Getting from MIX08 in Vegas to South by Southwest in Austin should have been fairly straightforward. All I had to do was change planes in Dallas. But the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley.
Moments after my flight from Vegas landed, Dallas was hit with an unseasonable snowstorm. My flight to Austin was cancelled. One phone call to American Airlines later, I was booked onto a (much) later flight. Jessica was flying in from London and I managed to get her booked on to the same later flight to Austin. Now we just had to kill some time in an airport. We met up with Natalie who was also trying to either get on a later flight.
Inevitably all the flights were cancelled. At this stage, there were no more hotel rooms to be had in Dallas. The airport infrastructure was beginning to collapse under the weight of a thousand irate passengers.
In the end, Twitter came to the rescue (I know that
surfacing serendipity is meant to be Dopplr’s bag but I’m accumulating quite a store of serendipitous Twitter stories). Erin was also in the airport. She read of my predicament and sent a direct message to tell me that she, Peter and Josh had managed to rent a vehicle with space for a few more people. All we had to was get to the rental space. That turned out to be quite a challenging level of the game. It was like Trains, Planes and Automobiles crossed with War Of The Worlds.
Eventually we made it out of the airport and begin a classic American road trip through the Texas night in a gold-coloured rental van, stopping at the occasional gas station to buy toothbrushes and souvenir t-shirts because American Airlines still had our luggage. Meanwhile, other stranded geeks were making their way to Austin by any means necessary. An octet of Britpackers rented a taxi all the way from Dallas (one fine geek didn’t even make it that far).
My simple shot from Vegas to Austin turned out to be quite an adventure. I feel like quite a few us really paid our dues getting to SXSW this year. It was certainly worth it.