South Bend Lear Jet – Part Two

Published May 30, 2014 in Airliners, Aviation, Business Jets, Corporate Aviation, Photography, Texas

I apologize for taking so long to write the follow-up to the first part of my South Bend, IN travel odyssey that I took part of about two weeks ago.

We were finally able to get back on our flight and fly from CID (Cedar Rapids, IA) to ORD (Chicago O’Hare) and when we landed at ORD, to say that airport was a MADHOUSE would be an understatement. I think every flight that was going through that airport that day was affected by what happened with the Air Traffic Control center having smoke in their building. Thankfully, it was only smoke in the building and nothing actually burned down at the ATC center from what I heard.

After we pulled into our gate and deplaned I went to go find out where I needed to catch the flight on United Express to South Bend, IN. I looked on the video boards and it was not a good sight to say the least. ALL flights to South Bend, IN had been cancelled for the entire day! Granted, SBN (South Bend, IN) is only 89 miles away, but I really didn’t want to
have to drive it, if at all possible. So I go to a gate and ask an agent if she can help me and she says all flights to
SBN have been cancelled, but all of a sudden she said, “Hold on, we are having one flight tonight at 9.30 p.m. and I got you the last seat on it!” I was quite relieved to hear the nice gate agent say that, so she printed me out a boarding pass and now I just had to wait about five hours to fly to South Bend, IN.

Since I had some extra time, I decided I might as well now go ahead and eat dinner here in the ORD airport, as it will be too late to eat dinner in South Bend, since I am supposed to be at the airport hangar to photograph this jet at 7:00 a.m. the following morning. So I went and grab some dinner, along with plugging in my iPhone and iPad, so they could start to
charge and get some more juice in them. After dinner, I went to the video boards to see where my 9.30 p.m. flight would be departing from, and I did not see the flight listed, AT ALL !! This is NOT a good sign, to say the least !! So I went over to the closest gate and asked the nice gate agent about my flight to South Bend and he informed me ALL flights have now been cancelled to South Bend, for the day. Great, just great, I thought, what do I do now, and that is what I asked him, “What options do I have to get to South Bend?” He told me there is a bus service or I could rent a car, at my
expense, of course.

I decided I would ride the bus to South Bend, it can’t be that bad. So I walk about two miles, or so it seems, to the bus terminal at ORD airport and I go up to the ticket agent window and I ask the lady waiting on me about the bus to South Bend, and she says, “Oh sir, I’m so sorry, the bus just left at 7:15 p.m., (it was 7.25 p.m.!!) and we won’t have another one until 9.15 p.m. I decided right then and there, it was time to rent a car. So I walked from the bus terminal area to the loaded zones for all the rental car busses to pick up clients. The first bus I got one was Enterprise Rent a Car and the bus drive asked me if I had a reservation and I told him no. He then proceeded to tell me that they were all sold out of cars and I would have to find another rental car company. The next bus I found was Alamo/National, same song, second verse. No cars and I was told to get off the bus, more or less. The third bus was Hertz Rent A Car and they had cars available. As I was getting on the bus, I said something about South Bend, IN and these two ladies perked up and said they too were going to South Bend, IN. I told them, “Well good, I’m either riding with you, or you two are riding with me, no sense in renting two cars.” To make a long story very short, it took about 45 minutes to get a rental car with Hertz as they were TOTALLY slammed due to all the flight cancellations.

My two traveling companions were from South Bend and had been in Newark, NJ calling on a client of their company and were so glad to be able to catch a ride with me. It was a great way for me to have wonderful navigators that got me through downtown Chicago at night, and we finally arrived at the South Bend Airport around 10.30 p.m. or so. Both of these two ladies had left their cars at the SBN airport, since they had flown out there, and my hotel was right next to the airport so everything worked out just fine, for them.

Unfortunately for me, I had no luggage, no clean clothes, and no toiletries. After I checked into the hotel, the front desk clerk gave me some shampoo and some toothpaste and a toothbrush and I was very grateful for that.

I woke up at about 4.45 a.m. unfortunately and could not go back to sleep, so I decided to go to the local Wal-Mart and at least purchase a crummy shirt and some crummy shorts to photograph the jet in, so that I could at least “try” and keep my clothes from yesterday, somewhat clean, in case my luggage never arrived in SBN that morning.

I photographed the jet, the two pilots that helped me were absolutely wonderful and I got the shots I needed. After the shoot, I went back to the airport to see if my bag had ever arrived and it got in on the first flight that morning. From there, I went back to the hotel, took a shower, cleaned up and put on clean clothes, and then ate lunch with a airplane buddy of mine that was in the area that week on business. From there, I went straight back to the airport and caught my plane back to Chicago O’Hare. When we arrived at the gate in ORD, we were parked at Terminal F and my connecting flight was in Terminal B. Not good !! I became a “race-walker” and I walked as fast as I could possibly walk, without running anyone over and I made it to my gate in Terminal B with about 10 minutes to spare! Praise the Lord, I did make it. Although I knew that due to that extremely tight connection, my luggage wouldn’t make it and I was right. But I made it home to DFW on-time and everything was good. I finally got my bag the following morning and it was delivered to my door, but I wasn’t there to get it. You see, I had another shoot with a Gulfstream G-200 at 7.30 a.m. that morning at Dallas Love Field. It is good to be busy.

Here are some of the shots from the South Bend Lear Jet. I’ll post some of the G-200 that I shot the next day at Love Field, sometime later next week.

Thanks for reading my blog, I appreciate it!