Don't Make Change too Complicated: Just Begin!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our 47th State is Missing: Part 2

Well, after Cece finally got her luggage checked, she found her way to her flight gate only to find out the plane was running late. No problem. It ended up just about 15 minutes late and they boarded shortly thereafter!
Cece entrusted herself , this time, to carry bagels back to a friend...but would she be able to hold onto them...or would she pass them out like she did the biscotti on the way over? 

Once everyone was seated on the plane, as it sat at the gate, an official came onto the plane and told them 18 people had to leave the plane or else the plane would remain sitting at the gate until 18 people got off…however long that took, that is how long they would sit at the gate…it seems the plane was too heavy.
So there we all sat, contemplating our schedules, agendas, reason we were flying in the first place…and immediately 3 people got off…15 more to go. In the next hour of hot sweaty breathless interior plane air, 15 more people got off and finally we were set….or where we? People were angry. People escalated. People threatened and cursed…mostly at the flight attendants. But. it was not their fault. It was the weather.
The plane pulled out of the gate and taxied for a bit and stopped. The pilot came on and told us that we were 22nd in line and that we would be off in a little while. Then, the airport closed. Nothing went up or down….and we sat…and we sat…and we sat. We sat for three full hours in one place on the tarmac. Looking out, we could see lots of other planes, parked…no one was coming or going at all.
People escalated even more as they realized that they would not make their connections. They threatened. They worried. They panicked. They drank.  Cece’s  seat mates asked for vodka….she asked for her  drug of choice…coffee.   It was ugly.

Cece is now certain that flight attendants must take mandatory classes in counseling! Watching the ways they handled all these upset passengers was amazing…including setting limits in no short terms about how much abuse they would take.

The Casablanca Plane:

And so it came to pass, that Cece missed her connecting flight and ended up in Denver at an ungodly hour. She was able to catch the last plane out and was ushered through the passenger gate to her plane. As she walked and walked down hallways and alley ways into the bowels of the airport, Cece wondered, “Where is her plane?” She walked down fight upon flight of steps. Where was she going? Finally, she saw her gate number 73 …handwritten on a piece of paper that was taped and flapping in the open breeze way of an open doorway. She showed her boarding pass and was told to get on her plane. Cece looked out. Once she left this doorway…she would walk down a gang plank and onto the runway. There she saw several tiny planes….she asked “Which is my plane?” The attendant pointed “That one” “Which one?”, Cece asked. Again the attendant said,. “That one” Now mind you…”that one” could have meant any one of a collection of planes that Cece considered  way too small for her liking. Finally she said, “Tell me the color of my plane.” The woman heaved a sigh and said “Blue and white.” Cece looked and there was her plane. It looked like a Casablanca era vintage plane to her tired bleary eyes. The stairs to the plane folded out of the doorway and she had to walk up steep high steps and into the plane. Once she made it in, she felt like a sardine in a can. Several of them were packed in there tightly.

Well, needless to say, Cece made it back in one piece, with bagels in hand...very tired, but none the worse for wear. Really, the airlines need to have better and more efficient contingency plans for when things go wrong and Cece wrote several email to United’s customer service her first morning back to tell them just that. Perhaps there will be a part 3 post given their responses to her email….. or not.