GET ME HOME!!!
December 19, 2009 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I WANT TO GET HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Hive-mind, we need your help!

My partner and I are stuck in Philadelphia, and would like to get home to our respective momma's before Christmas. Please help us find ways to do this!

She needs to get to Cincinnati, and I to Atlanta.

We can travel from anywhere within train distance. Baltimore, DC, New York, Harrisburg...
Driving is not an option.

Any ideas are welcome!
posted by chicago2penn to Travel & Transportation (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm actually stuck in Philadelphia too. The snow is letting up about daybreak tomorrow, why not just fly from here then?
posted by poorlydrawnplato at 7:43 PM on December 19, 2009


Yeah, I was going to suggest flying, too. You should be able to get tickets out before Christmas.
posted by 6550 at 7:44 PM on December 19, 2009


Delta won't let me get out until Wednesday. Her until Christmas.
posted by chicago2penn at 7:46 PM on December 19, 2009


greyhound, if you mean driving as in you getting behind the wheel, and not going by road
posted by Salvatorparadise at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2009


Yeah, is there something missing from the question? It's only 12/19... You'll be able to fly out of Philly in the next few days.
posted by amro at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Try another airline? Fly out of Newark or Atlantic City or Baltimore or Washington or Pittsburgh?
posted by amro at 7:50 PM on December 19, 2009


Why won't they fly into Cincinnati? I just flew into Cincinnati, no lie, four hours ago. On Delta, fwiw.

Philly isn't that bad of a drive, I know you said no driving, but, realistically, if the airline isn't going to budge, she won't have that bad of a drive, I've done it by myself three times.
posted by banannafish at 7:59 PM on December 19, 2009


Delta won't let me get out until Wednesday. Her until Christmas.

So is buying a *New* ticket out of the question? Orbitz says that there are plenty of one-way flights available to those destinations from PHL. Train to EWR, BWI, IAD, or DCA should expose plenty more options.

No Flights? CVG and ATL are 9+ and 12+ hours respectively by car.
posted by stew560 at 7:59 PM on December 19, 2009


banannafish, the problem is not cinci or atl, but philly. the east coast has shut down.

delta will give me a flight on monday or tuesday for the low-low fee of about a grand extra. they are basically shut down. all airlines have to deal with hundreds of cancelled flights, plus already scheduled flights for the next few days.

driving isn't an option, since she has no license, and i have no car. even if i rented a car, i wouldn't want to drive through a blizzard in the mountains in an unfamiliar car.

other cities are an option... what will the weather be like tomorrow in baltimore?
posted by chicago2penn at 8:06 PM on December 19, 2009


Baltimore weather.
posted by 6550 at 8:22 PM on December 19, 2009


I see one-way tickets for PHL-ATL on US Airways: starting from $129 on 12/20 (almost sold out), starting from $167 on 12/21, and starting from $205 on 12/22, all non-stop.

I see one-way tickets for PHL-CVG on US Airways: starting from $221 on 12/20, starting from $221 on 12/21, and starting from $249 on 12/22, all non-stop.

I see one-way tickets from PHL-ATL on AirTran: starting from $167 on 12/21 and starting from $205 on 12/22.

Seems like a small price to pay to get home before Christmas.

(Just remember that skipping ditching a leg on any itinerary often voids the rest of that booking. So if you skip your Delta flight out of Philadelphia, your booking back to Philadelphia is no good unless you booked it separately. Of course, you have a better chance of getting them to waive that rule considering the circumstances, but don't guarantee on it.)
posted by SpringAquifer at 8:24 PM on December 19, 2009


We can travel from anywhere within train distance.

Why not just take a train the whole way? If the trains are running regionally then I don't see why you can't take Amtrak the whole way.
posted by enn at 8:29 PM on December 19, 2009


Why not just take a train the whole way? If the trains are running regionally then I don't see why you can't take Amtrak the whole way.

I already checked this one when I saw the question, and the Baltimore to Cincinnati train Sunday looks sold out. After that, if the weather does not interfere, the next option would leave Baltimore at 9 Wednesday morning and arrive in Cincinnati at 1:30 Thursday morning, except Amtrak does not run on time so it's probably more 4-6 am Thursday.

All the Baltimore-Atlanta trains are showing sold out right now through Christmas.
posted by dilettante at 8:57 PM on December 19, 2009


Hi. I'm the girlfriend.


Currently, I am unable to rebook my ticket through the Delta website -- the earliest flight they will allow me to choose doesn't get me to Cincinnati until 5 PM on Christmas. The website is offering me rebookings as early as Wednesday, but when I click on them, I get an error message. I've been trying to call Delta for hours, but all I've gotten is a busy signal.


One option would be to buy a $220 non-refundable ticket from US Airways leaving Philly tomorrow evening. However, I am loath to do this because Delta has already canceled their flights from PHL tomorrow, and I don't want to be another $200 in the hole if US Air decides to cancel, too.


Amtrak is all sold out.


Is my best bet to gird my loins and buy the US Airways ticket, or should I keep trying to get through to Delta and somehow talk them into putting me on an earlier flight? They're selling tickets for Monday ( NOT through the rebooking page) , but they're $872. Is it even reasonable to think they'd put me on this earlier flight if I called them and asked me to, without charging me an arm and a leg?
posted by coppermoss at 9:04 PM on December 19, 2009


have you tried craigslist to find a lift?
posted by Frasermoo at 9:21 PM on December 19, 2009


Honestly, from the looks of what's outside, it's stopped snowing. I would just wait until tomorrow to figure out your possibilities. Waiting until Wednesday is inconvenient, but I would just wait it out and try to be as kind and nice to the airline people (catch more flies with honey, you know?), and they'll probably try their best to help you out. Stuff like this happens, even in America.

I heard the National Guard had to get stranded motorists off the road in Virginia and put them in shelters. I would check on the actual situation before hitching a ride anywhere. Getting to Cincy via car ought to be a better bet.
posted by anniecat at 9:30 PM on December 19, 2009


Greyhound, greyhound, greyhound. They go everywhere, and yeah, they'll be crowded, but they'll get you through a snowstorm. No need to book ahead, they will put on more buses if there are too many people, and as bad as a bus station can be, it's never as crazy as an airport. I've gone Greyhound out of NYC on Dec 22, and it was just fine.

Besides, buses are better for the environment -- and cheap. I love trains too -- but in North America they don't have the coverage or price of buses.
posted by jb at 10:23 PM on December 19, 2009


When I get repeated busy signals to an airline in these types of situations, I call the spanish line and when they answer, I play dumb and tell them this is the number the operator gave me and they speak english no problemo. Maybe if you talk to an agent they can offer alternatives.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:28 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


One option would be to buy a $220 non-refundable ticket from US Airways leaving Philly tomorrow evening. However, I am loath to do this because Delta has already canceled their flights from PHL tomorrow, and I don't want to be another $200 in the hole if US Air decides to cancel, too.

Remember that non-refundable doesn't mean you lose your money if you don't fly. It means they won't give cash back. They will give you a credit of $220 that can be applied toward future flights.
posted by randomstriker at 10:38 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Chinatown bus from NYC to Cincinnati is ~12 hours and costs $95.

The Chinatown bus from NYC to Atlanta is $90 and 14.5 hours.
posted by hooray at 11:17 PM on December 19, 2009


For what it is worth, it has finally stopped snowing in DC after about 26 hours, but the city is shut down with most roads impassable, and above ground Metro/subway stations closed. Authorities are asking everyone to stay at home. My neighborhood got 20 inches. I would not come to this area to try to get a flight. Dulles and Reagan National are still shut down and who knows what will be operational tomorrow. Only one runway is now open at BWI (Baltimore Washington International).

For those advocating the bus to go south, you would need to wait till they get the major roads plowed to do that. Right now about 300 people are stuck at the DC Greyhound station because of the weather. Since it has stopped snowing, hopefully they will get the major roads plowed on Sunday and the buses will be operational again, but I would check with Greyhound or any bus company before trying that method to come south.
posted by gudrun at 12:24 AM on December 20, 2009


You both go to Atlanta overland however possible, and she flies home from there - weather should be clearer by the time you get there. If she's on Delta, there's bound to be a flight from Atlanta to somewhere near Cincinnati. Give the airline a call to see if you can cancel your previous flight(s) and apply the credit from your flight to her flight from Atlanta to Cincinnati (or Indianapolis, or Columbus, or Louisville, or really anywhere nearby).

Staying together on your trip south means that you can huddle together for warmth and she can meet your momma.
posted by mdonley at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm in a similar situation in Philly (though I don't know yet whether my flight will be cancelled since it isn't supposed to leave until later today). I wound up buying a Greyhound ticket for Dec 23rd for ~$150. If I can fly out before then I'll cancel the bus ticket, but this way I have the peace of mind of knowing there's a contingency plan if my flght doesn't work out.
posted by GraceCathedral at 6:19 AM on December 20, 2009


driving isn't an option, since she has no license, and i have no car. even if i rented a car, i wouldn't want to drive through a blizzard in the mountains in an unfamiliar car.

Might be too late now, but if you're going from Philly to Atlanta, you're not driving through mountains--it's a straight shot down I-95, which, being one of the most well-traveled roads in the country, is likely to be clear in terms of snow piled up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:15 AM on December 20, 2009


(Also, there are hotels and motels all along 95, so if you had to stop it would be a far more comfy situation than being stranded in an airport would be).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2009


Atlanta's not on 95, it's on 85. Still, the obvious route is 95 south to the point in Virginia (south of Richmond) where 85 starts, then 85, and that's entirely east of the mountains.

The "alternate" route from Google Maps is 95 South to Washington, then 66 West, 81 South, 77 South to Charlotte, and pick up 85 South there; it's a route like this you're probably trying to avoid because you don't want to go through the mountains. It's actually slightly longer both in time and mileage anyway. If I remember correctly I-81 is the road in Virginia where people were getting stuck in their cars yesterday.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:22 AM on December 20, 2009


The "alternate" route from Google Maps is 95 South to Washington, then 66 West, 81 South, 77 South to Charlotte, and pick up 85 South there; it's a route like this you're probably trying to avoid because you don't want to go through the mountains. It's actually slightly longer both in time and mileage anyway. If I remember correctly I-81 is the road in Virginia where people were getting stuck in their cars yesterday.

Whoops, sorry--you're right. That'll teach me to post first thing in the morning and mix up Savannah and Atlanta.

But, if you're worried about the roads, you still could stay on 95 into Georgia and then go across the state. It only adds about 3 hours, and would still get you home quicker than flying.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2009


yeah, for some reason I get irrationally annoyed when people give wrong directions.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2009


Thanks to everyone for the advice! We both got to our respective homes late Monday night on US Air, and Delta has refunded our tickets. : )
posted by coppermoss at 10:41 PM on December 22, 2009


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