24 January 2008

Trapped in Tennessee

Here's a leftover from a week or so back. Been slack with the posting of late.

So I’m on my way to DC this AM, and I’m flying Northwest which means a layover in Memphis (you can not fly anywhere directly from Tally, except for South Florida or an airline hub City…Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, you know the drill). An aside: How much do I love that the Northwest Airlines planes all say NWA on the side? Every time I see one, I imagine Ice Cube flying it. Old-school jheri curl gansta Ice Cube:

not new, family-friendly Ice Cube:

Anyway, we head off to Memphis as scheduled. We’re about a ½ hour away from landing, and we are told that there is a huge thunderstorm there and no one can land. After circling and wandering around in the sky for a half an hour or so, we are told to divert to Huntsville, AL for refueling. If only I had been headed for Space Camp.

So we land in Huntsville, hang out for 30 minutes or so, get told we can take off, drive about 10 feet in the direction of the runway, get told to never mind, we’re still grounded, and then hang out for 45 more minutes. Oh, also there was no beverage service during the flight. When we got on the plane, the fight attendant announced that due to “unusual circumstances” there would be no beverage service. I just assumed that this meant that the catering truck had failed to show up and stock the plane or something. Which sucked, because I had failed to eat breakfast, assuming I would at least get some peanuts or the equivalent and some water during the flight. Baring that, it’s only a hour flight or so, I would just grab something in Memphis. Sigh…

Anyway, so we had been told there was not beverage service, but once we were stuck on the tarmac, the flight attendant suddenly hauled out the beverage cart and started passing out drinks. So now I’m really curious as to what the “unusual circs” were. Also, still no snacks…

It always sucks to get stuck in a confined space, which this most assuredly was. It was one of those small planes with 2 seats on either side of the aisle and like 20 rows. Very cramped. In the plus column, we lucked out that we had a totally cool pilot. He kept telling us what was going on and giving us updates on the situation as soon as he got them. He also came out and chatted with us, helped the flight attendant serve water, collected all the trash, and even made coffee for some folks. It was nice because by talking to the people face to face and being friendly, it kept anyone from being irate and made our captivity much more pleasant. I love it when people are nice.

So now I’m stuck here in Memphis, and as a result I have that damn Arrested Development song stuck in my head. (I speak of “Tennessee” by the mid-90’s hip hop group, as opposed to the theme song from the awesome TV show.)

So, I’m delayed until 2:50 (it’s now noon) and there is not a soul in this concourse of the airport. It’s really odd. There are at least 7 gates with in my view, and I swear I see only 3 other people sitting around waiting. There aren’t even any staff members at the gates. It’s very disconcerting. See for yourself:

I’m sitting by the window, and it is now sunny as hell outside. You would never know the whole place way shut down due to weather just a couple of hours ago.

I am making the most of my time. I’ve learned that CNN is really does report the same stories over and over. I never watch more than 5 min at a time at home, so I don’t notice. Having it playing in the background for 3 hours or so though, really drives it home. I have heard several times about: various people murdering their children, a murder story from Tally that is getting national press due to a possible serial killer tie-in, Kerry endorsing Obama, and a crane operator who passed out is being rescued in Atlanta…a nothing story about which they are offering extended, minute-by-minute coverage as if it were the white ford bronco chase. (They also keep saying it’s on Peachtree Street, which offers no information as it has been my experience that all streets in Atlanta are called Peachtree.)

Also, via the helpful airport announcements, I now know:

The Treat Level has been raised to “orange” Isn’t always orange?

Smoking is prohibited in the airport except for in 2 restaurants: Maggie O’Shea’s in Concourse A and The Blue Note Café in the passenger connector between concourses A and B.

You should keep track of your luggage and not accept packages from strangers. (As sound advice now as it was when your mama gave it to you as a child.)

Thus armed with knowledge, I am going to take a nap.

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