Our original plan was to fly to Washington, DC and spend the night there. The next morning, we were to take Amtrak to New York so Scott could be the best man in a wedding. We planned to spend the night there, then take Amtrak back to DC the following morning so that Scott could present at a conference. We would then have a day free of obligations in DC, then get back on a plane to Kazakhstan the following evening. It was going to be a tight timeframe under the best of circumstances. (Special note to any DC-area friends who may be reading this: We would love to see you next time we're in the area without such a tight schedule encumbering us!).
Anyone who has traveled anywhere on a plane recently probably knows where I'm going with this.
Along with a colleague who was flying to the US for a conference, we headed to the Astana airport around 3 AM, after having pretty much stayed up that night. Then, when it was close to time to board the flight, we got the dreaded announcement that our flight was cancelled. No reason was given--it was just cancelled.
This set off hours of miserable circumstances, including having to collect stamped pieces of paper we had handed in upon going through passport control, standing in line for four hours waiting to see if we could be rebooked, and being accosted by a nutty stranger in the women's restroom (true story, by the way). We were ultimately rebooked on an evening flight that was routed through Almaty initially. That leg of the flight provided plenty of worries that are another story for another day.
We ultimately made it to the US more than 24 hours after we had originally planned, but couldn't make it to the wedding, which was so disappointing for us. On the other hand, we did make it to the conference, which didn't seem like a sure thing while we were waiting in line for four hours to be rebooked. So, at least we can claim a partial success. I'm glad our next trip to the US will be longer than a few days so that airline shenanigans (probably) won't ruin too much.
Oh, and a public service announcement: hold on to your boarding passes until you're completely done with your trip. Our "rebooking" went so badly that not only was our trip back to Kazakhstan cancelled, but there was no record that we had actually traveled from Frankfurt to DC. A very helpful agent assisted us in DC, but she needed the ticket numbers from our boarding passes as "proof" that we had flown from Frankfurt to DC in order to reissue us tickets for the way back. There is a rather large part of me that wouldn't have been sorry to be have been stuck in DC for a while longer, but job responsibilities called, and in the end, it was probably better to get back here on schedule.