Last year, I wrote this in a post:
I want to know why commercial flying sucks for me, always. It just royally blows all the time. In fact, it has gone bad so many times, I’m starting a personal boycott of all airline industries. Foreign and domestic. Delays, turbulence, flying into hurricanes, bailed landings, cancellations, stand-bys, re-routing in transit, people puking on the plane. No. Just, no. If you’re one of those people that has a glamorous and event-free flight every time you take off, then good for you. Seriously, hooray for your good fortunes (but ignore the creepily stitched voodoo doll I have of you in my closet.)
That boycott was real. I had trips to Las Vegas, Texas, Chicago, North Carolina, and etc. all planned out. I didn’t fly to a single one of them. We drove. It was lovely. Yes, it took hours. Yes, I was in a car with my husband for marriage-testing amounts of time, but I saw parts of the United States I’d never seen before. I bonded with my spouse and I got great writing material, but the best part of all…we actually ARRIVED at our planned destinations ON TIME.
I quit planes for one year and two months. I did not miss it. And then I decided to go to New York City for the Writer’s Digest annual summer conference.
It had to be a quick trip.
We could not drive.
Surely my karma with the flying industry had been restored, right? I mean, no one can have terrible luck every time they fly…right?
Here are some snippets from real life conversations, words, and moments from our time spent at MSP and EWR:
[Cell phone vibrates succinctly on tabletop of sandwich café in MSP amongst a backdrop of cheers as Katie Ledecky swims another kickass preliminary heat]
Jordan: Flight delayed (he mumbles, barely even glancing at his phone as if it’s not even worth the trouble. I shrug my shoulders and continue to eat my French fries. Ho hum.)
[4 hours later]
Shirley: We’re pushed back another hour (eyes still glued to Olympic gymnastics stream on iPad.)
Jordan: Awesome, I’m getting another beer.
[2 hours later]
Shirley: I think we might actually be leaving now!
[Sits on plane for additional hour and a half. Takes off, lands in Newark six hours later than originally planned.]
Jordan: You know…if we would have left when we woke up this morning and drove to New York…we would have made it here around the same time.
Shirley: Does our hotel room have a mini bar?
[Crazy, busy two and a half days in the city ensues. I learn a lot. I spend almost $50 on two turkey sandwiches. I vow to never complain about my Midwest grocery bill ever again. I cry at the 9/11 memorial. I eat macaroni. After we check out of the hotel, we take a nauseatingly two-hour Uber ride back to Newark for our flight scheduled to leave at 5:00PM EDT. I smell like mothballs. We check in, grab a snack, and sit at our gate. No texts. No delays. Hooray!]
Jordan: I’m going to give you my first class upgrade. Everyone should fly first class once in their life.
Shirley: I knew I married you for a reason.
[I board the plane and sit in my recliner in first class.
The peasants Everyone else boards the aircraft. I hold my iPad in my lap, anxiously waiting for take-off so I can watch Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.]
[We sit at the gate for another hour.]
Captain: Folks, just giving you an update. ATC has notified us there’s some weather north of here so we’re just programming in a new route and going to push off once our computers are done calculating. Thanks for your patience.
[We push off and travel about 50 yards. Airplane engines cut off. Hordes of planes take off around us. We don’t move for another hour.]
Captain: uhhhh folks another update here from the flight deck. ATC is now holding us trying to get another new flight plan. We’ll update you as soon as we know more. Thanks for your patience.
[I bust out my Entertainment Weekly. I give zero @#$%s because I’m in first class, bitches. We sit for a while, and then we drive around the tarmac for a while, and then we sit some more, and then we circle the runways some more.]
First Class FA: would anyone like a seltzer?
Passenger: I only drink Perrier.
Another Passenger: My pantsuit is wrinkled. Will United pay for my dry cleaning?
Passenger Behind Me: My connecting flight for Vancouver leaves in 45 minutes. Will we make it in time?
Perrier Snob: On second thought, Fiji is fine.
Captain: Alright folks, we’re going to head back to the gate and await further instruction from air traffic control. We’ll let you off the plane so you can mosey around the terminal until we know more.
Vancouver: I think this is bad.
[We eventually make it back to the gate after a few victory laps. Seatbelt sign is turned off. Ground Crew boards the plane and picks up microphone.]
GC: This is your grounds crew and I need to inform you this flight to Minneapolis has just been cancelled.
Entire airplane: @#$% @#$%^&* #$%^& @#$%^&*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[I sit in line at the customer service desk to see if we can get re-booked on another flight. I actually make a friend. Her flight to San Diego has also been cancelled. This has never happened to her before.]
Delayed Friend: What about you? Have you done this before?
Me: Yeah, unfortunately this isn’t my first rodeo.
DF: Oh, no I meant at this airport.
Me: Oh. Well…yeah same answer applies LOLZ. Apparently everything headed West has been grounded because there’s a shower somewhere out in Pennsylvania.
DF: I missed my connecting flight and can’t get out until tomorrow now. I’m here to ask if they’ll pay for a hotel room.
Me: Oh you’re in the wrong line. The tequila bar is that way.
[My phone rings. Jordan informs me we’ve already been re-booked and he’s just waiting for our bags to get pulled off the plane. I run to find him where it takes the crew 45 minutes to retrieve the luggage because apparently everyone has gone home for the day. It is now 8:00PM EDT.]
Jordan: The only other flight leaving for Minneapolis is tomorrow at 11AM.
Jordan: I’ve already called my boss.
Shirley: I don’t get to fly first class ever again, do I?
[We book a hotel room and spend the night in Newark. I get to watch the Olympics. Silver lining. Our flight the next day is normal. We have no delays and actually land in Minneapolis half an hour early. Our captain wants us to praise them on social media. I respectfully decline.]
Jordan: You know, if we’d have left New York yesterday when we woke up, we could have driven here and back by now.
Shirley: I am re-instating our boycott.
Jordan: I knew I married you for a reason.
– S.A. Dees