As far as I’m concerned, my trip’s adventure begins the second I arrive at the airport. There’s just something about being in a bustling airport, especially in Las Vegas with its rows of (usually occupied no matter the time of day) slot machines, that makes me feel like anything is possible. And hey, it usually is. But sometimes, you end up spending a bit more time in transit than you’d like. After years and years of tears and calls to Mom and lost luggage and who knows what else, I’ve accepted that when you travel as much as I do, these things happen.
So when my Buenos Aires travel buddy, Kirsten, (this is us in Argentina after a good night’s rest) and I got stuck with a whopping 24 hours in the Atlanta airport, we took it in stride.
Hey, we hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so anything we did would’ve been fun. And what’s not to love about a surprise stay at the local Comfort Inn? Argentina could wait!
The original plan
Kirsten leaves for Atlanta from Charlotte very late-night Monday night and waits all day for me in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, I catch a noon flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta.
We meet in Atlanta, eat a nice dinner, and get a good night’s sleep on the overnight flight to Buenos Aires.
Arrive in Argentina fresh and ready-to-go.
What ended up happening
Almost to Atlanta, I glanced up at the little airplane flying across the moving map on my individual screen and to my absolute surprise, it was doing a U-turn. I looked up, as two flight attendants were rushing to their seats, the pilot’s voice crackling over the speaker: “Please sit down, everybody. We have a radar malfunction and will be landing in Memphis.”
After a few hours sitting on the Memphis runway, we do finally take off again and land in Atlanta… An hour after our flight took off for Argentina. Kirsten waited for me (such a good friend!), so I tore through the terminals on the search for a) my travel buddy b) food (12 hours of traveling, and all I’d had was a tiny bag of pretzels) and c) the Delta counter to figure out where we’d be sleeping.
Did you know that the Atlanta airport all but shuts down by nine pm? I raced to my favorite hotspot, One Flew South, where I’ve spent many too many hours to count. As always, the bartender turned out to be a saint. The kitchen was closed, but they’d make me some sushi and Kirsten some plain rice. Saved! I ran to get Kirsten, ran back to the bar, ate, took down some wine… all while eyeing the Delta counter. God help us if that closed on us, too.
Within an hour, we’d bought cheesy Atlanta T-shirts to sleep in (us, modeling them above) and were on our shuttle to the super-posh, luxurious … Comfort Inn. And lucky for us, its La Fiesta Mexican restaurant was open until 10:30! We’ve never laughed so hard, drinking awful margaritas in our ridiculous Atlanta T-shirts.
Delta gave me $18 worth of food vouchers for 24 hours, which amounted to exactly one round of white wine the next evening back at One Flew South.
Thirty-six hours later, both travelers and sets of luggage arrived safe and sound in Buenos Aires, the real adventure about to begin!
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