Thursday, July 12, 2007

How friendly are those skies?

I've had pretty good airline karma lately. (Even good baggage karma; after the debacle of my diverted luggage a few years ago, mine is consistently one of the first off of the carousel on any flight I take.) You'd think that even saying any of this is tempting fate, but I am not worried, because, well, my karma has completely deflated.

So, yes, yesterday morning the live reports at LaGuardia frightened me, and jumping out of the cab to see massive lines of weary, baggage-laden travelers trying to check in was horrifying. The first bank of self-service ticket machines was down, but despite a momentary panic attack, there was another that was both working and without much of a line. And amazingly, security had no line at all - I suppose it would as soon as the crowds waiting to check in got through, but I sailed past without a hitch. Flight? Left on time, arrived at my destination early. A gleeful taxi ride, practically aglow with the great luck I possess.

Fast forward to the end of the day, when I am back at Logan. No problem again at the security check, and the monitors say my flight is on time. But look, hmmm, the flight that was supposed to go to JFK an hour before mine? On extended delay. Weird. Seems all flights in and out of JFK are stopped, but LaGuardia is okay. We think. Our gate crew huddles and whispers and smiles when they are approached. The clock ticks, closing in on our departure time and we are still waiting. The CNN monitor dangling from the ceiling tells us that Lady Bird Johnson has died, and we're momentarily distracted. Then, suddenly, we're told to board. "Thank you for your patience!" says the chipper crew member, and one of her colleagues says something to her and she just shrugs.

On the plane, pushing back from the gate. Our first announcement, of many. Seems like LaGuardia is starting to limit flights coming in and out. We'll have another update in a half hour, but they wanted to get us on the plane and queued up to leave so as soon as it did open up, we'd be poised to move. The pilot gives a very lengthy explanation, as he does of every bit of information he shares over the next three hours. I think it was effective - at least we feel like we know what's going on and aren't being lied to, and it seems they want to get the hell out of there as much as we do. We watch as a plane sitting next to us has to return to the gate because they risk running out of fuel, a danger we're told we are prepared to avoid. But we sit, 20 of us, waiting for a flight that consists of only 45 minutes of actual flying time, for over three hours.

The penultimate announcement is that it's likely our flight will be cancelled. The storm coming from one direction (west?) has passed, but another is bearing down on NYC from the south. If we don't grab a window of opportunity in the next fifteen minutes or so, we're going to go back.

My mood is oddly calm. I'm not rushing to get anywhere (but home), the flight was leaving relatively early so that it wasn't yet the middle of the night, despite the delays, and I had the foresight to grab dinner in the airport, as well as a new book. We can use our cell phones and I break all of my personal taboos and have a long personal conversation in public. The plane is half empty so I have a row to myself so am not uncomfortable. (Comparatively.)

And then, boom, with barely an announcement, we have been given the go-ahead and the engines come on and we're moving and within a short time we're up up and away. An uneventful flight (a few bumps) and a quick landing.

Home. Three hours late, but home.

Now this is either the end of my good airline karma, or I'm now on the flip side and will run into trouble whenever I fly. Only time will tell.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Kevin said...

Wow, that is some amazing luck. I hope it continues for you, hehe. :)

2:52 PM  

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