We all end up there, eventually, whether at Travis, BWI, Hickam, Norfolk, or, most infamously, that psych ward hellhole that is Ramstein AMC terminal in summer…
Day 5 of attempted travel.
Things were looking great, at last: a promising number of seats available on the flight we want, going exactly where we need to go. And only about 40 other folks (We’ve counted! Ten times!) of the 1000 or so in the terminal are marked present for “our” flight. We’re near the top of the Cat 6 list!
Then, it happens. Some Active Duty Cat 3 person walks in, 2 minutes before roll call, with his 249 dependents, and bumps everyone else off the plane. DAMN IT!
Okay, maybe NOT 249 dependents (It was 237, honest!) but, still…DAMN IT!
Conditions in the terminal suddenly become critical.
This is where the courageous Cat 6 traveler has to dig deep into her trusty bag of additional options and do some on-the-fly calculations – perhaps even consider alternative medicine. Is there another flight forecast over the next 72 hours? Are there any flights going in the general direction we need to go? How much money are we willing to expend on lodging and food while waiting around for a flight? Does a commercial ticket to our destination pencil out better than continuing to wait and hope and pray and curse, and perhaps face foreign prison time for manslaughter? Are we desperate enough to spend a gazillion hours on a C 130?
Ideally, all these questions and possible permutations have been taken into account ahead of time, and plans B through G or H are already waiting to get put into action.
So, pick an option, and don’t look back. No matter what! Things are bad enough today without chancing being turned into a pillar of salt and never getting anywhere!
And, try to remember: no matter how tired, cranky, frustrated, upset, or borderline murderous we are feeling, that Cat 3 person has a very limited leave window with which to utilize space a travel (especially coordinating with 237 dependents!). Still serving, Cat 3 does not have the leisure to practically live in the *!~#!&@! terminal like we do, and absolutely deserves to take advantage of their higher priority whenever they can.
So, try to chill. Read a book, relax in the USO, commiserate with your fellow passengers, offer to help that poor harried Mom with the screaming kids instead of giving her the stink eye! And, when I’m stuck at Ramstein, I find it never hurts to wander over to KMCC, to the Wasgau, for something fluffy and flaky and chocolatey and creamy (preferably all whipped together in one luscious confection) to drown my sorrows. Even when conditions are grave, chocolate and sugar are just the medicine to soothe the savage traveler in me. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…Yummmmmmmmmm!