Friday, June 6, 2008

Frequent Flier Miles

Life is good in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Why was I in Charlotte? Because the flight to Raleigh from New York blew out an engine on take off, thus, causing an entire plane full of people to have to be shifted to other flights... and, to be honest, I thought I was in Raleigh until I went into the hotel lobby this morning.

The airport in Charlotte has great white rocking chairs where you can sit and watch the planes take off and land (with luck, no blown engines).... they also have free WiFi. Imagine. You can sit, rock, look and talk about what you are seeing, all while you wait for your plane after a night on a real bed, a real, honest to goodness bed after which you had a Southern breakfast with sausage and gravy and biscuits and grits.

I just checked my veins... there is sludge moving. I'm safe for a bit longer.

I was supposed to simply touch down in Raleigh, race to another plane, go to Houston, and grab a little commuter to another small town to answer a distress call from a friend. We were racing down the runway, doing around 120 MPH, when the pilot thankfully noticed one of the engines was just a teeny bit hot, as in overheated, as in getting ready to flame out. He stood on the brakes, causing some people to say it, then do it... thus removing the need to have on fresh underwear when they travel.

"Attention all passengers, please do not leave your seats. We have a slight maintaince problem... Bob and Chuck, our crack team, will look at the engine, and see what is wrong. Please do not worry."

This was the cue for a number of people to get off the plane.

Long lines formed to re-book, compounded by the cancelation of another flight... things didn't look good for my making it to Corpus Christi.

By the time I made it to the front of the line (the nice people on the phone couldn't do squat), the plane that was on the next gate was filled... I chatted to the gate agent, who is always your best friend. We talked about where she was from in Australia... always be able to pick up dialects.... and suddenly, she grabbed my hand, and hauled me to the next gate, shoving me in as the last passenger. I could hear someone being told his assigned seat was no longer in the system.


Thus, I ended up in Charlotte, that I thought was Raleigh, spending the night... back out to the airport, flying next to the only empty seat (again, be nice to the gate agent) to Houston, then on to Corpus in the front row (see above). My dear friend, CL, picked me up.... she's going through some stuff right now, and asked me to fly down. I'm here to help her get basics together, then, she'll fly back on Sunday with me, we'll drive back here in a couple of weeks, gather her furniture... and drive with a trailer to the Land O'Utes.

Amazing how plans change.

I continue to stand by my firm belief, if you can't figure out how to put on or take off your seat belt, and really have to be told.. do not fly. If you believe that little bitty seat cushion is going to save you, well, I've beach front property in Utah I can sell you, cheap. Damn the airlines for no snacks, pffffttt on extra charges for the second bag, and what is with no more pillows?

Still, I made it, Charlotte was great.... and, I'd like to go back sometime.

As a planned stop, this next visit.


Anonymous said...

It is some incredible kind of friend who will travel half way across the country to help another friend, going through stuff. Everyone should have such a wonderful, caring friend. Glad you finally got there OK. Safe travels.

Peter Varvel said...

I agree with Coastrat, dear friend my heart. And I AM glad that you did not end up taking off with an overheated engine.
I love when the winds of change blow you into an unexpected adventure, and the chance to be nice to people who are nice back to you!

inflammatory writ said...

I would have thrown up, cried, and then thrown up again if that had happened to me.

I have a TERRIBLE fear of flying. I do it, but I do need to take a tranquilizer to calm my nerves. An aborted take off would completely cancel it out! glad you're safe.

Writeprocrastinator said...

Is it true that everything in Charlotte closes down at 11PM?