I had a great trip to Chicago visiting family and friends and it was a little bittersweet to leave, as much as I was excited to get home to Miami. I had deliberately taken a late flight out of Chicago on Monday night, so that I could get almost another day out of my trip. Despite a little rain at the beginning of the day, the rest of the morning and afternoon was a stunningly beautiful day and I wandered and explored parts of the city like I love to do on trips.
I then took the Orange Line out to Midway and prepared to board my flight to Atlanta to connect to Fort Lauderdale. One of my aunts had heard that some flights had been cancelled in the morning due to the weather, but that all seemed to be taken care of by the time I got there. We boarded and got ready to take off. As I sat in my seat and looked out the window there was a pitter patter of raindrops on the window, but nothing that bad. Unfortunately there was a delay of some sorts (something like a small mechanical fix or bags still needing to be loaded). Just after that was resolved, the pilot came on and said there were some thunderstorms to the south and east (the routes we would take to Atlanta…) and they were going to try and detour us around them. Unfortunately a lot of flights out of Midway and O’Hare wanted to do the same thing, so it took a while.
It rained a little harder and off a ways there was some lightening. Finally they cleared us to go west and we pulled out of the gate and onto the runway. We were about three or four planes back from the front when the pilot told us that the storm was rolling in and no planes could take off. By this point I was almost guaranteed to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale. I got on Twitter and @Delta got me penciled in pretty quickly for a flight the next morning (my original flight was the last one out to Fort Lauderdale). We sat out on the runway for about an hour before being cleared to take-off and by then there was no way I was making my connecting flight. It looked like I’d be taking that 7 AM flight out to Fort Lauderdale in the morning…
I began to look into hotel accommodations, but I wasn’t sure if it’d be worth it to get a hotel for just a few hours. I did find an interesting option called Minute Suites, which are small rooms you can rent by the hour in the Atlanta airport for naps. I was intrigued since I didn’t need to leave security, but the price was a little steep for just a few hours ($38 an hour). By this point I’d be getting in around 1 AM (which is what happened) and a hotel was definitely out of the question (I’d get maybe 3 hours of sleep when you factored in travel and going back through security). So it felt to sleeping in the Atlanta airport…
I tried to do some Google searches and see if there were any tips. I found a couple suggestions of quieter places to sleep in the airport, but nothing that solid and nothing that sounded that appealing. Eventually when I landed (at 1 AM) I wandered for a bit (saw some other overnight sleepers) and settled in a space. Unfortunately they were buffering the floors that evening, so needless to say I didn’t sleep very much.
I’ll spare the details, but by the time I “woke” up (more like gave up on sleeping) around 5 AM, I needed some fuel. I tried to find some places open that early and only a few were. I did however see online that Goldberg’s Bagels opened at 5 AM in another terminal. I had come across Goldberg’s Deli before in gluten-free searches for Atlanta. I had attempted to go once before, but the line was way too long. I was a bit hesitant about getting gluten-free bagels at a bagel place (just because of the risk of cross-contamination), but it was such a rough night I kind of threw caution to the wind.
I was one of the first people in line and scoped out their menu. I remember it not being super clear what could be ordered gluten-free, but there might have been a mention of gluten-free bagels. There were a number of gluten-free products on the shelves next to the line. I grabbed a Udi’s Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. When I got up to the line they confirmed they had gluten-free bagels and I went for an egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast sandwich, plus a bagel and cream cheese.
I’ve been a big fan of Udi’s chocolate chip cookies that come in a container (usually can find them in the freezer section). I was a little surprised though how much better the Soft & Chewy version was (not to disparage the regular cookies or anything). It was very delicious and a nice little pick me up after the rough night. On the breakfast end, Udi’s bagels are pretty solid in general. Probably towards the higher end of gluten-free bagels, although I think bagels are one of the hardest things to mimic with a gluten-free version. These were a little dry and overdone, but I was happy to be able to have a breakfast sandwich regardless of the bagel involved. That was definitely my favorite of the two. The bagel was good with the cream cheese, but by then I was getting a little full. I powered through to get that extra energy.
For those eating gluten-free Goldberg’s could be a really nice stop in the Atlanta airport for gluten-free bagels and breakfast sandwiches. For those with celiac, I would use a little bit of caution just given the cross-contamination. I didn’t have a reaction or have any problems, but I knew I was taking more of a risk. The Goldberg’s I visited was in T-gate, but there also is one in the E-centerpoint and A-gate that open later. The food was a good pick me-up, but I’m glad that night in the Atlanta airport is behind me (and hope there aren’t any more in my future…). Take a look at other locations that might be near you, because I found some reviews about other locations with gluten-free bread and waffles (there might be sandwich bread at the airport location. I was a little too tired to pay close attention, plus it was breakfast).
Goldberg’s Bagel Company and Deli- (A, E, and T gates Atlanta Airport)