Making the Most of Stand-by Travel Problems

In the past four days, my two young daughters and I have been in Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Herndon (VA), Cincinnati, and back home.  Our intention was to fly with my husband to Boston for one night and return the next morning, accompanied by the girls’ uncle and cousin.

It was the first time the girls had flown on an airplane that their Dad was actually flying.  We made it to Boston on his flight without a hitch.  However, returning home didn’t go as planned.  Though his flight was showing over 30 empty seats the day before, it was oversold by the time we made it to the airport at 5:00 that morning, due to multiple flight cancellations.  We ran over to another gate and got on a flight to Washington Dulles airport, hoping that maybe we’d have an easier time getting to Chicago from there.  When we arrived in D.C., we discovered that getting to Chicago flying stand-by was impossible.

We acknowledged the point of the trip was actually to visit with the girls’ uncle and cousin, so we decided we could do that just as well in one city versus another.  We checked into a hotel not too far from the airport.  We went to the Smithsonian Institute Air and Space Museum, went out to eat, went swimming, and saw a movie.  The cousins had a great time together, and we created some great memories.

Yesterday, we went our separate ways.  They flew back to Boston, and we attempted to fly to Chicago once more.  Unfortunately, loads were still ugly.  We ended up flying to Cincinnati, and we were able to catch a connecting flight to Chicago.  It’s good to be home, but we managed to have a good time, despite the stand-by travel problems.


  1. They took it all in stride. At one point, we had to run to another terminal to try for a flight that was leaving shortly, and I told them, “Okay girls, we have to go down this escalator and catch a train to get to the next gate.”

    My seven-year-old replied, “An escalator, a train, and a plane? This is the best day ever!”

    She even had to sit by herself on two flights and was very proud to exercise her independence.


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