An unintentional stop

My flight home was due to leave at 8 in the morning. I didn't want to leave the happiest place on Earth, but it was time for me to come home.

I arrived at the airport at 6. After I checked my bags, I sat in the lobby watching the pinks and purples in the sky turn to shades of blue.

My flight had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. From there it was a straight shot to Pittsburgh. My estimated time of arrival was shortly after noon. My best friend was picking me up from the airport. I had only been gone a week, but I couldn't' wait to see her.

Once I was safe on the ground in Georgia, I quickly figured out which gate I needed to go to. At the time I expected a 30 minute wait, but once I arrived at my gate I realized how wrong I was. The pilots who were supposed to take me home had decided that of all mornings, this would be the one when they chose to go on strike.

I had the option of purchasing a ticket for another airline, or waiting for my original airline to find me another flight. Having just spent all my money at the Magic Kingdom, I was unable to buy a ticket for a thousand dollars. I was forced to wait. While pacing up and down the short hallway it occurred to me that I had to inform my friend that she shouldn't meet me at our airport at noon. This was before cell phones, so I had to use a pay phone to call her. Remember those?

I should also inform you that this was before smoking was banned from inside buildings.

I entered the pay phone room. Three of the dingy cream colored walls were lined with phones. The fourth was made of glass with an opening no wider than your average door frame. Every single person on those phones were just as frustrated as me. What does a smoker do when frustrated? Light one up. There were no windows nor any kind of ventilation. It was all I could do not to gag. And I was a smoker.

After what felt like hours, but was really closer to one, a flight had been found for me. But it wouldn't take me home. Yet another layover was added to my adventure. A detour, you could say. To New York.

I was informed that once in New York, my layover would be a quick one. I would be home before I knew it. What no one realized was that Pittsburgh was experiencing a rainy and thunderous apocalypse. This meant more waiting, more pacing, more phone calls, and much begging for "Delayed" to switch to "Now boarding".

After 2 hours of waiting, I was finally on my way back home. My flight from Laguardia to Pittsburgh International was the shortest of the 3, yet the most frightening. I have never experienced turbulence before than, and I have no desire to experience it ever again. My head bounced off the window like a red rubber ball more times than I can count. Suitcases from the overheads were thrown to the ground. Once stepping off that plane at 6 pm, it took everything I had not to kiss the solid ground I was walking on.

That is one detour I hope to never have to do again.






This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?


Orlando to Atlanta to Pittsburgh, with an unintentional stop in New York. I would just like to point out that I have now been to not one, but two New York airports and have yet to see any other part of the city. Hopefully someday I can. But I think I'll drive.



15 comments:

tracy said...

Oh I hope you get to see the city one day. I hate being stuck in airports. They are the unhappiest places on earth for sure.

Galit Breen said...

From frustrating to scary! Yikes!

You also took me back to airports being so different- I could really imagine the pay phones and annoyed smokers.

The turbulence imagery was really vivid!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a miserable experience! I was once stranded in the Milwaukie airport for 8 hours. There's nothing - NOTHING to do there!

Oka said...

I also have been to New York airports, but not seen the city. Same goes for St. Louis, San Fransisco, St.Paul, Los Angeles...

Babes Mami said...

Wow that would make my head explode I'm sure!

Kmama said...

I hate layovers and detours and turbulence. On one of my flights, the guy I sat next to, told me that on his last flight, they had so much turbulence that people actually broke arms and stuff. Can you even imagine??

Sara said...

You're brave soul. I probably would taken a bus. I hate to fly and layovers drive me crazy because I have to wait.

This story fits the sometimes nightmare of travel. I'm glad you go home in one piece:~)

Pamela Gold said...

How miserable from every angle! Oh my god!

Crystal said...

Oh yuck! How miserable!! I hate waiting in airports...and seriously, who has an "extra" thousand dollars??! Not me, that's who!! And yes, I remember pay phones. I took a spring break in London one year...and called my then-boyfriend, now-hubby from the cutest payphone every day. Stopping by from RDC.

DaisyGal said...

I love flying and traveling, but this is the reason that I dread it until I am on the flight..because you just never know what is going to happen. I do hope that you never have to experience that again.

MrsJenB said...

Oh my gosh, I cannot imagine going through turbulence like that - I'm such a wuss, the slightest little thing has me clutching the armrest or squeezing my husband's hand! *shudder* That sounds like a fairly nightmarish experience to me!

Jessica said...

How frustrating and turbulence is just the worst, hope that someday you can see New York!

Jessica Anne said...

Ugh, that's not a detour I want to take. Why is it that turbulence only seems to happen on flights you weren't supposed to be on?

Debbie(single;complicated) said...

I am sure you were very THRILLED to finally be home!!!!

Stephanie said...

This just validates my desire to drive everywhere, LOL. So very scary. I was scared with you.

--The Drama Mama