Pre-Impressions Ft. Meade (al-Nashiri) 5/27/14 – Whitney Coffin

Greetings from IND! I’m currently sitting on the tarmac. The captain said we are delayed . . . but doesn’t know for how long. We’ve already been sitting for 45 minutes. I thought I’d try to make good use of the time,  so I’m writing you now. Once I get to Maryland and into my hotel,  I will try to write again.

I’m honored to be joining three other IU McKinney affiliates this week at Ft. Meade for the al-Nashiri hearings! I spent much of the weekend familiarizing myself with Military Tribunal procedure. I’m looking forward to seeing it in action the next three days. I will take note of everything I observe and report back to all of you. Looking forward to meeting and working with all of you.

Update 5/30/14 – If you plan to fly, avoid US Airways as if it were the plague. The cost of my ticket for roundtrip Indianapolis to Baltimore with 1 stop in Philadelphia was a reasonable $315. However, inclement weather in Philadelphia made travel impossible the night of 5/27/14. Instead of delaying prior to boarding, they proceeded to board. So, we are all seated and buckled. The captain then tells us all that we have to wait for at least 45 minutes on the tarmac before we get any information from the control tower about weather in Philly. Not bad, right? I can wait another 45 minutes. Yes, well, 45 minutes comes and goes. The captain informs us that we are delayed indefinitely. What does that mean? I guess I won’t be making that connecting flight, but even worse, we are still sitting on the tarmac. The captain informs us that we will be going back to a gate to deboard. However, that didn’t happen for another 1 1/2 hours. Apparently, there were no open gates at the airport? I guess once you taxi away from the gate you advance to a point of no return. I sat on that plane for over 2 hours, and after they let us off, was unable to get a later flight out. I was forced to settle for a fight the next morning. I know it’s not the fault of the staff when weather delays or cancels flights, but they could have at least acted like they cared. I found the staff unfriendly and unapologetic.

The woes do not end there. I arrived in Ft. Meade only to learn our mission was scrubbed, I tried to alter my flight departure date from Saturday 5/31/14 to Thursday 5/29/14, but the cost to change the date was $200 + $25 reservation service fee + $125 for the new ticket. Absolutely ridiculous! Instead of throwing money at that absurdity, I spent $180 on a new one-way ticket from Baltimore to Indianapolis with one stop in Chicago from United. I will never fly US Airways again. If you feel you must travel through that airline, be sure to add extra travel insurance or confirm the fees for changes that may come up in your travels before purchasing a ticket. I’m thinking that driving from Indy to Baltimore may be a favorable alternative.

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