Ok so here I am in Chicago finally. Well yesterday was an experience - here's the story.

10:00 am - LA
I wake up in my hotel room. My head is telling me that that last pint of snakebite last night was probably a mistake. I turn on the TV and check my flight times. My flight is on schedule but there is a warning that flights to Chicago may experience delays due to weather. I don't pay much attention.

11:10 am - LA
I arrive at the check-in line and am dismayed by its length. I have to be checked in 20 minutes before departure and my flight leaves at 11:35. I resign myself to missing the flight and going on stand by, but when I get to the top of the line they tell me the flight has been delayed until 12:00 so I will be able to make it after all. Foolishly I think this is a good thing

11:50 am - LA
I board flight 1560 to Chicago

11:55 am - LA
I get off flight 1560 to Chicago. We have been told that due to bad weather in Chicago all inbound flights are grounded until further notice. We are asked to wait in the terminal. We are told it shouldnt be too long

2:30 pm - LA
I board flight 1560 to Chicago. We leave the gate and taxi out to the runway. The Captain comes on the PA and explains that we have been grounded again due to bad weather in Chicago. He explains that although it will be uncomfortable we will wait on the plane since it is not expected to take too long

5:30 pm - LA
We finally take off for Chicago

8:30 pm - mid-air
The captain tells us that due to bad weather in Chicago we have been diverted to Minneapolis

9:00 pm ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
We touch down in Minneapolis. The captain tells us that all gates are full so we will have to wait for a gate.

9:30 pm ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
We get a gate. We are given a 1800 number to call to book a new flight to Chicago. We are told that usually we would be put up in a hotel until our flight leaves, but apparently all hotels in Minneapolis are fully booked. We are invited to take the little pillows from the plane with us since we will probably have to sleep in the terminal.

9:45 pm ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
I finally find a free phone and ring the 1800 number. All flights to Chicago are fully booked until 11:30 am the next day. This is a problem since the course I am teaching in Chicago starts at 7:30 am. I book myself on that flight anyway since its the best option at present. I go and collect my luggage from the carousel

10:30 pm ( LA time ) = Minneapolis
I go back to the arrival gate. There doesn't seem much else to do. When I get there there is only only 10 people left and we all have reasons that we need to get to Chicago tonight. I have no idea where everyone else went.

11:00 pm ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
The gate is manned by some very stressed people. They are having to deal with flights from all over that have been diverted here. We have latched on to one lady in particular who is trying to get us to Chicago. She is doing a great job - at times she is one three separate phone calls and the radio at once. She is very thirsty but has run out of water. I go and buy her a bottle of evian from a vending machine. She deserved it.

11:30 pm ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
Our gate lady tells us she may be able to get us on a flight that has been diverted here but which will now be continuing on to Chicago. She tells us not to go anywhere.

12:00 am ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
The flight arrives but it turns out there was a miscalculation and the plane is overloaded for the amount of fuel they have left. She ends up actually having to take people off the plane.

12:30 am ( LA time ) - Minneapolis
Out gate lady finds another flight from Montreal that has some spare seats. We board. This plane has also been trying to get to chicago for the last 12 hours and they have run out of refreshments. I am beyond caring

03:30 am ( Chicago time ) - Chicago
We touch down in Chicago. The flight attendant tells us he is almost moved to tears to be able to say 'Welcome to Chicago'. There are people asleep on the luggage carousel. I guess its as hard to get out of Chicago today as it was to get in. I ring for a limo. They say they will be there in 20 minutes.

03:40 am - Chicago
I am sitting slumped on my suitcase with my akubra in my hand gazing hopefully at every limo that goes past. I notice a guy taking photographs of me. He comes over and tells me he is from some Chigaco newspaper and that they are doing a 24 hours at O'Hare airport special. He asks me how my traveling has been. I tell him. I tell him in explicit detail.

05:00 am - St Charles
Only 14 hours late, I arrive at the centre where preparation for the class I am to teach starts at 7:30. And to think I complained about a 3 hour delay in Melbourne

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