Always have a plan b... or in our case maybe c, d, e, and f too.
Nora was meeting the three nursing majors (Gen, Joy, and Cassie) at Terminal two at the O'hare airport where the four of them were catching a 10:30am flight to Toronto. Jen and I were on a later flight leaving Terminal One at 10:50 am. The six of us would meet up in Toronto and from there we would fly to Brussels and from Brussels to Entebbe. We all made it to O'Hare... and that is where the plan fell apart.
Nora, Gen, Cassie, and Joy's flight was delayed for three hours. The new plan was for Jen and I to find our Terminal in Toronto and wait to board the plane until the other four girls arrived. It would be close, but they should still be able to make it in time. Little did we know... Our flight from Toronto to Brussels made a stop in Montreal for half the plane to de-board and new passengers to get on and fly the remaining way to Brussels. Since the flight makes a stop in Montreal it was considered a domestic flight. Apparently when you fly domestically in through Toronto, you must pick up the bags you checked and re-check them through customs on the way to your terminal. No one told us this until we tried to make it through security without our bags. Jen and I went to find our bags, but they weren't there. after talking to the attendants at the United counter we were informed for the first time that day that our luggage might not make it to the next flight. The woman with United said there was a possibility that our bags had been pushed through and after making a few phone calls she sent us on our way without the bags. Once we got to our gate, Jen and I were all business talking to the attendants about how our friends were coming, they would be here right before the flight took off, etc... eventually we were informed that because the other four girls had to pick up their bags and send them through customs also they would miss this flight as well.
The attendant assured us that the other four girls would be put on a 5:30pm flight to Montreal and they would ahve plenty of time to Join us there and fly to Brussels and then onto Entebbe with us. He also kindly informed us that because we would not have our luggage because we had not picked it up and we might not get it for two weeks. So Jen and I, the two least experienced flyers were headed enroute to Montreal sitting twenty rows apart on opposite sides of the plane.
The other girls never made it to Montreal. Instead they were re-routed to London, but we no longer have any communication with them. The new plan' Jen and I continue on to Brussels and to Entebbe and hopefully meet the girls when they reach the aiport. At Montreal, we all had to get off the plane and wait in the airport for about an hour. This gave Jen and I enough time to finagle two seats next to eachother. After getting back on we waited on the airplane for half an hour before the pilot announced there were mechanincal difficulties, two words you never want to hear before you are about to embark on a seven hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean. You also don't want to see people feeling the back wall of the plane because it's hot. An hour later the issue was fixed and we should have been on our way... except now it was storming. After waiting another thrity minutes our plane finally took off. Total delay time; two hours. Anticipated arrival time: 11:05am Antipated departure time from Brussels to Entebbe: 10:40 am... Needless to say we never made that flight! Another fun fact: Jen and I had no idea what language they speak in Brussels. As far as we could tell they spoke French, wrote in German, and sometimes translated to English.
Over half the plane had missed their connection flight so luckily there were attendants at the gate as soon we arrived in Brussels to give us our new itinerary. The new plan was a three hour layover in Brussels before flying to Cairo, Egypt and from there on to Entebbe. The air line also gave us a meal voucher so we grabbed lunch and made friends with a man from Texas who let us borrow his cellphone to call home. Fun fact about Brussels: They don't post your gate until 45 minutes before departure time. As soon as they did Jen and I made a mad dash to get real boarding passes and get adjacent seats. Only they wouldn't let us on the plane!... Form the snippets of English we understood it had something to do with the fact that they didn't for sure book us a flight from Cairo to Entebbe and they wouldn't let us go to Cairo unless that flight was booked. Finally, after everyone else was already boarded someone else came along and told Jen and I, along with three other passengers that surprise surprise, our luggage had not made it on to the new flight. We finally convinced the attendant to let us go without our luggage and were given instructions that all five of us passengers should stick together and ask for Muhammad, once we reached Egypt. Once in Egypt we talked to the gentleman named Muhammad, were whisked to the front of security and made it to gate with time to spare. Jen and I were finally on our way to Entebbe.. the only problem, we have no idea who is picking us up from the airport, if the other four girls have arrived and if we will be able to find them, and what the name of our hotel is, but at least we will finally get there.
We arrive in Entebbe at 3:35 am, make it through customs, get a Visa, and fill out a baggage claim because guess what?... We have no luggage. I have never been so happy to see someone with a sign that says Sara and St. Mary's even if they did spell my name wrong. We checked into the Central Inn and 5:30 am and no the other girls haven't arrived yet.
Things I am currently without: shampoo, sunscreen, bugspray, my running shoes and socks and almost one hundred pounds of supplies for the school.