Flying Home for the Holidays

Flying Home for the Holidays

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Random Family just arrived today in the mail, just in time for Winter Break and for my four-and-a-half-hour flight home to San Diego.

After a very busy semester and here on the tail-end of finishing up all of my grading, it was a delight to receive this package in the mail today. Aviya Kushner suggested the book for me, because it deals with family issues, something that I write about, but the style is different than mine. Where I tend to write more sparsely, with less detail, Adrian LeBlanc gives you every detail. I’m excited to finally read this book and to read for pleasure over the winter break.

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Fast forward to two days later…

I quite possibly had the worst plane ride of my life today. I just arrived home to my mom’s house after a ten hour travel day, and I couldn’t be more tired.

There was a medical emergency on my first plane from Chicago into Denver. I normally choose nonstop flights, but they’re more expensive at this time of year, so I opted for the cheaper flight. Never again. The flight attendant announced that there was a medical emergency at the front of the plane and asked if any medical personnel were on board. Luckily, there were three people who came to the front of the plane. I think, in the end, it wasn’t a life-threatening emergency, but for an hour, the plane was pretty silent and everyone was peeking over their neighbor’s chair to see what was going on. A small note: I really needed to use the restroom, and couldn’t, because the front bathroom was blocked and there was an incredibly long line at the back restroom. Not too big of a deal, given the circumstances, so I decided to wait until we reached Denver.

Upon arriving in Denver, I realized I would only have about 15 minutes to reach my connecting flight. Denver isn’t a small airport, so I knew I would probably miss my connection. Luckily, most flights were delayed due to a snow storm that was brewing, so I made it just in time for the last boarding call. Out of breath and still needing to use the restroom, I found a seat in a row that had an empty middle seat, and thought, phew, the flight isn’t crowded and I made it. What luck!

We’ll, fast forward again to the pilot announcing thirty minutes later that we would all need to de-board the plane so that the flight crew could drain excess fuel for safety reasons. Say what? We all leave the plane and head to the terminal. I forget my ID and none of us have boarding passes. We all wait. Another thirty minutes. At least they have restrooms in the terminal. Plus!

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Time to board. Because we gave our boarding passes to the terminal attendants when we first boarded the plane and because nobody listened when the flight attendants originally asked us to line up in our original boarding order and because people are crowding the entrance and arguing with the terminal attendant about being first to board, they decide to call us one-by-one in order of our boarding passes. Another 30-45 minutes.

We’re finally on the plane, finally seated, and then we find out that they also sold a few extra tickets or allowed people on standby to board with us and to board ahead of people who had already been on the plane, so people lost their original seats. They were not happy. Feisty even, and talking back to the flight attendants. I forgot to bring my backpack off of the plane, which turned out to be a good thing, because it was saving my seat.

Forty minutes later we are finally in the air after they de-iced the plane. Imagine an airplane going through a car wash. Large vehicles with crane-like hoses spraying down the windows and the smell of the whatever that spray is seeping through the air vents. Not exactly what you want to happen prior to taking off in a Denver snowstorm.

After a short two hours and ten minutes, I finally arrived in San Diego. After a thirty-minute delay retrieving my bags, I was driving down the 5 in the San Diego sunshine and arrived home to this lovely image.

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Perhaps there’s a start to an essay somewhere in this fiasco. Or perhaps not. Either way, I’m happy to be home.

Happy Holidays everyone, and safe travels!