When I started this post it was titled “Holy cats, we have plane tickets!”. But it was silly of me to think things could be so simple!
We’re faced with two issues regarding our travel home. First, JR is currently planning to attend a one-week training in DC, so we were all flying together to DC, and then just Abby and I would continue on to Ohio. But now there’s a strong chance that this training will be canceled, so we would need to change his ticket. And it was only because of this particular training that we all wanted to fly through DC, so if the training is off the table, we can take a different route home.
The different route is important because it feeds into problem #2. The cat. Right now we’re supposed to fly on Austrian Airlines to Vienna and then DC, and then a United flight to Columbus. Austrian had no trouble making arrangements for Annabelle to fly as checked baggage on both flights and the cost is $200. Okay, great. But, they noted that I needed to call United directly to book Annabelle on the DC to Columbus leg. I called and that’s where things went downhill. United informed me that Annabelle would have to be flown as cargo. In order to do that, we have to take her to their cargo center at Dulles (located at the airport, but not within the terminal) and check her in 2 hours prior to our flight. We’re scheduled to land in DC at 2:05, and our flight to Columbus leaves at 5:20.
I’m quite concerned that we will not have time to retrieve Annabelle and our other bags, clear customs, deliver her to the cargo office in time, and check our bags all over again for the final flight. Oh and United is charging $300 for the cat for this short flight! NOTE: It costs more to ship our cat on one domestic flight with United than it does for a transatlantic flight with Austrian. Urgh.
We’ve thrown out some different options – such as renting a
u-haul minivan and driving ourselves home from DC. This would actually get us home faster, and would probably cost about the same. The problem is that JR has never recovered from driving Annabelle from Columbus to DC in 2012. He loves her but swears he will not drive in the car with her again. Apparently she yowled like she was being tortured the entire time and it was miserable, so when I suggested this option, he responded with:
Regardless, we aren’t making any changes until we know what’s happening with JR’s training, so it’s wait and see at this point. But we still have dates and we’re down to about 6 weeks, which is crazy. On Friday, the movers came to do a pre-packout survey. Basically they go room to room and we talk about which items are going to storage, which items are going to Tbilisi, our UAB (air shipment), and all sorts of other details. They looked a little concerned when they saw the size of our couch. Our pack out date is just a few weeks away now and full-blown panic is starting to set in – we have so much left to do!