When we last left off on the trip from hell just to attend SES San Jose, I had finally arrived Monday afternoon after being stranded last Sunday in Chicago. I kid you freaking not, I’m stranded again in Chicago and am once again in a glorious king size bed at the O’Hare Hilton – the very LAST room they had.

My dinner mates on our fun trip to Japan Town last night know I was starting to worry after Bill Slawski got a call from some SES attendees who were dealing with a nightmare at O’Hare yesterday. Many SES-ers had left on Thursday. There were 500 canceled flights and that created delays. The story we got was there was a hurricane somewhere. I read reports about electrical outages, etc. In any case, I contacted my airline and they insisted flights today would be safe.

And they were, up until the last possible second.

The flight from San Jose was a blast. A woman I sat with was a delightful sweetheart whose son works in Human Factors for Adobe. She was tickled I knew what that was, and we spent the next 4 hours chatting about everything from usability, to web design, to raising kids, to breastfeeding, to world travel (she’s been everywhere), meditation, and her work with people who suffer traumatic events. She has her own practice. Her husband and son were on the flight too. I met her son when we departed the flight, he and I had a funny talk about what we do (while his mom just beamed) and I think they adopted me. We made plans to stay in touch…

I had a 3 hour layover, which was tolerable because many of you who were at the conference are putting up pictures and my Facebook page is going nuts. I was entertained the whole time. My flight was delayed by 30 minutes, for Allentown, PA, but I didn’t sweat it. The sun was shining.

We boarded the flight, and since it was an 1.5 hour flight, the plane is small. It didn’t take long to discover the guy I was sitting with went to my high school and we knew a ton of people in common. He lives near Seattle now, but was coming out to my area for a family reunion. (Bill! He’s been to City Gardens. How cool is that?) We jumped right into our stories of the bars we hung out at (when the drinking age was 18) and things we did that our kids will never know about.

Once we taxied out towards the runway, we saw THE LINE. We were number 43 in a line of planes that weren’t allowed to fly due to a line of thunderstorms cutting across the central states. All flights coming in or out were being funneled through a hole in the weather system, so we all had to sit in the planes and wait our turn.

Several hours later, they took us back to the airport because the stewardesses had reached their 16 hour limit of work time and they canceled the flight.

Like last Sunday, I was stuck.

This time, my husband Eric booked me the room at the O’Hare Hilton, while I waited in line to get a boarding pass for a standby flight at 1:45 or a regular flight tomorrow night at 9pm. Meanwhile, just as on Sunday, my luggage is going to Allentown on the next flight out, which I heard is tonight because they started flying planes again. Everyone on my flight had to find different arrangements. Some were so fed up they were looking into renting cars to get the hell out of Chicago.

Anyone else stuck here?

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)