Miami Washington DC

My mom’s unexpected hurricane vacation

Roswitha White and Krystal Stackhouse

It is 10 p.m. and I have been trolling airline websites for almost an hour.

Hurricane Irma is crawling toward Miami and all of the flights are sold out. 

There’s one seat left for an American Airlines flight. I quickly enter my payment information and hit purchase.

The system then tells me that the flight is sold out.

This situation repeats five times before I realize that American falsely claims to have a seat left for all of its sold-out flights. I move on to several other websites.

After a few more failed attempts, a purchase finally goes through and I call my mother.

Me: “I got you a ticket!”

Mom: “What?” 

Me: “I got you a plane ticket out of Fort Lauderdale to Virginia. It has a layover in Chicago though.”

Mom:Where in Virginia?”

Me: “Norfolk at 1 a.m….it’s a little drive from D.C. but better than nothing.”

My mother gets worried about the details and inconvenience of the last-minute flight. I remind her that hurricanes are inconvenient, but that it is better to be in D.C. for a forced vacation than in Miami in a flooded apartment with no power (or worse.)

Me: “Also, if I was in Miami and you were in D.C., you’d be telling me to obey the evacuation orders too.”

Mom: “I guess you’re right. See you tomorrow.”


The next day is Friday, so I am at the law firm all day for my externship.

I mention my round-trip plans to Norfolk to my coworkers and they assume that I’ve lost my mind.

Apparently it’s a four hour drive each way, but still better than riding out a Category 5 hurricane.

I find out after work that the road trip is canceled — my mother calls and tells me that she showed up at the Fort Lauderdale airport super-early and exchanged her ticket for a direct flight to D.C. 

Apparently the Southwest Airlines wants to get as many of its planes out of the hurricane’s way and allowed everyone to hop on earlier flights.


My mother spent the next six days in D.C. sightseeing while Michael and I are at work and school. She flew back to Miami tonight — just as the power returned to her neighborhood.

Mom’s trip to and from D.C. turned out to be significantly less complicated than we expected, but hopefully her next visit won’t be prompted by a natural disaster.

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