Irene disrupts Elis’ return to campus

When Cameron McCulloch’s ’13 Saturday morning flight from Seattle to New York was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene, airline agents told him they could not rebook him until Sept. 4. So, unwilling to miss the first days of shopping period, McCulloch decided to drive the 3,000 miles to school.

Many Elis have had to navigate the affects of Hurricane Irene on their way back to campus. Some had the chance to spend more time at home, while others were stuck in connecting cities overnight. McCulloch found himself alone in his Subaru with one techno CD and a vast continent in front of him.

“It seemed like the best guarantee of getting back to school before classes start,” McCulloch said after his arrival about his decision to drive. “After all, you can’t miss the first three days of organic chemistry.”

McCulloch left his house in Seattle Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and arrived in New Haven just after midnight Monday, two and a half days, six hours of sleep and many cups of coffee later. He said he maintained his frantic pace because he wanted to arrive on campus with time to settle before shopping period began.

But Mariana Lanzas Goded ’13 and Lissa Schreurs ’12 depended entirely on airlines for their trips to New Haven from Spain and Brazil, respectively. Both had their Saturday flights cancelled and could not fly until Tuesday.

“It’s not too much of a hassle since I get to stay at home,” Lanzas Goded said in a phone call Monday. “But the worst part is moving into my apartment so quickly. I was planning to use my three days before school to organize — I feel like they’re usually the busiest of the year.”

Although their arrival Tuesday night meant that both Lanzas Goded and Schreurs missed mandatory registration meetings, both said that they had contacted their respective deans’ offices and been told that their late arrivals would neither be a problem nor incur a fine.

For Elis who left home before the hurricane snarled air traffic in the northeast, Irene’s arrival meant a long layover in a strange city. For Monish Shah ’12, who planned before the hurricane on a 14-hour layover in Dubai on his way from Singapore to New York, that layover was hardly an inconvenience. Although he had to spend a full day in Dubai before completing his trip, he used the time to watch a soccer game and meet a recent Yale alum for lunch — then found himself rebooked into business class for his flight into the U.S.

At least 12,000 flights were cancelled over the weekend and on Monday because of Hurricane Irene, the New York Times reported.

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