BLOG: Super Bowl travel day - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: Super Bowl travel day

(Molly Grantham | WBTV) (Molly Grantham | WBTV)

Travel Day.

Leisurely it was not. At least not in the beginning. Delano and Nate left on a flight before Paul, Kristen, Sarah-Blake and me. As the four of us checked in at Charlotte-Douglas, the super kind Delta agent checked our layover in Atlanta.

“You know your plane in Atlanta boards before you even land?” she asked.

No. We didn’t.

She clicks a few more buttons.

“Hmmmm.. and you get in at Gate B something and take off at Gate E something. I hate to tell you guys – especially because you’re my favorite news channel (she really said that) – but you aren’t going to make that flight.”


“But here…” a click of a few more buttons. “Here’s an idea. Run now. Go fast. You’re checking in early enough in Charlotte to maybe catch the earlier flight to Atlanta. Get to Gate A23. Go! Tell that agent you're trying to fly earlier to save a missed connection. See if they have four seats. Go! Your luggage still probably won’t make it but there’s a chance you guys can.”

So Kristen and Sarah-Blake with their gear and cameras that can’t be checked, and Paul and I with the extra bags so no one had more than 2 carry-ons, breeze through security and run to Gate A23.  We are in time. We all four get re-booked.

We board, breathing easy.  Happy to have avoided Obstacle #1 in #SB50-Or-Bust.

Then we sit on the tarmac until ten minutes before our original plane would’ve taken off anyway. Flying when you know you have to run the second you land is a terrible feeling.

Luckily the pilot made up time in the air.

We didn’t have to run through Hartsfield. In fact, we had a few minutes to spare. We all picked up sandwiches to eat on the plane.

I remember flying long trips years ago dreading the fact there was nothing to do while on the plane but sit. Especially cross-country flights. They were the worst – five hours with no contact or free technology or the ability to go and gab and be active and check things off the never quiet mental to-do list. Those trips were awful.

Oh, how having kids changes that.  Oh, how glorious it is to sit five hours on a plane with nowhere to go, nothing to do and not one person needing your help.

Never have I been so relaxed as I was about an hour into our flight. We were over Alabama, and I realized it had been 60-minutes and not one soul asked me to take them potty. I hadn’t had to cut up anyone’s food. My ears didn’t have to hear a made-up story about Anna or Elsa or Cinderella or answer why Rapunzel never had a haircut.

Work-wise, I wasn’t on email. No new messages. No “urgent” response needed. I was dark. Out of orbit. Unavailable and offline for a totally justifiable reason.

Sarah-Blake watched movies and reviewed our plans for Thursday and Friday (she and I are working together). Paul listened to cool rock music, looked up facts about "The Who" and bought wi-fi to text his daughter. Kristen tracked our journey on the digital map through the screen in front of her seat and studied all the stats on altitude and speed (it was pretty cool).

I did two Sodokus, a crossword, started reading a book just for fun and relished in the fact no one was talking.

The next five days might be one of the most hectic work trips ever, with non-stop everything, little sleep and constant time zone struggles for live TV. And yet, at least for a five-hour plane ride surrounded by friends, it felt like a mini-vacation.

No one needed anything from me.

When we landed overhead lights came on. People stretched and started to chat. Minds began working once-again in checklist mode: Debark plane, get bags, rent cars, drive to hotel, check in, meet with Delano and Nate, have our late-night midnight meeting before tomorrow’s blizzard of reports and social media begins.

(Kristen might not even get to sleep at all because she’s live on the WBTV News morning show.)

But we can tackle it. No worries. All of us just had five hours of quiet. We’re all feeling good as we walk towards baggage claim.

Once there…. nothing. As in we see absolutely nothing we recognize. Our luggage didn’t make it. Not one bag for any of us.

So here we are in California with nothing except for whatever we had in our carry-ons. For me, that’s a book, my laptop, a binder full of WBTV expectations and 2,894 of Kristen’s granola bars she shoved in my carry-on to hold for her.

And so I write this post from the dirty floor of San Francisco baggage claim, on a laptop plugged in to an outlet next to conveyor belt, with a half-eaten granola bar beside me.

Apparently our bags are arriving sometime after midnight. Sarah-Blake and I volunteered to stick here and pick them all up so Kristen and Paul could go to the hotel, meet up with Delano and Nate and maybe get a little sleep before morning show time.

But honestly, Sarah-Blake and I are sitting here laughing. We figure we have to. Attitude is everything when it comes to pushing through unforeseen obstacles.

Plus, you know what they say. #KeepPounding.

- Molly

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