Whenever I travel I like to maximize my vacation time, meaning my return flight always gets in fairly late. That combined with the fact that without fail things seem to go awry on the way back means I never manage to make it home before 11 p.m. But since my return from California was going to take practically the whole day anyway and The Best Friend had class, I decided just this once to catch an early flight and make it home for dinner.
This would mean getting up at a fairly horrendous hour, but at least I would get home in time to relax and get a good night’s sleep before work the next day. The only other downside of the flight was having only an hour to change planes in Atlanta, where they seem to have a rule that your connecting flight must be at the absolute opposite end of the airport. When The Flying Crane asked when to expect me, I said that if all went as scheduled I would be back by 6:30, but since I had never managed to make it home from a trip at a decent hour before, I wouldn’t count on me being back before she went to bed.
Sometimes I hate being right.
After doing the unthinkable and setting my morning alarm for a time beginning with 5, I said my farewells to The Best Friend and got on my flight in San Francisco around 7:30 a.m. local time. Somehow I lucked into sitting in the emergency row on the left side of the plane, which gave me a front row seat for the comedy of errors that was to be played out in the emergency row to my right.
Over the next hour I alternated between ignoring, sighing, and chuckling at the idea that we were being delayed by a broken tray table. Apparently since the aforementioned tray was in the emergency row, this constituted a DIRE SITUATION that had to be remedied before take-off. And this was not a quick fix, oh no. It required the consultation of at least three technicians to solve this complex and delicate problem.
My one hope came in the flight attendant’s announcement that the only flight they would most likely hold in Atlanta was the one to DC, since there were 21 of us making that connection and it would be too complicated for them to make other arrangements. So when we managed to touch down in Atlanta 10 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off and I learned the departing gate was very close, I shifted my worry to the fact that I had barely eaten all day and now it looked like I would be skipping not only lunch but dinner in favor of airline pretzels.
I needn’t have worried. I burst out of the plane only five minutes after my flight was scheduled to depart to learn that they had decided not to wait and I now had four and a half hours in which to find sustenance before the next flight to DC. A $10 meal voucher was a pretty poor consolation prize. Although I will admit the $25 off coupon for future travel means I will probably be using the airline again for my next trip.
I just walked in the door around 11:45, making my total travel time today about 14.5 hours. I’m not sure if that’s a record for me but it definitely constitutes a LONG day. Someday maybe I will have a return flight that doesn’t warrant a 500 word post on my blog.