Taking the long way home

Katie Brickman
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Janzen family home after days-long delay

There are worse places to be stranded than Florida.

After days of delays and a longer-than-expected vacation in Florida the Janzen family returned home mid-week.

The Janzen family — parents Paul and Joanne and daughters Breanne and Lauren — went on a two-week holiday vacation to Florida over Christmas break.

However, by the time they were supposed to fly back to Canada, they found out that they were stuck because of a deep freeze across most of North America.

The family had their flights scheduled for last Saturday, but only arrived back in Canada on Tuesday evening.

“The weather in Florida was good, but the weather in Chicago was causing backups and delays as planes were grounded due to freezing temperatures,” explained Joanne. “We were supposed to go through Chicago, so I am assuming it was there that the problems were.”

The Janzens were luckier than most. They still had the rental property and vehicle available and were not stuck in the airport for the entirety of those extra days.

“We got off a lot easier than other people who were stranded in airports. We weren’t sure when we would get out. We were pretty sure by Tuesday, but there were people a lot worse off than we were,” said Joanne. “Being stuck in Florida is not a bad thing and when we told people back home, they weren’t feeling sorry for us.”

The family was supposed to fly out of Fort Lauderdale, which is the same airport they flew into. However, with the delays and problems at other airports, they flew out of Tampa, were routed into Denver and then to Saskatoon.

Their original itinerary was to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Houston to Chicago, and finally, to land in Saskatoon.

“It was a four-hour flight to Denver with a one-hour layover then a two-and-a-half hour flight to Saskatoon,” said Joanne.

The Janzens tried to make the most of their extra time in Florida, including more visiting with family members, but they did spend a lot of time driving to and from the airport checking on flights.

“Every day we went to the airport instead of just checking online. We would go two or three times a day to the airport just to see if anything was going to be flying out,” explained Joanne. “We were disappointed, but I was OK since my sister is down there and it was nice to have a little bit of extra time with her. I think for the girls, their minds were made up about being done on Saturday and coming back to seeing their friends and getting back to routine.”

For Lauren, a senior at Caronport High School, it was a problem because her school semesters started, but she was more frustrated about having to miss her basketball game on Tuesday.

“It was too bad, but my team understood,” said Lauren. “It was just a city game, so we didn’t have too much on the line. It was still discouraging to not be there and help out our team.”

The four of them tried to make the best of their situation by going to the mall or going to see a movie, although the allure of the vacation had slightly dampened due to the travel problems.

The airport in Fort Lauderdale wasn’t overly busy with people, but Tampa was buzzing with people looking to get on a flight home or to their next destination.

“In Fort Lauderdale, you could see some people that were stranded,” said Lauren. “I didn’t see much more security, but in the larger airports, staff were probably busy because frustration rises when you are delayed four days. It is an inconvenience.”

The family was relieved to finally get back home and back to school and work.

“After a couple weeks, you are ready to get back into your routine,” said Lauren. “Beside the cold, I was really excited to get back and see my friends and getting back to school in Caronport.”

Lauren got back on the court on Thursday with her Caronport Cougars as they played their second game this week. She was a little nervous about only getting one practice in before the game.

The Cougars are headed to Outlook this weekend for a tournament.

Follow Katie Brickman on Twitter @katiebrickman

Organizations: Caronport High School

Geographic location: Florida, Chicago, Canada Fort Lauderdale Saskatoon North America Tampa Denver Houston Caronport

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