Flight 1: Raleigh Bound.
My quick trip to Raleigh would have me home for just shy of two days, with Amber’s baby shower being the focal point for the “weekend”. Fly out Friday late afternoon, baby shower, return on Sunday morning.
My plans always start off so simple.
The outbound flight was scheduled as planned. As we boarded the plane, I realized the cabin was excruciatingly warm. Everyone began stripping off their coats and sweaters in an effort to get cool After getting settled, I was happy to see that everyone was seated in our inferno with 15 minutes to spare. I texted my partner in crime to let her know I would meet her at her house for a haircut (an added bonus), and shut off my phone. As we started nearing the departure time, I looked up to see where the crew was about the cabin. I saw one of them several rows up handing a large trash bag to a passenger. The passenger then handed two sick bags, which were filled, back to the flight attendant.
Due to my irrational fear of anything resembling the flu, I instantly grew nauseous. And, naturally, I grew weary that said passenger had the Noro virus that has hit several large cruise ships. The fact that we weren’t moving made me even more anxious. And let’s not forget that we were waiting on the tarmac in a convection oven.
I emailed His Lordship. He assured me that everything was fine and that I needed to calm down and breathe. I tried, but as the clock kept ticking, I grew more anxious, and now my haircut time was starting to run into my baby shower prepping time. Laguardia was now a zoo of planes; I counted at least 12 that had gone out ahead of us. And for those of you playing along, the woman in 7A was still vomiting.
We finally took off some 75 minutes after our scheduled departure. When we reached that “safe height” where we could use “approved portable electronic devices”, I took out my laptop to write. As I wrote, I felt my nose twitch, and after I casually wiped it, I saw strip of blood on my hand. I realized that I was experiencing a nosebleed, which was a first for me. I had a slight panic attack thinking that there was some kind of apocalypse happening with the flight delay, vomiting woman, and now, my bloody nose.
Related: When I was 7, I got hit square in the face with a baseball, and not a single drop of blood exited my nose. So, color me surprised when that happened.
What seemed like years later, the bleeding stopped, I drank a glass of wine (naturally), and we finally landed. As I exited the plane, I saw the pour woman in 7A explaining to the flight attendants that she had severe food poisoning.
Flight 2: New York City Return.
With our offices being closed for MLK Day, I booked a Sunday morning return flight to NYC to give myself a ‘bonus weekend’ of running, football, and house chores. My parents dropped me off at the airport at 8 a.m., I flew through security, retrieved coffee and a muffin, and arrived at the gate by 8:10. I was elated. (I’m also a sucker for empty airports.)
At 8:35, we were notified that we had “minor maintenance problems” and we would be delayed by a mere 10 minutes. And true to the statement, we boarded just shy of 10 minutes later.
I sat and waited. The nice lady who sat down next to me explained that she was picking up a connecting flight in Laguardia to Toronto; her father had a stroke. We chatted a bit as we approached the runway.
And then we stopped. We were informed that Laguardia was backed up with flights, and we had to wait another 15 minutes. I grew irritated, knowing that I should have booked the 7:30 a.m. flight for Laguardia always gets backed up in a matter of minutes no matter what the weather is. My seat mate grew nervous about missing her connecting flight. I assured her that the terminals in LGA, although numerous, were small, and she would completely make it.
Then there was another announcement. Something to the effect of our engine not working.
Brilliant. So, what exactly was that about “minor” maintenance problems? Why were we allowed to get on a plane with a broken engine in the first place?
I was instantly reminded of that infamous family trip to Bermuda where we lost an engine over the Atlantic ocean.
Once deplaned, we waited for any update on our current flight. Many people were nervous about their connecting flights in New York.
Approximately four minutes later, another announcement was made. We were clear for take off.
We reboarded swiftly and waited. And waited and waited and waited. A maintenance man appeared at the cockpit. My seat mate and I grew concerned. She was now at the point where we needed to leave to make her connecting flight in Toronto. We waited 20 minutes more. No updates, nothing. Finally, a flight attendant started walking down the aisle. She said we were about to deplane again and get onto a new flight.
We deplaned again. The woman next to me knew she was missing her connecting flight. When we exited the jetway, I saw that there was no line at the ticketing counter. I told her to jump in and find any flight, on any airline, immediately. She followed suit.
We walked the entire length of the airport to our new plane. And waited. And waited some more. After forty minutes went by, we boarded. When I noticed my seat mate missing, I was relieved in knowing that she made another flight to get her to her father.
After what seemed like an eternity, we got to the end of the runway. And waited again due to traffic at Laguardia. The time was now 12:15. I was tired, hungry, and hadn’t showered.
Our flight time was scheduled for 55 minutes. This became a false statement, as we flew halfway up Long Island during our decent. (Seriously, we turned around at Port Jefferson.)
I charged out of Laguardia, hopped in a cab, and called His Lordship. The cab driver must have heard my frustration on the phone, for he flew like a bat out of hell down the BQE and on the Triborough Bridge.
It was 2:15 when I finally reached home.
My plans always start off so simple. What was supposed to be a short trip home was sandwiched with flights that kept me in airports and airplanes for over 11 hours. I would say, “Onward and upward”, though I really don’t want to go anywhere upward. So… Onward and onward? Why not?