Why must my every cross-country trip be a collection of various snafu's? If it is not fog, it is ice. If it is not the plane's on-board computer, it is the wing flap. I actually thought I would make it to Miami in record time yesterday. I woke at 4am to no fog. I breezed through the airport security screening. I boarded the plane a full 15 minutes prior to our scheduled departure. The pilot cruised us on out to the runway...on time! And, then it happened. He promptly made an awkward u-turn and faced that jet right back toward the concourse. NO!!!
The pilot declared there was "something" wrong with the wing flap. So we sat. We waited for a mechanic to be roused from sleep. We waited while he tested a number of systems to determine the problem. We waited while he physically located and researched the problem. After a full hour, the flight attendants finally let us off the plane where we waited while the mechanic actually fixed the problem. Now, I am a big fan of wing flaps. I would never fly with a broken one. But why my plane?
It was clear I was going to miss my connection in Dallas so I re-booked myself on a later flight. I would get to Miami at 8:30pm instead of 6:00pm. OK. Not devastating. I get to Dallas. I down an airport hamburger. I go to my gate. I am pleasantly surprised that we board just a few minutes behind schedule. No worries...we can make those minutes up in the sky. I get to my seat. I get buckled in. I read my book. I read my book. I read my book. Page after page. Finally, I look at my watch. We have been sitting on the plane for close to an hour! I look out my window and the crew is loading up bags. Well, at least my bag will make this crazy delay. People are getting restless. I notice it is suffocatingly hot. I start to cough. And, I cough. And, I cough. I try to hold it in and I feel myself get all red in the face. I panic because I know people are thinking, "Oh great! Ms. Germ Spreader is on board!" I cough into the sleeve of my sweatshirt. "Please," I think to myself, "I need AIR!" I finally rummage through my backpack and find a cough drop (I am whacked out on cough drops by the end of this flight). The plane finally rumbles to the runway with no clear explanation for the delay. I look at my watch and think we should be in Miami by 9:30pm or so.
It is 10:15pm when we land in Miami. I am in the very back of the plane and it takes no less than 20 minutes to get off. People are holding up the line down the center with rearranging their bags and saying "Oh, should I meet you in the terminal?" to their friends. Just get OFF the plane! I start to cough again. If I take another cough drop I will puke.
I find baggage claim and wait for the belt to fire up. It finally does. Round and round the bags go. I get a sick feeling when the people start to thin out and the same few bags keep passing by. I can't believe it. I sat in Dallas at the gate while they loaded bags and mine did not make it? I ask an incredibly unhelpful TSA agent if he can track down my bag. "No, not really," he replies. Why do they even have bar codes and baggage claim check stickers?
I can't call my dear hubs because he is putting the kids to sleep. I call my parents and relay my woes. I tell my mom I am on the edge. I am so annoyed. I am rambling away into the phone and I realize people are looking at me. What is their problem!?!? Then I realize I have been pacing back and forth in front of the baggage conveyor belt like a caged tiger ready to pounce. These people thing I am losing it. I relay this to my mom and she laughs because she can picture me all wore out and gross looking pacing like a loon.
I disconnect with my mom and go look at the arrival board. One more flight coming in at 11:30 from Dallas. My bag has to be on that flight. I find a seat. I place my face in hands and I pray for my luggage. It has been such a retched day I really want to sleep in my pj's and brush my teeth. Just when my last sad frayed nerve is about to snap I see my bag come out of the shoot. I say, "Thank you God!" and I whip that puppy up.
It is well after 1:00am when I go to sleep. I sleep until 11:45am and then decided I should probably get myself ready for the beginning of the meeting. I have a few days to recover and then I will begin the adventure home. My dear mother said, "If you have to sleep in the airport, don't sleep next to the window this time." Maybe I should start packing an air mattress in my carry-on.