Thursday, May 28, 2009

Travel Excitement

Sorry I missed blogging last week, but I was traveling and my Internet access was spotty. Mostly, I was visiting relatives. And to do so, I had to do some flying.

I generally don’t mind flying, but my trip heading east rather unnerved me. I started out flying to Columbus, Ohio, via Phoenix. My flight to Phoenix was uneventful. It was the next leg that turned out scary.

The aircraft I was supposed to take arrived at the gate in Phoenix and disgorged passengers. Then, an announcement was made that maintenance was required, and we’d be kept informed about when the flight would be ready for boarding. It never was.

Next announcement was that this plane would be removed from the gate and replaced by another incoming one. This did, in fact, occur--about 2 hours after we were originally supposed to leave. But, okay, these things happen, and I couldn’t complain about the airline’s caution.

Eventually, we were up in the air. As always while traveling, I started editing a manuscript, so my mind was occupied for a couple of hours--till the plane lost some altitude, my ears started popping and the cabin turned hot. The captain got on the loudspeaker and said that, if the face masks dropped, to use them! The plane was losing pressure.

Everyone stayed calm, and the masks did not drop. We were told to turn on the overhead vents, which helped to cool off the cabin. I held my nose and blew till my ears stopped popping. We were in the middle of a cloud, in a thunderstorm, and I saw lightning, but the plane remained steady. The passengers all seemed to act normal, but I’d imagine everyone was as nervous as me. I conversed a little with the lady on my left but chose not to express how uneasy I was.

We were soon told we would land in Chicago, at Midway Airport--which we did. Safely, thank heavens. And there, too, we had to wait until another plane landed, disgorged passengers, and was prepared to take off again. On the ground, I called my family, now gathered in the Columbus area, and jokingly said that it was a shame I hadn’t known about this in advance. I could have asked my son and d-i-l to wait in Chicago, where they live, to drive me to our mutual destination!

Eventually, we boarded the third plane for this leg of my journey. The captain appeared at the front of the cabin, apologized, said the airline’s maintenance was usually exemplary, and this was the first time in his 25 years of flying that he’d had to use a third plane for the same flight. I wished he’d never experienced it--since then I wouldn’t have, either!

Fortunately, my journey back from the east was fairly uneventful, except for some delays for weather--and because another of the planes had to be substituted because of a maintenance issue, but, fortunately, that happened in the city before the craft flew to pick me up.

Will I fly that airline again? Probably, since I’ve flown it often before with no problems. And I did, after all that, arrive at my destinations safely, if late. But I won’t forget this trip--and will hope that the airline beefs up its maintenance program!



Betty Hechtman said...

I'm glad you made it back safely.

I was on a plane once where the captain came on the intercom said we were going to be hitting some roughness. He told the flights attendants to stow the carts and belt themselves in. Then he told the rest of us that we might want to make friends with our seat mates as talking might make it not so scary.

The plane started shaking and making a loud noise. I immediately started talking to the guy next to me who turned out to be an actor who I recognized. We talked all through the roughness. He was on the way to do the play Proof which took place in my Chicago neighborhood. I was on my way to take care of my Chicago neighbor's cats while she went to her daughters wedding.

I know the plane was shaking pretty bad, but all I really remember is our conversation. Finally it smoothed out and then the plane landed in Chicago. We got off the plane together and I pointed him in the direction of his connection and wished him good luck. Then I went on my way.

Camille Minichino said...

On the way back from Mayhem in Omaha we were delayed so long we almost had to stay overnight.

BUT nothing as bad as thinking the masks might fall at any minute! Glad your safe, Linda!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Glad you were able to turn a difficult situation into something memorable for a good reason, Betty. And thanks, Camille--and I'm glad you arrived safely at your destination, too, despite its being late.

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Janie Emaus said...

Hearing that the masks might drop would definitely scare me. I'm glad it all turned out okay.