We woke up this morning to blowing snow and lots of wind, poor visibility, and a big question mark about whether we would be flying anywhere today. Off to the airport at 9 AM to join the throngs of people waiting to see what our four planes would do. As so often happens, the sun came up and the runway got cleared off and the planes got de-iced and all was well with the world. We got our boarding passes and were told we had a connecting flight to Seattle at 6:40 PM but no flight to Portland. Oh well, we figured we could do something about that later, as long as we could get out of Unalaska! Rich had already started entertaining the idea of driving from Seattle to Oregon anyway. We were on the second plane to take off, around 1:30 PM.
Approaching Anchorage, the flight attendant pointed out Mt. Redoubt, which had begun to erupt a bit again, but we were told the ash was blowing away from Anchorage so we were fine. All of the passengers were crowding around the windows and taking photos as we flew past.
Pretty cool, huh?
So we get to the Anchorage airport and note that our 6:40 flight has been changed to 7:55. Still no worries as we make our way through Security, buy some magazines, and drop in at Chili's to have some supper. Sitting at our table, we start overhearing people talking about their flights being cancelled. Rich checks the board a couple of times and our flight is still on. Eventually our waitress tells us that all flights are cancelled and they are closing down and going home. What?
Yes, unfortunately it is true. Now we have to find our bags amongst the hundreds of bags being lined up against the walls, find a hotel, and see if we can get a flight for tomorrow. The Alaska Air "Customer Service" folks tell us they are closing and there's nothing they can do so we should call the 800 number and see if we can get re-booked. (So much for customer service).
Rich got us a room while I spent 30 minutes on hold with AK Air. We were told the only flight available tomorrow was through Juneau so we took it. We have an 8 AM flight, a 4 hour layover in Juneau, and then are on what's called the "milk run" to Ketchikan and Wrangell, dropping off supplies, before heading for Seattle. We will be having big fun for 12 hours and arriving in Seattle at 8:45 PM. Woo-hoo! We can't wait!
I commented that I wish we had known earlier that we'd be cancelled so we could have gone out to a nice dinner somewhere other than Chili's at the airport. We soothed ourselves by calling room service for some chocolate "moose" (yes, see the antlers?) and bread pudding. Not to be whiny, but Rich makes much better desserts. :) Actually, we first tried to go to the hotel gift shop to buy a snack there and avoid the huge cost of room service. However-get this-the gift shop was closed "due to ash fall." Now, I am not sure how much ash fall was getting into the hotel lobby but it was a good excuse for going home early, if nothing else.
Our shuttle driver was wearing a mask and we heard that the hotel is giving them out to anyone who wants one. I did have some grit in my mouth upon arrival so I don't doubt that it's coming down. It's dangerous stuff and I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in it.
Luckily, we are both in good spirits and just laughing the whole thing off. What else can ya do? Who knows what tomorrow will bring and I halfway expect our morning flight to be cancelled. Rich promises to take photos of Ketchikan and Wrangell, at least from the air. I don't think we are allowed to get off.
Sweet dreams, everyone.