How Emergency Situations Can Lead to People Getting Stranded

My husband is running a conference this weekend and people were traveling from all over the country to go to it.  Some from the Northeast.

And the Amtrak crash led to the Northeast Corridor trains getting cancelled.

Ticket prices quickly jumped up to four-figures.  Delta added more flights in between New York and DC (though it seems they are the only airline to do that).

People in New Haven were considering taking local trains down to New York and then taking a MegaBus down to DC–but those were selling out fast to.

But in some situations, there’s just nothing you can do.

I was running a conference the day Eyjafjallajökul erupted.  Half my European attendees made it.  Half didn’t.  The half who didn’t never made it to the conference.

The half who did spent much longer in the area than they expected to (and boy was it difficult finding them lodging).

No planning could have prevented this.  And sure, if some people were incredibly rich, they could have taken the long way around–like John Cleese who spend £3,300 on a cab driving out of Norway the long way to Brussels (to train up to England).

But for the average person–you were stuck.

snowThis was particularly stressful a few years ago when a huge storm hit Boston (sound familiar, Boston?)  The American Philosophical Association was having a conference in Boston.  Universities tended to use this conference to hire new faculty.

I went up early with my husband (the one of us actually attending) so we could spend some time in Boston.  And then the snow storm hit.

In this case, the people trying to get to Boston had a lot at stake.  But there wasn’t too much they could do about it.  The roads were bad.  The trains were cancelled.  And the flights were cancelled.

Plus, the hiring committees had trouble getting up there too.  So the few graduate students who actually managed to make it up were wandering around an eerily empty conference.

There was just nothing that anyone could do to make it to Boston, other than wait.

These situations stink because no amount of planning or creative hard work can fix the issue.  But once you know you are stuck, all you can do is make the best of the situation.

So the Europeans stuck in the DC area went on a sightseeing tour of the US.  And the graduate students in Boston made some new friends and got some pool time at the host hotel.

I got some reading time in by the pool in Boston too until my Kindle accidentally  bit the dust.  (Kindle + pool = bad).  But that’s a story for another time.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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