our short flight to Chicago.
We arrived in Chicago around 12:45 and our flight to Frankfurt, Germany was scheduled to leave at 1:15. When we got to our gate we saw that our flight to Frankfurt had been delayed 20 minutes. By that time all of us thought “What could 20 more minutes hurt?”. Everyone grabbed a bite to eat and we waited. Well that 20 minutes turned into 7 hours!!! First we found out that a back up radio on our plane wasn’t working so it had to be replaced before we left. The aircraft maintenance had to remove a radio from another plane to put on our plane which they told us would only take 40 minutes. They kept postponing the time until around 3:30 when they started to board us. Once everyone was boarded and ready to go, the maintenance crew found something else wrong with the plane.
All of the passengers sat on the plane waiting to leave until 6 when they told us the problem couldn’t be fixed with us on board so they had all passengers leave the plane. Then they told us that if your final destination wasn’t Frankfurt then you had to find another plane to board. Up until then everyone had tolerated the delays but once we heard we had to find another aircraft altogether…people started getting mad. Mr. Hopkins was on the phone with the airlines, two other chaperones were in the customer service line that was a mile long, and Dr. Norris was trying to keep the students positive even though everyone was at their wit’s end. The airline gave everyone a $7.00 food voucher until we figured out what to do. Since we had this huge delay, we would be missing our connecting flight to Poland. Dr. Norris called and got a connecting flight to wait for us once we finally arrived in Germany.
The same plane finally started to board passengers again at 7:15. We finally pulled out of O’Hare airport around 8;30 pm. After a long 8 hour flight we arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at 11:30 am. We then waited for our connecting flight to Poland that left at 4:30.
Finally, around 6;30 we arrived in Krakow, breezed through customs, boarded our awesome double-decker tour bus and zoomed off to the long-awaited hotel in the Old City where we could get dinner and finally sleep.
After dinner, everyone felt better and are enthusiastic again about the trip- once we get a good night’s sleep, that is! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring! Hopefully more smiles and fewer problems!