I went to bed late yesterday evening, so when the alarm started going off at 8:15 this morning I didn't initially pay much attention. Then, random snippets of radio news started to appear out of the fog. "Massive storm"… "Flight cancellations"… "New York"… New York?!?! I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to the phone to call Delta. My flight to Nice was scheduled to leave Austin around 1:30pm, connecting through JFK with an hour long layover, and then heading out to Nice. When I finally got through to a Delta agent she seemed perplexed. Cancellations? Bad weather? She hadn't heard about anything like that. Each time I persisted she went back and talked to her supervisor. Each time she came back we had a bit more information but not the complete picture. Finally, after about an hour it became clear that my flight was probably going to be canceled, but that there were no other flights available to Nice. Is there someone else I can talk with? Ah yes, the second level supervisor. This is a weather problem… nothing we can do, he told me patiently. Except for the part that the previous evening I had called Delta after noticing someone had double booked me on another flight to Nice going through Atlanta and Rome. The agent at that time told me that was a remnant of a previous reservation, and quickly cancelled the whole thing, not realizing that someone from the airport had booked me an extra flight just in case the weather turned bad. Now, the next morning I realized that I was, to put it mildly, screwed. Damn.
The second level supervisor agreed that something had gone wrong besides the weather, and kindly offered me a $200 voucher for my troubles, and the next flight out of Dallas the next morning (I live in Austin), flying to Paris with no flight to Nice, meaning I probably wouldn't arrive in Nice until late Tuesday night at the earliest (DATE runs Monday through Friday), barring any other weather or mechanical problems, or the chance I might not be able to get transportation to Nice via train or plane. <sigh> Even after 3.5 hours on the phone I wasn't able to get the agent to so much as look at another airline's schedule. So, after tentatively accepting the new and difficult to catch flight I hung up and immediately went looking for other solutions. Sure enough, there were a couple of other options, including one on Delta if I was willing to find my own way to Houston and pay full unrestricted-last-minute-we-know-you-must-be-screwed-or-you'd-never-pay-this fare to fly Houston to Charles de Gaulle to Nice. Luckily (note heavy sarcasm), it was only $23 extra to extend the ticket to take me all the way to Nice instead of just to Paris. As I'm writing this, it's 9:15pm Sunday evening and I'm sitting in the airport in Houston waiting for my flight to Paris. When it came down to "you're screwed" vs. "you won't be able to go", there wasn't really much choice.
So, why would I go through all this trouble to get to Nice in the first place? Well, many of you will remember the coverage I did for DVCon back in February. Many of you will also have seen my previous mention that I would be attending the Design Automation and Test conference in Europe (DATE). In addition to writing up commentary about the conference here on Cool Verification, I'll also be publishing write-ups of sessions I attend and commentary from my colleagues at Verilab over at the brand-new-never-before-seen Verilab DATE 2007 Blog. Stay with me this week – assuming there won't be any additional problems like there were today (ha!) there should be some good stuff (articles and photos) on both blogs.
By the way, the Verilab DATE 2007 Blog was put together in a weekend using a custom Wordpress installation on Easyspace. A couple of years ago I would have never thought it possible for someone with my limited web programming skills to put something like this together. Take a look and let me know what you think, and definitely let me know if you find any flaws. Also, did I mention that the Verilab DATE 2007 Blog includes a photo from my trip to Nice a couple of years ago? Really, go check it out J. See y'all in Nice!