Getting There is Half the Fun (?)

businessmanImagine you’re going on a cruise which starts in Quebec Canada.  You live in Utah, so you must travel from point A to point B which involves getting on an airplane.  Flying is not my favorite activity. It makes me nervous, but I’m fine as long as I don’t think about the fact that I’m hurtling through the air in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the ground.

 

So the last thing I want to see is this.

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Yes, this was my tray table on our flight from Atlanta to Toronto.

Now I understand that that things break and cannot always be fixed immediately, but this caution tape was a bit much. What you can’t tell from this picture, is the tape was wrinkled, torn and stretched and had clearly been there a long time. Seeing things like his causes one to wonder about the maintenance of the plane in general. Was there a weathered piece of tape holding the engine together? I sent this picture to the airline since they were apparently unaware of the problem.

Our next stop was the Toronto airport. We knew we had a tight connection, further complicated by the fact that we were crossing the border into Canada. As we got off the plane we had to go through security again. Unfortunately, there were only two lines open for the masses of people who were anxiously assembling. When it was finally our turn my husband’s bag inexplicably set off an alarm. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong and they ultimately let us go, but by now we were getting nervous and began to speed walk. As we turned a corner we ran into a room full of automated PASSPORT CHECK KIOSKS!

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These machines are notoriously finicky and complicated, but somehow we pushed all the right buttons, got our pictures taken, laughed uproariously at my husband’s which looked like a drunken mug shot, then began to run.

running

It wasn’t long before we noticed several other panicked people running alongside us. Apparently, we were all going to the same place to catch the flight which was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes.

This was the longest concourse ever.  We raced through a maze of twists and turns, upstairs and down until we finally arrived at the correct terminal. Phew, we’d made it! Those who hadn’t collapsed along the way somewhere slumped against walls and sank into chairs, trying to catch their breath.
An hour later we finally began boarding the plane.
How annoying. 😐

On the bright side,  it turned out that most of these people would be cruising with us so it was fun to get to know each other beforehand.

As we filed onto the plane I noticed a man trying to stuff his bag into the overhead compartment. It was clearly not going to fit.  Silly man I thought smugly, his bag is either too big, or he’s crammed way too much stuff in it. Feeling very superior, I reached to place my appropriately sized bag into the compartment.
Uh Oh – it wouldn’t fit.
These were the smallest overhead compartments in the history of aviation – possibly a holdover from the days when everyone checked their luggage?  Anyway, after unpacking and rearranging our bags we managed to fit them into their tiny receptacles.

At last, the plane began to taxi down the runway. We taxied and taxied and taxied until people began cracking jokes about whether we were just going to drive to Quebec. After a half an hour – I timed it – we took off. Everything was fine from there and we arrived at our destination without further incident. End of story? Well not really.

mistake-4084211__34010 days later, we were flying home from Orlando Florida. It was a late flight and we were scheduled to arrive home at midnight.  All was well until we got about an hour and a half into the trip. At this point, the intercom crackled into life and the pilot announced there was something wrong with the fuel line.  We would have to return to Florida. Sigh.

We backtracked, landed, got off the plane, waited around while they rounded up another plane, and another flight crew (the current crew would have been in the air too long by the time we reached our destination).   Re-situated at last, we started over and arrived in Salt Lake at 4:00 AM.  God Bless the Uber driver who showed up in the wee hours, driving a vehicle with no caution tape or broken fuel lines.

Needless to say, we were immensely happy to arrive home, and vowed never to travel again . . . NOT! My husband and I love to travel and it would take a lot more than this to make us stop.  But in closing, I’d just like to say, whoever coined the phrase “Getting there is half the fun,” has clearly never traveled with me.

What about you – any airport adventures? I’d love to hear about them!

29 thoughts on “Getting There is Half the Fun (?)

  1. Pingback: Favorite U.S. Destinations- Columbus, Ohio | The Library Lady Travels

  2. ouch you really struck a chord with many on this one! Great story well told.

    I have no fear of flight, we will all die someday just don’t know where when or how. I always figured falling out of the sky would be fairly quick = less pain. Not that I’m suggesting airlines should try that.

    But if you and hubby enjoy travel it might be worth relocating closer to a port to avoid more air travel. Give me a ticket and I will travel. I can tell you about bus and train trips that would curl your hair and your toes but air travel has been fine and I’ve done plenty of it 🙂

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  3. This is a great story. I enjoyed reading it. I love travelling but I don’t know if I’ll ever fly again. My last flight was a little hop from Sydney to Melbourne, Australia after a long haul flight from the UK. It takes a little more than an hour to get from Sydney to Melbourne. The plane basically goes up then comes down again. On the descent my right ear drum felt like they would burst. The flight attendant told me to swallow but it did no good. I was back on terra firma for hours before the effect wore off. Someone said later it was the particular low budget airline that I flew with. They have had the same problem on that flight with that airline. With the bigger airline it doesn’t happen. Maybe the bigger airline flies higher or lower – no idea really but the whole experience made me really worried about flying again.

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  4. One time I was flying from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles when just after takeoff you could tell something was wrong. Sure enough, the pilot turned the plane directly around and we made a quick landing.(They must have cleared a runway with some kind of emergency procedure.) As we got up to exit the plane, the woman who had been sitting across from me announced that she was done. She had flown from back east on her way to Hawaii and this was the second time on the trip that had plane had turned around with problems. She said it was a sign and she didn’t want to risk flying over the Pacific.
    Over the years I have had several strange things happen, but never on an overseas trip. Has anyone ever had a over water problem they can talk about?

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    • Oh my. Basically the only way to endure flying is to pretend that you’re not risking your life. That’s hard to do when you’re being reminded by things going wrong right in front of your eyes. Honestly, I’ve flown a lot and had mostly positive experiences. I choose to dwell on those and get my anxieties out by writing the occasional whiney blog post.

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  5. Gosh. What a trial. Was this a budget airline? They seem to have more of these sorts of problems, however the larger airlines are not immune either!! I hope your next flight is straightforward!

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  6. Okay that caution tape on your tray table would have unnerved me too. *lol* And I couldn’t help but wonder where you placed your food and drinks? XD When we flew to the Frankfurt Book Fair our airplane landed and all of a sudden the alarm went off saying: “Emergency, please stay seated and use the oxygen mask above your head.” The weird thing was that none of the oxygen masks even fell down and that the alarm went for solid ten minutes before someone turned it off. There was no apology from the crew and no comment about it. Makes you wonder what would have happened if we would have been up in the air and if it would have been an actual emergency. No oxygen masks would have been deadly then…

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    • Seriously, I can’t believe no one said anything! That must have been really upsetting. As for the tray table, I was sitting next to my husband so we shared. If I had been traveling alone, I probably would have more of a fuss. As it was, I chose to laugh rather than turning into a giant stress bomb. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Yes, my husband and I were a little slow😐 getting to a flight one time. We knew we were cutting it close when we started hearing P.A. announcements asking for us. Our friends were panicking.

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