Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ahh, air travel...

Cyn and I just got back from Orlando, Florida, where she spoke on Marketing with Greg Pincus and Ed Masessa at the Florida SCBWI Mid-Year Workshop.

The event itself was terrific, although our flight out to Orlando devolved into a kind of a comedy of errors. Or maybe, terrors.

Here's what happened:

Our flight is through Atlanta (no, I have no idea why, and I booked the flights - you can go direct from Austin to Orlando, but they must have already been full; or didn't work with our schedule. Or something).

So, anyway, we fly into Atlanta and get on our plane (it's a big 767, a lovely wide-bodied jetliner, which it's kind of unusual to be on domestically these days):

It's scheduled take off time, and the pilot gets on the horn and announces that we can't leave yet, because they have no catering. Really, you ask? Catering?

In days of yore, this would mean that the chefs haven't loaded the lobster thermidor and cognac for the first class passengers. Nowadays, of course, it just means that the peanuts and the Cokes aren't there. Did I mention it was Atlanta?

Forty-five minutes later (BTW, the flight itself only takes 65 minutes), the catering gets there and they take ten minutes to load the plane. Most of the passengers and crew would've been fine going an hour and five minutes without a soft drink (oh, that's right, we did. Only on the ground!).

Once catering departs, the pilot thanks us for our patience and they close the doors and we're off!

Sadly, no. Now, it appears that the little red light that indicates the door has closed is not blinking or signifying code blue or whatever it's supposed to do. Another hour goes by when the maintenance and paperwork people come. It's not the door, it's the switch! Hurrah! Finally, we take off!

And, once we achieve cruising altitude, they begin delivering the much-delayed and therefore greatly-anticipated catered libations! Unfortunately, they only get halfway through before we hit a low pressure zone or air pocket or something and the flight gets bumpy and the plane feels likes it's plunged about a thousand feet, out of control (More or less. I'd show you the math, but I think my count of seconds was wrong).

Everyone screams, but not in a good way (Seriously, it was quite terrifying. Except to the children sitting in the seat in front of us who were laughing and peering out the window, apparently trying to see if the engine was still attached to the wing).

So...Once stable flight resumes, the pilot makes the flight attendants sit down...and half the plane doesn't get the beverages we waited two hours for...

But! We make it to Orlando. Safely, despite the thunderstorm. Except, once on the ground, they can't unload our luggage for another hour due to the thunderstorm during which the sky turns black.

Once on terra firma, and free of the clutches of the airline, we had a lovely time.

And our return flight was much less eventful.


Anonymous said...

We were all so glad to see you both arrive!! It sounds terrifying. May all the rest of your flights be smooooooth...

kathleen duey

Kim Rogers said...

So glad you and Cyn are okay, Greg! That is some scary stuff!

I really hate flying. My family and I were on a flight from St. Louis to OKC that had to make an emergency landing.

I told my hubby that I thought something was wrong as we were seeing the same mountain range. The flight attendants faces looked panicked. The pilot came on and said that an emergency light came on takeoff and that we were going to burn off fuel for a while then head back to the airport.

My hubby flies for a living and said that it was no big deal as he read his newspaper. I should have slapped him! I saw the pilot in the ladies' room after we landed and she said if that happened on the next plane, she wasn't flying again that day. Freaked her out!

Anonymous said...

Egad! Don't you just love flying! Glad to hear everything else went smoothly. Glad you liked the Canada video at Epcot and enjoyed the dinner at the Japan embassy. Those are two of my fave places, too.

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