Six Reasons I'm Thankful for My Six Canceled Flights

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 03, 2017

Thanks, Harvey.  As awful as you were ravaging through Southeast, Texas, basically putting us all under water, I did happen to find some silver linings.  Thanks to you, I was delayed nine days getting to D.C., experienced six canceled flights, and had to push back my internship start date a week.  Southeast, Texas – specifically the Beaumont Area – isn’t the most glorious place with refinery skylines and smelly roadways, but after each flight was canceled, and I was stranded for yet another day, I found countless things to be grateful for.    

Flight #1: Saturday 8/26 – IAH -> DCA
I spent the week prior to my flight to D.C. in Florida catching up with friends that I wouldn’t be seeing for a while after moving to D.C.  By Thursday night, we were fully aware of Harvey and the impact he was going to have on the southeast portion of Texas.  By the time we left Florida on Friday, I was a tad anxious knowing that we were driving home into a hurricane unaware if my flight out Saturday was going to take place.  Turns out, my flight was delayed three hours, but I wasn’t there for takeoff.  Thirty minutes out on our drive to Houston at 4:00am, my parents and I were forced to turn around because of the weather.  I’m grateful I have parents willing to wake up at 4am in order to get me on a flight that all of us knew I probably wasn’t going to get on.

Flight #2: Sunday 8/27 – IAH -> DCA
After getting home from our failed drive to Houston, I made the first of many calls to United Airlines asking to reschedule my flight.  Knowing the stress and amount of calls these United workers were getting because of the hurricane, I was extra grateful for their patience and understanding – oh, and the extra sleep I got after I didn’t make the first flight.  Silver linings, am I right?

Flight #3: Monday 8/28 – IAH -> DCA
Understandably, Sunday’s flight was canceled as Houston was getting pummeled by Harvey at this point.  So I made my second call to United Airlines and had it rescheduled for Monday with the expectation that it wouldn’t fly out.  One of my friends who works in New York was also home for vacation, but clearly was stranded just as I was.  We realized the predicament we were both in – both stuck in small town Groves, TX while we were supposed to be on the east coast starting out new internship and job – and took advantage of it.  Thankful Harvey allowed me to build on a good friendship that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. 

Flight #4: Wednesday 8/30 – IAH -> DCA
After Monday’s flight was canceled, the next available flight was for Wednesday.  At this point, I was rescheduling for every next possible flight out until there were hopes that one would actually make it.  Four days in, there was nothing to do but hang out with family and friends, which of course isn’t a bad thing, especially when you’re about to move miles away.  Harvey let me take advantage of the extra time with close friends and my parents and let us make the most of the town we were stranded in – even if that meant going broke before I even made it to D.C.   
Flight #5: Thursday 8/31 – BPT -> DFW -> DCA
At this point, both airports in Houston were shut down, and I was beginning to worry that flying out of Houston wasn’t an option anymore.  Because of this, my friend who was supposed to be in New York rescheduled a flight with me out of our regional airport with a layover in Dallas.  Harvey hit Beaumont heavy that Tuesday, so by Thursday my friends and I took advantage of the volunteer opportunities around the area.  I was thankful that I was home so that I could help out where I was needed.  Seeing the Southeast, TX community pull together for our own was a heartening experience.  During that week, there were no divisions based on race, color, or sex, and that was incredible to see firsthand.  
Flight #6: Saturday 9/2 – BPT -> DFW -> DCA; IAH -> DCA
Since I had been able to reschedule flights with United for free during that week, I never actually canceled my United flight when I booked with American Airlines out of Beaumont.  When Saturday rolled around, I basically had two flight options for that day.  IAH had reopened, but my parents weren’t quite willing to drive to Houston again just yet, so that option was out.  Moreover, the Beaumont airport had been shut down until Monday, given that the airport was turned into a shelter and military base. Both flights for Saturday were a no-go.  On Sunday, there was talk that the roads to Houston were cleared up and getting to the Airport shouldn’t be an issue anymore.  My friend and I canceled our flights out of Beaumont, received a full refund, and rescheduled our Houston flight for Labor Day.  At this point, getting to D.C. actually seemed plausible.  That Sunday during brunch with my parents, the sun was shining, and again I was thankful for all their help and the extra time I got with family and friends. 

Flight #7: Monday 9/4 – IAH -> DFW -> DCA
I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!  On Monday, my parents drove my friend and I to Houston for our flight.  Everything went smoothly, and we both made it to New York and D.C. in one piece.  I was thankful for not having to fly alone for at least half of the trip that day.  Amongst other things, I was grateful for the extra nine days Harvey gave me, the friends I was stranded with, the safety of the people close to me, and all the good food and beer, despite the pounds that were gained.  Thanks, Harvey.

Sarah Lamson
Washington Partners, LLC
Washington, D.C. | fall 2017