Two years ago we had an early flight and rushed around the night before getting everything ready. This year I decided to avoid that hassle and we booked a flight for about 11:30. We connected through Memphis and were on the ground in Orlando about 5:20 local time. Which was approximately nine minutes early. Sometimes you can attribute that to luck, a nice tail wind or a pilot who is trying to beat weather.
Our pilot let us know there was severe weather south of Orlando. He didn’t however let us know he planned to race it to the runway. We came in like we were trying to avoid detection by an automated missile defense system. You look out the window and think, “hey, all right, we’re descending, we’ll be on the ground shortly.”
Then you look out the window and notice rain is only one side of the plane and the wings are shearing off the tops of trees. We hit the tarmac and it felt like the plane was dancing from side to side hopping from one set of wheels to the other. Thankfully, the lady next me who was upset she didn’t get to sit next to her husband, narrated the entire episode. And she did it in an especially appealing nasally voice. The same voice she used to talk to her husband, who was seated in the row behind us, the entire duration of the flight. Excellent.
Not as excellent as Bailey on our first flight from Des Moines to Memphis however. Bails, as sometimes happens, goes to the bathroom in a series of trips instead of in one really serious visit. Oh, don’t be fooled, she hit the head in Des Moines before we went through security. Then again, twice, as we waited at our gate. Then again on the plane. Then she methodically, as if she was on some sort of timing belt, bombed our row with silent noxious fumes. Flight attendants were dropping like sacks of wet flour.
“Geez, Bails is that you tooting?”
“Yeeeees. Sorry. I have to go the bathroom.”
“You’ve went about 45 times since we left home.”
“I have to go again.”
As luck would have it, we’re on our descent so she can’t get up and use the plane’s restroom. We land, rumble along for a few minutes and then…
…we stop about 50 feet from our gate because the jet way is malfunctioning.
Turns out to be a short delay and we’re off the plane in search of a bathroom.
We locate one, send Rye in there with Bails and 20 minutes later Rye emerges first with a look that can only be described as astonishment fused with agony.
“Dad, holy cow, she was in there for like an hour.”
We have about an hour till our next flight and we’re all hungry. Especially Bails because, well, she’s got some extra room now.
We find 4 sandwiches, 4 bags of chips and 2 bottles of water. $42.50. Seriously.
So Mom has all the cash now as we get on the plane for Orlando. And aside from the trip long narration, it wasn’t a bad flight. Got to read a lot Jeff Shaara’s latest awesome book – The Final Victory. If you’re history dumb, and judging by recent test scores most of you are, read Jeff Shaara. You’ll accidentally learn.
Anyway, back to our landing in Orlando. We’re rolling to our gate when the pilot tells us that due to the severe weather he raced to the runway, we might be delayed getting off the plane.
Wait, what? We’re already on the freaking ground. We already landed. Planes can’t taxi through rain?
Regardless, none of us are happy. Least of which is Bails. Why? Bathroom. Lots of fiber in those airport sandwiches evidently.
Then the lights flicker and go out.
“Ladies and gentleman we’ve temporarily lost the air conditioning. As soon as it is operational, we will get it up and running. Thank you.”
Awesome. After a few minutes its hotter than the inside of Anthony Weiner’s pants.
We luck out and get the AC going, get to our gate, disembark, meet my sister, nephew and parents and head to the baggage claim. At which time we make camp and begin making smores.
“Due to severe weather in the area we are unable to unload the baggage from the flights listed on the monitors at baggage claim areas 30 and 31. When the weather allows us to proceed we will get your bags to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.”
I’m not the smartest guy on the planet, my acid wash Guess jeans in high school are proof of that, but why can’t you unload baggage from a plane in the rain? No way the airlines give a crap about our bags getting drenched. Most people aren’t traveling with metal satchels strapped to the backs. So what’s up? I assume lightning is to airports what kryptonite is to Superman. Or capitalism is to Obama. And I totally understand not taking off or landing in lightning. As our descent and previous landing experience already taught us. Man, our pilot musta been like, “Dudes, lightning…buckle up, we’re beating this bad boy to the strip.”
But why can’t you unload bags?
Anyway, we’re waiting in baggage claim and look over and a couple is sitting against the wall doing the same thing. Except they have two puppy’s with them. And one is in the process of making a deposit at Brown’s National Bank. Yeah, he looked like a small furry U-boat laying mines.
What. The. Hell?
Thankfully, after about an hour we had our bags and were on our way to my folks house. We’ll see how the rest of the trip goes…