Good little traveler that I am, we promptly got in line at our airline's customer assistance counter, were booked on their next flight to DFW (leaving at seven the next morning) and given a voucher for a "special discount rate" reserved through a toll-free number. Calling that revealed that there were NO rooms in Phoenix available at the discount, so I left last night's Phone Post while waiting in the same line again to see what else they could do. Apparently I said "buttf*cked" too loud, because an airline employee came running over to tell me they were waiting to hear back from the service to get more rooms freed up for stranded travelers. (I guessed at least 150 people were stuck in PHX due to the weather delay then, but at least two additional flights came in later with more.)
We eventually got a room at the Tech Center Clarion and got there at 0030 after waiting for over an hour outside to get the last seats on the second shuttle. We checked in to find their discounted price wasn't that great (25% off at $60; the airline folks had said it would be more like $50 for a $120 room) for a non-smoking room that smelled like an ashtray thanks to someone's party in the next room. They were so noisy and smoky that I didn't feel bad when I realized I'd left the bedside alarm set on buzz to go off at 0445 while we were waiting for the 0500 shuttle back to the airport.
Our flight out of PHX didn't even start boarding until after the ticketed departure time, so we finally saw open food vendors there (Laurel and Vogon had breakfast, I had a caramel macchiato because Burger King was already out of the least-sucktacular breakfast choices by 0540) and bought some sale-priced DVDs including one of Donald Duck cartoons that Laurel watched while we waited at the gate.
Got into DFW just before noon, had some fun rounding up our baggage (it went through Las Vegas and didn't even bring home any souvenirs for me) and were displeased to find a patio door mysteriously open when we got home. (My guess is that our apartment was one of the ones randomly chosen for the city's inspection of our complex last week, but I really don't know for sure.)
Laurel has been as fussy as you'd expect for a sleep-deprived 5-year-old today, so after getting home I put her in the tub and put her in her darkened room for a nap. I've got one load of laundry in the washer and a second waiting, so I'm off to continue unpacking for awhile, take a shower, and hopefully get a nap. I'll post a full trip write-up and photos later this week.
- Don't fly through Phoenix during monsoon season.
- The frequency of a hotel's shuttles may be a good indicator of its quality. (We saw the Crowne Plaza, Marriot, and Hilton shuttles go by every 10 minutes or less during the time we waited for the Clarion shuttle.)
- If you're don't expect to get at least 6 hours' sleep in a hotel when you're stranded, save your money and sleep in the airport. It'll probably smell better.