Saturday, August 6, 2011

Episode Three - The Final Chapter


Once settled in my new seat and kindle turned off….. You cannot read a kindle during take-off and landing, very frustrating. (note to self, bring something to read for take-off and landing in future!). The plane pulled away from the gate to join the queue for take-off.  Fifteen minutes later we were still sitting in the queue not having moved an inch. Pilot came on over the intercom, introduced himself and his cabin crew and informed us we would be off shortly.

Fifteen minutes later, now keep in mind Kindle is still off and I have read the flight magazine from cover to cover. The pilot made another announcement. Take-off was delayed due to a storm coming from the south directly in our flight path and we should be off within the next twenty minutes or so. Kindle was pulled out of seat pocket.

The intercom crackled. I was engrossed in my kindle reading and surprised how quickly the twenty minutes passed. In fact it hadn’t and the pilot sounded slightly frustrated. “I am sorry ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we will be here a bit longer, there is another storm heading into our flight path from the north.” The sound of shuffling in seats filled the air. I shrugged, gave my new aisle neighbour a small smile and silently thanked the Gods of all denominations for inspiring me to change seats with tall disgruntled woman’s husband and returned to my kindle.


Two hours later, the now familiar voice of the pilot filled the cabin. “I am afraid there is some bad news Ladies and Gentlemen. Take off has been delayed due to a tornado moving into our flight path. There is no need to panic, we are perfectly safe. Please remain seated with your seat belts on. “


Two minutes later the captain was gracing us with another update. “The tower has been evacuated due to a tornado. It will take at least half an hour for the tower crew to be up and running again once the all clear is given. Hopefully we will be underway before we hit the deadline for legal flying hours under the flight time limitation regulations. I will keep you posted on any further developments.”

Thoughts of what will I do if the flight is cancelled, swirled. I looked all around me, this flight was filled to capacity, or at least it looked that way from my vantage point. There was only one flight to Dublin each day. I chided myself to stop worrying about that, and think what will this involve….collecting my bag, organizing a hotel, getting to the hotel, getting back to the airport from said as yet unidentified hotel.

Then the plane started to sway. It swayed left and then right and back again. There were inward gasps all around me. It seemed the plane was doing a little dance, back and forth. Yes, I was sitting on an airplane in the middle of a runway that was being tossed to and fro by a tornado!

“I am afraid this crew is running out of time Ladies and Gentlemen. If we are not off the ground within the next thirty minutes, we are out of legal flying time.”

The flight attendants started handing out meal trays. They were one row away from me….I was starving. It was now close to 10PM and I hadn’t eaten since I left Minneapolis. There was a scuttle of movement. Flight attendants were darting up the aisles and down the aisles. Trays were clanging as they were being whipped back onto the carts. My stomach was flapping at my ribs with the hunger and now even the prospect of food was to be cruelly denied me.

 
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the tower is manned, and our crew has voted to continue with the flight, even though we are just minutes away from our legal flying hour limit. Please fasten your seat belts. Cabin Crew prepare for take-off.”


There was a resounding round of applause. Everyone was glad to be finally moving. We were in the air within minutes. Over three hours later than our scheduled time, but a relief washed over me. I was not going to have to contend with sorting out accommodation in Chicago. All I had to contend with now, was how was I going to get from Dublin to Waterford. The bus I was supposed to be taking would be well gone by the time I landed in Dublin.

The pilot made another announcement once we were at cruising altitude thanking and congratulating the crew for their professionalism, and again everyone gave a warm and very appreciative applause. Once the meal was served, the pilot made the same announcement; I only half-heartily clapped at congratulatory speech number three. On landing in Dublin, pilot reiterated his praise for the wonderful selfless crew and how very grateful we the passengers should all be. This fourth self-congratulatory speech annoyed me and so I did not clap. It was just one too many “How great are we” speeches for me to stomach.

And so ends the saga of my journey. But hey there is always the return trip!

15 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh my stars!! I think the captain was in shock that his crew were most selfless and had to convince himself that it happened! LOL! Well that's my theory!

Ann!! You poor woman!! Did you manage to catch a ride from Dublin?? I do hope so!! I have everything crossed that your return flight will be as tornado free and self-congratulatory speech-free as possible!! :-)

You must buy a great big fat paperback to read too! LOL!!

Stay safe and take care x

Manzanita said...

Your posts on your travels are filled suspense and fragmented trepidation. I always breath a sigh of relief when you reach your destination. Be of good cheer and enjoy the weekend.
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Michael Offutt said...

That sounds terrifying. You were in the middle of a tornado...wow. I'm glad your flight wasn't canceled. And I had no idea that electronic readers needed to be turned off in a plane. I love my e-reader (iPad).

Hilary said...

Hi Ann .. you do seem to end up in escapades - just glad all was well .. I don't think I'd like to be in a tin can on a runway with a tornado around ..

I presume you found a way from Dublin to Waterford .. or perhaps that's another tale for another day .. Cheers Hilary

Susannah said...

Oh dear! What a tense time. I too am wondering what happened when you got to Dublin! :-)

Brigid said...

Tornado? Good for you, not having to stay overnight.

Ann said...

I tried to answer questions yesterday, but blogger was being uncooperative. Yes I made to Waterford....but had to wait for two hours in the airport for the next bus. Sure what's another two hours!!!

The tornado was a bit on the scary side. The plane swayed from side to side. Wasn't all that sure to believe pilot's utterances of how perfectly safe we were. After the tower had been evacuated!

I am still here to tell the tale....

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Ann, I am just thankful that I am hearing all this from you. We really don't know what we will run into or how we will travel when we are in the air. Do your self a favour, put away a dollar or two aside when you start a journey. When you get to your destination safe and sound, give that dollar to a homeless. It is a good way of thanking God. I do that with my son all the time. I give him a couple of dollars every time he visits us and goes back to Hawaii safe and sound. Then he takes out the money from the pouch I made for him and gives it to a homeless. This is Munir over here at Focus. Stay Safe:)

Talli Roland said...

It's never a dull moment when you travel, is it Ann?:)

Al said...

I once sat for about 8 hours at Frankfurt Airport (at the end of a 24 hour flight to London from Oz) because all of Europe was fogged out. So I guess I kind of know how you felt.

Len Lambert said...

Oh my word! If this happend to me, I would have freaked out!!! I'm glad you are safe, Ann.

Theresa Milstein said...

No Kindle during take off and landing? Now I'll have an excellent argument for the old-fashioned type, even if they do weigh down my luggage a bit more.

Poor you, Ann. I hope your return flight home is completely uneventful.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

At least you weren't in the air when the tornado struck...

I would have been the same; the applause would have stopped from me after the first speech. They're trained to deal with incidents like these so the "how great we are" speeches are totally unnecessary.

CJ xx

Rosalind Adam said...

Only just caught up with this final episode. Remind me never to travel when you're on the road! Just kidding. Glad you got back safe and sound. That tornado sounds horrendous though.

Ann said...

Rosalind, I don't even want to travel with me!