Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Adventures with United, Airports, and my Diet Coke

You’ve been dying to ask this, I just know!    
How did United Airlines do this time?

Well… Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale…

Full of anticipation of the adventures that we would find in Haiti later that day when we arrived in Port-au-Prince, we boarded the United aircraft along with the others destined to travel with us. Awaiting us was the flight attendant assigned to greet us with a smile. I don’t know how it started, but we joked about keeping me content by serving me diet coke and he kindly offered to give me a can right then. 

Thankfully, we were not jammed packed into the tin can like Siamese sardines and there was plenty of overhead bin space. Surprisingly a few minutes early we begin to leave the gate and JD turns to me and says, “Wow! That was a relatively painless and easy United experience” (or something along those lines). And then we stopped and the pilot informed us that there was a mechanical error with the plane that was being looked into. JD and I look at each other and sigh… “Really!?! Again?” At this point I begin to pray and drink my diet crack coke, I think. 

After a short wait, the pilot informs us that whatever the problem is has “fixed itself” and we are cleared for take-off. Yeah…. I think. “Hopefully you were actually in on that fix Jesus.”

We made it safely to Port-au-Prince without further incident and I didn’t even take another diet coke when they went by with the drink cart, even though we did chat with the great flight attendant again.  

Fast forward to the end of the week and we are back in the Port-au-Prince airport waiting for our flight back to the States. The time on our tickets says the flight is scheduled to leave at 3:06pm. Around 2:30pm a garbled announcement is made (something that sounds like the woman is eating the microphone) that our flight is delayed and we will board as soon as it lands at 3:50pm. (although I did have one of my most favorite moments during the time. You can read about it here) We’ve now been at the airport for somewhere around 4 hours. At 4:30pm it appears as if we have begun to board… sorta. First we have security. Again. 
For the 3rd time. Bags are searched, drinks are confiscated, and everyone gets the radiation wand treatment. Then… you can walk out to the plane. 

We finally get on the plane, one of the last few and find some cubby holes for our carry-ons. Right near our seats, who do we see but our happy flight attendant friend! I say hi and he remembers me – the diet coke girl. Yes. And can I have one as soon as possible, delays make me cranky- especially on United flights. We take our seats hopeful that we will soon be on our way, looking forward to a shower on the other end of this flight. And we sit…. And sit…. 

“We just want to let you know that one of the fuel pumps isn’t working. They are trying to fix it now. We appreciate your patience.” I am running out of patience and I have no diet coke this time, cause even if I had bought one in the airport, the security guard would have taken it away.  JD looks at me and says, “If we have to stay here tonight, we’re screwed.” “Yep!”   

And we sit… 5:30pm. We would have been almost landing in NJ by now. Now, even my normally go-with-flow resilient friend is agitated. You know it’s bad when…  Add to that a group of loud obnoxious women who go from sprinkling holy water to drinking the little bottles of wine. Hey! How did they score that and my favorite flight attendant hasn’t brought me a can of pop?!  “Well, they can’t get the pump fixed, but we can still take off with other five. We are just trying to get the appropriate paperwork filed so we can take off. Should only be another 15-20 minutes. Thank you again for your patience.”  I’m getting antsy, along with everyone else and trying to keep JD calm. At least the women seem a bit more sedated.  “Well folks, seems like the pump ‘fixed itself’ and we are clear for take-off.” Sounds familiar. Jillian pipes up at this point, “I don’t think that makes me feel much better.” We agree. But at least it doesn’t look like we are spending the night with our eyes open in the PAP airport. 

 At some point, we actually do get in the air. But my diet coke still isn't coming as we have turbulence. Can I get a break here?! Finally! Finally! After waiting TOO many hours the drink cart comes by and we politely ask the other attendant (we didn't have the cool guy) if we could have the whole can and not just the cup. She graciously obliges. The rest of the flight is fairly uneventful as I drift between watching a movie and resting.

The next afternoon I board the little commuter plane that will take me home to Detroit. We are off with no hiccups and the beverage cart comes down the aisle... this time I settle for just the little cup of pop. I am content with that. I drink it down and am about to throw my cup away when the flight attendant comes up to my seat and asks, "You had diet coke, right?"  "Um.... Yes." "Would you like some more?"  "Sure!" She walks back with a 2/3 full can of diet coke. I look at her and ask, "Did someone tell you about me?" She looks confused and says  "No." She explains that we are the last flight of the day and she would just be throwing it out. So I explain the story with the cool friendly flight attendant who gave me the can on the first flight and then remembered me on the way back. Maybe he had given her a heads-up. Still, it was odd that she picked me out of the whole plane full. I smiled. 

God knew. He is good and so is my diet crack coke. 

But God is infinitely better!!

1 comment:

Misty said...

Flying is always such a mess... Oye. So glad, frustrations aside, there was safety and diet coke.