Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- Those Unexpected "Bumps" In The Itinerary

Delta jets parked side-by-side

  As we all know, flight delays happen for a number of reasons!  Some have nothing to do with the Airline, and everything to do with the state of the expressways!  So it was last Tuesday evening in Honolulu!
I had given myself a Birthday gift of a confirmed seat round trip- doing away with the "standby" jitters. (Good thing. The flight was full!)  So- there I sat at the boarding area, smug in the knowledge that no matter how full the flight, I was going to be on that airplane!  The expression "Pride cometh before a fall" may not exactly apply here, but it comes close.

Normally the call to board comes 20 to 30 minutes before departure.  Instead, the gate agent came on the P.A. with the apologetic announcement that our entire crew was stuck in traffic! 

Now, there are two main expressways on Oahu.  One goes from east to west.  The other north to south. The city of Honolulu, where the flight crews overnight is east of the airport.  I've been told that the traffic normally is pretty horrendous. But now there's a mass transit train system being built, some of which is causing construction on the expressway!  What normally would take 30-40 minutes for the crew to arrive was taking 2 1/2 hours! And the shuttle bus that was picking them up was being delayed over and over!  Yep, what a mess!

But back to the boarding area.  I found it interesting to sit and watch from a passenger's perspective, since usually I was on the Flight Crew end of things.  Originally the flight was to leave around 8:30 p.m.  By 10 p.m. it seemed that everyone was wilting! Children who were playing, running, and laughing now were whining or sleeping on their parents. Passengers in wheel chairs were asking the gate agent to find someone to help them get to the restrooms.

An agent came around with a basket of snacks- (chips, cookies,etc) The conversations in my area were mainly about missing connections in Seattle. (My thinking also)  I was amazed that most people seemed to be fairly relaxed about the whole situation.  Perhaps that was the relaxed Island attitude, or maybe everyone was just too tired to get excited!

All at once we saw our Flight Crew! The whole boarding area broke out in applause! Some whistled, others shouted YEAH! The poor flight crew looked like they had already been on a long trip! Well- a bit "road weary" would better describe it.

20 minutes later we boarded the aircraft.  Before take-off the Captain came on with his announcement, plus a brief explanation of events leading to the delay. At this point, all passengers seemed to just be grateful to be going.

There's something wonderful about "take-off"! Roaring into the air, watching the earth fall away as one heads toward the sky. After over 40 years, it still gives me a thrill!  The flight itself was uneventful, with the crew doing a fine job taking care of us.

Once in Seattle I checked to see what Delta had done with me, since I missed my connection to Detroit. They had me on the next flight- leaving in 3 hours.  Since I've rarely been able to sleep on airplanes, I had now been up quite a while.  I wandered the Seattle airport, refusing to shut my eyes in fear that I would miss yet another flight!

I rode their train to the main terminal,  ate at a restaurant, (though I wasn't hungry), played Sudoku until my eyes were heavy, and then walked, rode the train, and walked some more.

Back at the boarding area and waiting for my flight to Detroit- I watched a sweet act of kindness.

 A woman with a baby and two small children was struggling to keep the bags, kids, and stroller all under control.  An elderly couple who was seated nearby watched for a while, then the gentleman disappeared.  He came back in a few minutes with puzzles and "cheese and cracker" snacks for the two oldest ones.  (I assume he got these items at the nearby airport store) He asked the woman if it was alright to give these to her children, then sat on the floor with them and helped them with their puzzles. He told the woman they were traveling to see his own young grandchildren who he missed acutely.  His wife reached in her large carry on bag and pulled out a large zip- lock bag of grapes and handed them to the mother. She told the young mother that she often traveled by train when she was a young mother, with 6 children!!  At one point the elderly woman held the baby, giving the young mother's arms a rest. The elderly couple prepared to help the young mother with boarding. The whole scene was sweet and heart warming!

Except for the take-off, my flight from Seattle to Detroit was a bit of a blur! Still unable to sleep, I gazed out the window- watching the amazing scenes below. The constant change of terrain and color was wonderful. Then- nothing but clouds. I realized we were entering the "cold weather" zone!  My suntan was fading by the time we were on approach to Detroit!  My son David picked me up from baggage claim-  a blessing, for sure!

So that was my return from Paradise! The cool weather wasn't freezing enough to be a shock to the system, the house was where I left it, my plants were alive (thanks to son David for watering them) , and all was well.

I pulled my bags into the house, happy in the knowledge they would get unpacked at some point- or day- or week. Around 6 p.m. I finally laid down on the sofa for a "quick" nap- woke at midnight, and that was it. I couldn't get back to sleep! I was on Honolulu time!

I learned a long time ago that you don't fight insomnia- you just find something to do- and there's always something to do, even during the wee hours of the morning!

So ended my return adventure! I'm safe, sound, and healthy! Delta had made sure I was on the next flight to Detroit. (They actually had offered a travel voucher if I would give up my seat and take a later flight. If I hadn't been so tired, I would've taken it!)

So- Life is indeed an adventure! Some adventures are huge, some small- but all interesting.

Stay tuned to see what new "adventure" awaits--big or small--just around the corner!!


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