What A Trip!
Published on December 4, 2010 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Blogging

The last few years I've done a fair amount of traveling.  These days, mostly by plane.  For the most part I've run into very little trouble making my connections easily and on time. 

No more. 

It's getting harder and harder to find reasonable non-stop flights and therein lies most of the problem.  Last February we ended up stuck in Maine for an extra five days as we watched one connection after another disappear.  Our Monday morning made-well-in-advanced trip didn't materialize until something like Friday night causing quite a bit of anxiety with my husband's boss.  Afterall February is smack in the middle of tax season and we were only supposed to be gone for the weekend. 

Then there was this past week in Dayton, Ohio.  Not a pleasant day. 

We spent a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday weekend with my son and his family enjoying some cold Dayton weather and playing with the grandkids.  Not only that, but I also had the privilege of spending a few hours of quality time with my very best JU'ser buddy Tonya aka Tova.  So far so good. 

Then came departure day.  Ugh!  My husband is not the best traveling buddy when it comes to airports.  Let's just say this very analytical put together guy gets very undone when it comes to flying.  So we always have to be at the airport sitting down at the gate when it looks like no man's land.  Me?  I'm happy being there 45 minutes before departure which is like 15 minutes before they start boarding. 

Anyhow so we get there (in plenty of time) for our 1:27 flight which we knew before we left the house was now 1:47 leaving us with only a 24 minute window to get our connection in Atlanta.  Not good.  Panic starting to set in.  The husband, not me.  The people at the Delta desk assured us it was nothing and we'd make our connection.  Here's a clue...didn't happen.

So we board the plane.  The pilot gets on and says "unfortunately I have some bad news, we've been delayed at least until 2:30.  I'm going to open the doors so you're free to either stay on board or get off to walk around." 

So we decided to get off, use the bathroom and talk to the gate person about our connection which is now going to be long gone before we get there.  Not too many got off the plane.  Most settled down with their books or internet and figured they'd wait it out.  Panic hadn't set in YET.  We secured another connection for later in the afternoon and got back on the plane at the appropriate time for the 2:15 flight but not before I spotted a Quiznos.   No lines no waiting but I couldn't decide if I should get something now or when we got to Atlanta so I opted to wait.  Mistake. 

We board the plane, settle down and then... the pilot gets back on the intercom announcing he's once again the bearer of bad news.  It's going to be another hour and he once again would open the door for our on and off access.  This time almost everyone got off and we were about halfway back.   Each time we exited or entered the plane our ticket had to be scanned.  At least we didn't have to take off our luggage.  NOT YET. 

So we head to the Quiznos knowing this could be our last meal before we reach our final destination.  We round the corner and see the long line.  Everyone else had the same idea.  Not alot going on in Dayton for eateries and this was the closest one to the gate.  So we wait.  We finally get to the counter, order and pay.  The two workers were putting sandwiches together as fast as they could.  Then we heard it.  The announcement to get back on the plane.  What?  It hasn't been that long yet.   So panic starts in.  Many leave without their sandwiches. 

I was NOT going to leave without my salad.  I paid for it.  By golly I was going to get it.  One guy heard the last call.  My husband finally had his sandwich in hand and I was still waiting for my salad.  I told him to run to the gate and tell them I'd be there as soon as I had my salad!  The lady quickly threw my salad in a bowl and we took off running for the gate  hearing the last call announcement. 

Made it. 

So we boarded the plane noticing the envied looks as we carried our food on board.  We sit down, eat our food and wait for the plane to taxi down the runway.  Didn't happen. 

The pilot once again, after we finished eating, says "Unfortunately...there's another delay and I'm not sure when we're going to be allowed to take off.  Since I don't want this to be a hostage situation I'm asking all passengers to get off at this time." 

What?  Are you kidding me?  Again? 

So people started getting off and then a trickle of information starts working its way back to us that we are supposed to take our luggage off this time.  Now, that CAN"T be good news.   All I could think of was I have a hair appointment tomorrow morning.  It took me six weeks to get that appointment.  I don't want to miss it. 

Then chaos started.  As we were all trying in the middle/back to get our luggage out of the overhead bins and get off, some of the passengers who had already deplaned  were coming back on to retrieve their luggage hearing this information on the outside of the plane.  So some getting off, some getting on.  Traffic jam. What a trip! 

Now as we enter the gate area we hear quite a bit of noise.  Lots and lots of people everywhere.  Now besides our planeful of people sitting out in the waiting area we had another planeful of people in the same boat as us.  We were known by our flight numbers.  Friendships started to be made as we all started comparing notes and tales of connection woes.  So now we lost yet another connection.  My husband gets on the phone and calls Delta to secure yet another connection in Atlanta.  He had the choice of 7 pm standby or confirmed 9 pm flight.  We took the confirmed just to be safe.   There were long lines at all the gates with solo gate attendants who had looks of panic on their faces.  Our gate attendant was bluntly saying in a broken accent "I don't know why they left me alone" as she furiously punched buttons on her system trying to find connections.  I also heard via a walkie talkie sitting there that there was a "giant blob hanging over Atlanta."  Later we found out the area was hit by tornadoes. 

Thank goodness for the age of cell phones.  Everyone had one.  Everyone was on one.  People were plugging their phones into the outlets telling us we could answer it if it rang.  Announcements were being made airport wide about not going up to the gate attendants unless you were NOT going to fly today. 

When we finally boarded (no idea what time it was now) there was some confusion as to who could board and who could not.  Obviously we were first so they had to screen everyone making sure the right ones were on the right flight.   So back on with the luggage.  You know the drill. 

We finally saw some movement.  People applauded.  I would not until we were airborne.  We taxied down the runway after the pilot announced we were first to go up.  Then it happend again.  The first words we hear from the pilot is "unfortunately...."  Ugh!  Now what?   He announced we had a 40 minute wait and he would turn off the engines to save gas.  So there we sat. 

Then we were off.  Landed in Atlanta to total chaos.  Lines everywhere.  I've never seen so many people.  Not enough seats so those not in line somewhere were sitting on the floor all over the airport.  It was about 8 pm.  Originally we were supposed to be home by 5:30.  Looking good now for that 9 pm flight and so glad we passed up the earlier 7 pm standby.  Found the gate after pushing thru a very crowded airport only to see our 9 pm flight was now slated for 10:14 takeoff.  Ugh.  More waiting.  The plane showed up about 9:30 with people coming thru the gate as it emptied.  Good.  We're going home finally.  Ooops...not so fast. 

Another announcement.  "The plane is here.  The flight attendants are on board and ready but we have no pilots. They are on the ground somewhere and will be here shortly."  So the original 9 pm flight that was now 10:14 turned into 10:40 and then 11:00.  Everyone was tired. 

We arrive home at the Orlando airport at 12:45 only to wait outside for 20 minutes for the shuttle to the parking lot.  So we're outside at 1:15 or so and I'm thinking...at least I can make my hair appointment. 

We get home close to 3 am.  We had been so excited at day's start (really now the day before) that we'd be home at 5:30 pm.   I get into bed at about 3:15 am and sleep totally escaped me.  I was wide awake.

But I made that hair appointment. 

We have another flight to Maine coming up shortly.  The extended forecast is a storm on the horizon.  I hope it's not a "here we go again moment." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments
on Dec 04, 2010

I really enjoyed spending time with you this visit, but hate to read how much craziness you went through to get home.

And since you're sharing airport stories, I'm going to write an article about one of mine.

 

on Dec 05, 2010

that's good.  I think everyone has an airport story to tell. 

Up until that last visit in Maine last Florida and this past one, most of my flights were fairly normal. 

I do remember way back when we went to Montana we didn't think we'd make it safely on the ground again.  We went thru a very bad lightening storm and I heard the pilot say on the headphones, I was listening to, that we should have never left the airport.  That was scary because my kids were small and at home with my mother then.  I thought that was our last day on earth.  The flight attendants gave us all champagne to calm our nerves after we went thru the brunt of it. 

 

on Dec 06, 2010

You Delta, Me American!  Thank god for United.  They got us home that night (albeit about the same time you got in).

Glad your trip was fruitful.  Did you pay a visit to my alma mater?  (UD)

on Dec 06, 2010

What's UD?  University of Dayton? 

So you were traveling the same night?  How much longer did it take for you? Where did you start from and were you supposed to connect in Atlanta?    It took us an extra almost 8 hours to get home and considering it started in the afternoon it made for a long night.   We figured it took us over 15 hours to get home thinking we could just about drive home during that time. 

 

on Dec 06, 2010

UD is University of Dayton.  A Catholioc College....but obviously lots of people besides Catholics attend...lol.  We also have Cedarville University.  It rawks outloud.  And then of course Wright State.  3 colleges..so why are there so many dumb....ah, uh, never mind.

on Dec 06, 2010

KFC Kickin For Christ
What's UD?  University of Dayton?
 

Mai oui!

And no, not the same night.  Mine occurred earlier, but my level of satisfaction with American is gone.  They caused the delay, the least they could have done was hold the connecting flight.

 

Tova7
UD is University of Dayton.  A Catholioc College....but obviously lots of people besides Catholics attend...lol.  We also have Cedarville University.  It rawks outloud.  And then of course Wright State.  3 colleges..so why are there so many dumb....ah, uh, never mind.

Surprisingly, many New Jersians go there!  I do not know that the allure is, but they were the biggest out of state crowd when I attended (back when we used coal oil for our lamps).

As for so many dumb - well, us Flyers do not stick around, and the other 2 only take in the IQ challenged.

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