The AA flight from sunny San Diego departed on time, with only one straggler who managed to secure an Exit Row seat in front of me. His carry-on, much larger than permitted, had to be stored several rows behind him – near mine. As soon as we were airborne, he began his unrelenting appeal for the flight attendants to move his luggage near him. When they finally conceded an hour later and moved the luggage of other passengers to accommodate his, I asked to relocate to the back of the plane just to be away from this nonsense.
Settling into my new seat, the woman next to me asked, “What did you do? Are they going to throw you off the plane?”
I laughed so hard, I could barely get my breath; but I now realize, it was the beginning of the end. Did I mention, it was raining in Dallas, an omen not to be ignored?
When the plane landed, people were pacing the hallways. I soon learned why - the flight to Springfield was canceled. We were told to get in line to reserve another flight. I did this. Two hours later, however, my new flight was also canceled. Again, I got in line, to find another seat on another flight. Finally at 9:30 pm, the third flight was canceled. There was no crew, and after all, it was still raining or at least sprinkling.
I got in another line to try to find a flight for the next day, only to be told that all seats to Springfield, MO were taken. Who knew this metropolis was a destination site? But, staff reassured me that there was a flight to Joplin, MO, and it had four empty seats. (Joplin is 1.5 hours from Springfield by car.) I leaped for joy. My husband could pick me up. I had a chance to escape my cement prison. (I will skip the hotel trauma drama.)
The next day, I went to the Joplin gate. Four delays later (no crew, mechanical issues), the flight finally landed in Joplin at 3:30 in the afternoon. Then the announcement from the cockpit:
“Sigh…just when we thought it could not get any worse, we have learned that the tire on the jet-bridge is flat.”
Passengers erupted in laughter. Yes, we needed to climb down the plane's stairs, and those who could not walk would be carried – somehow. But, now the gods were laughing with us, for it was the perfect ending to an otherwise imperfect travel saga and it was sunny outside!
The moral of this story is simple: be prepared for the unexpected, know whom to call for help and if you have a hammock and it’s raining in Dallas, bring it.