Up, Up and Awa……wait a minute (or hours)
Just as I’m getting all excited to finally be on our way, things got interesting. I was lucky enough to be in boarding group 2 out of DIA. So I gave my less fortunate companions (all in group 4 or 5) a compassionate “See ya later Suckas!” and happily boarded the plane. Well, almost boarded the plane. As we get to the jetway, they announce that they are going to halt boarding momentarily, as the air is not working in the plane and they don’t want it to get too warm. So I threw my pack down in the jet way and made a little camp with some new friends. We were just chilling, until we saw the pilot walk by us into the terminal with his bags. That was not reassuring, and probably when we all started to wonder if we had any chance of making our next two connections before arriving in Haiti. It wasn’t long before they deboarded those of us “lucky” enough to have boarded to announce there was a hydraulic leak and the new part was being driven over to us.
You can only imagine the chaos this created amongst the fellow passengers. It never ceases to amaze me how everyone feels that their circumstance is worse than all others. As we (and by we, I mean 200 passengers) were waiting in line to book a different connection, this little lady comes up to the side of the desk and says, “I have a connection I’m going to miss, is there anyway I can cut to the front of the line.” HA!
We booked a new connection and happily boarded the flight (2nd time for myself). As I made my way to the very very back of the flight, I noticed that not only can I see the tarmac through the back of the plane, but there are about 3 mechanics hanging out of the plane. We all boarded and were patiently waiting for them to finish their work, when it became obvious we were never going to make our connection in Dallas. We also knew that there was the possibility of flying to Denver to LA to Miami in time for our Haiti flight Sat morning. So our group decided that it would be best to get off the flight and go to LA, where we told moments earlier would get us to Miami in time. 10 people and 10 very large obtrusive backpacks later, we made our way onto the jetway. The flight attendants started to book us onto the LA flight only to realize the LA to Miami leg was full. They then decided we should go to Dallas, spend the night, fly to Miami in the morning and then arrive in Haiti late afternoon on Saturday. This was a great solution, as we would just arrive in Haiti a few hours late and not miss an entire day.
The down side to this solution was that we were forced to board the plane AGAIN! So I picked up my pack (for the 3rd time!) and made my way through 24 rows of the aircraft. Boy, did we get some dirty looks. You can’t take a laptop, and a whole weeks worth of snacks, hygiene stuff and clothes through a very full 24 rows of an airplane and not get bad looks. The flight attendants assured us that we didn’t hold up the flight, as they had mounds of paper work to do after the repair was finalized, but I don’t think the other 200 people realized that. OUCH!
The good news is that American Airlines put us up in a hotel in Dallas and we all got to sleep in hotel rooms and not spend the night in Miami’s airport, per the original plan. And I got a Texas shaped waffle at the continental breakfast and that almost makes it all worth while. Almost.
Security through Dallas was strict and tore us apart. We must have looked like a bunch of runaways they way they scrutinized us. From bracelets to undisclosed stuffed animals, we were trouble makers with a capital T apparently. It only got worse when the reps at the check in desk demanded that our packs were too big and we were going to have to gate check them and couldn’t pick them up until Haiti! This was a daunting thought, as we knew that if we weren’t there immediately to pick up our packs, they most likely would get stolen. Each one of us had to prove that each pack could fit in the little trial box they have. It took some rearranging, tightening, stuffing, jumping and more tightening, but we got them all in the bin. It was a glorious moment for the team. I’m going to chose to look at the morning obstacles as a great chance for team building and some great stories. I’m relieved to say that in the end, our unnamed panda made the flight with us!
Now I’m finally on the way to Miami and if everything goes well, should be in Haiti by the end of the day! Whoohoo…but drink service is here and I’m parched---write more soon!