~22 hours in airplane hell

So, I’m back. I’ll write up how the trip went with some pictures over the next week or so, but I had to tell the unfortunate tale of airplane hell I went through yesterday. My original itinerary was: Seattle depart, 11:22 PM. Arrive Chicago at 5:40AM’ish. Wait for next plane which departed at 6:25, arrive Hartford before noon. Instead what happened was:

1) Seattle plane delayed by 20 minutes, which was then delayed another 40 minutes because they sent a guy onto the plane with a cat carrier which wouldn’t fit under the seat, only the baggage folks didn’t agree, bickered, sent people onto the plane to play tetris with the cat carrier (trying to stuff it under various seats), until they finally made the guy check the cat in as baggage. During the flight, I get 3’ish hours of fitful sleep.

2) Arrive Chicago at 6:30. Rush frantically to gate on the other side of the airport to witness my plane rolling away from the gate. Talk to customer service – get waitlisted on an 11:45AM flight. Get coffee, wander terminal, curse my fate for 5’ish hours. Try to get on flight, fail.

3) Fallback plane, I have a guaranteed seat on a 1:12 PM flight. Wander terminal. More cursing of fate. Watch as plane gets delayed in 20 minute increments, for 3 hours, moving from gate to gate as it gets reshuffled to other gates as part of this process. Watch in bemusement as the terminal starts to get overstuffed with people on delayed flights due to thunderstorms on the east coast.

4) Finally start boarding at 4:15, we are warned as we board that we may have problems due to the thunderstorms.

5) Arrive Hartford and are told we can’t land. Spend ~45 minutes circling at 32k feet in a tight spiral, until we have to bail due to low fuel. Diverted to Syracuse where we have a rough landing due to storms. Spend more than 2 hours stuffed in a hot, muggy, stinky, not air conditioned plane waiting for the storms to pass so they can refuel us. They run out of drinks before the drink tray makes it to us.

6) finally take off and have a rough flight to Hartford, where we land around 11PM, ending with me almost to the point of kissing the pavement I am so pleased to have escaped from airline hell. I speed off at 80MPH with a trail of mist behind me in the rain, grateful to finally be in control of my own fate again.

Thankfully the trip was really excellent which offsets the horrible flight experience. I’ll write more about that later.

0 thoughts on “~22 hours in airplane hell

  1. Drew says:

    You know, after reading it again, I am surprised that they didn’t hold your connecting flight for you. It isn’t like you were horribly late for it if you saw it pulling away from the gate. That is quite lame on the airlines part. They could have called gate to gate and said hold the plane for 5 minutes and you would have been all set.
    You should write them a nasty gram and complain about that. I bet you get a voucher.

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  2. dlh says:

    It was super lame. I was not the only person on that seattle flight that was connecting to hartford, either, there were at least a half dozen of us, several of which got on the earlier 11 AM flight ahead of me ;-(. The rest ended up on the 1thatbecame4 flight later in the day. Complaining to the airlines is like beating your head against a brick, nothing but trouble. One of the women with me went super ballistic on them and all she got was to sit on the marble floor with me for hours and hours, hissing into her phone to some friend about how pissed she was. Not worth the hassle for me, I just try to let things go.

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  3. Nick S. says:

    Yitbos, that’s a horrible plane story. Sitting on the plane interminably (so to speak) with no air is the WORST! Last time that happened to me they shut off the overhead lights too so I couldn’t even read. Just had to sit there and meditate.

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  4. dlh says:

    Ugh. I had my ipod with me but the battery had run out of juice because of me using it in chicago for ~10 hours. They left the lights on though and I did read for part of it, in fact I ended up loaning a book to another guy because I had several in my carryon and people were bored to tears.

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