“May I have your attention please?” This was our representative for American Airlines who was working at the counter. “Unfortunately, your flight to Charlotte will be delayed because the plane cannot land due to heavy fog. They are in a holding pattern.” (Those poor people.)
Ugh. I’ve been here before.
Minutes later we were informed the plane had to leave to refuel and would be back even later, which would make us miss our connecting flight to Newark, so we had to change our connection to LaGuardia in NYC.
Because of the delay, we would have to board our flight in LaGuardia the same time we were getting off the plane from Charlotte. Yes, I said that.
“Are you sure we won’t get stuck in Charlotte?” I asked the airline rep at the desk.
“You will find a connecting flight,” she said.
When our time finally came to board, we had to decide. “Should we get on the plane?” I asked our group.
“We need to make a decision now,” Tyler said.
After some slow-motion banter, we decided to get on.
We were going to a special event in NYC and had been so excited about it for months. Our bags were on the plane, arrangements were made to leave the house for a few days, and we had new swag for our trip.
We took off. We didn’t die. We made it to Charlotte early!
Before I continue this exciting story, I must add that I am deathly afraid to fly. My legs seize up and my hands become layered with soupy sweat. I stare at the flight attendants and am convinced that each noise is part of the plane breaking off. It guts me and makes me want to pee my pants. Flotation devices with complicated instructions complemented NO alcohol being served quite terribly.
So, we got on our connecting flight to LaGuardia with optimism. I put effort into distracting my mind with The New Yorker crossword and some Downton Abbey on my phone.
“We may have delays due to the weather in New York,” the pilot said.
(Then why are we still going to take off?)
“The good news is, we are first in line to take off.”
Then, flight attendants started walking angrily and fast towards the back of the cabin, and after a few minutes, they escorted a man out. Not sure why.
“OK, the matter has been cleared. Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff.”
We went up and my hands began to drip. The landing gear noisily snuggled into their little boxes, and we were flying.
“We are cruising at an altitude of 36,000 feet.” Who needs to know that?
Not long into the flight, the pilot said, “I have a bit of bad news, due to the poor weather conditions in New York, we will have to remain in a holding pattern for at least 30 minutes.”
We were flying nowhere, like in circles. It must have looked ridiculous.
During this mess, I watched both pilots leave the cockpit at separate times to use the bathroom. When did this change? I thought that door was supposed to stay shut and sealed during all flights after 9/11.
I was becoming internally unhinged, but of course didn’t want to stress my people out, so I just tensed my muscles and waited.
“I have a bit of bad news. I’m sorry to tell you that we will have to land in Pittsburgh because we need to refuel.”
So, we’re running out of gas and going to a different airport.
We landed in Pittsburgh very quickly after that.
“Feel free to stand and stretch your legs if you wish,” the pilot said to us all in our big ole COVID capsule.
Not long after that comment he said, “We are going to let you off the plane. Feel free to get something to eat, but don’t go far.”
Restaurants were closed.
Then, we started hearing things like “five hours” and “as long as we get them there by 3AM.” It was 5:30 and we were supposed to be in NYC before 1PM.
We thought we could drive to NYC and get there in 6 and a half hours, but then would have to fly back on Monday. (Never flying again.) Then we decided to get a car and drive back home from Pittsburgh but couldn’t find a car. When we finally did, it was a Kia which I don’t like because, well, K.I.A. I threw a mini fit in the parking garage at the airport, got in the bad omen car, and we drove over eight hours to our home in NC.
On my writing list, I put down feeling at home. It’s about how when you first move to a new place, it takes awhile for it to feel like your home.
Once we became stranded, all I could think about was home. Our new home in North Carolina that I hadn’t emotionally latched on to yet, or so I thought. I was completely saturated in homesickness. I wanted to be home. The revelation warmed me.
It was a long drive and we finally arrived at 4:30 this morning. After no food, being awake for 25 hours, and flying, we came home and instantly found ourselves wrapped in her love. I have a savior to thank for this feeling, and two sweet angels who helped me get through yesterday via text. You girls have no idea how much I leaned on your words when you’ve already given me so much. NG and LA ❤