Thursday, February 19, 2009


Remember at the end of my post yesterday when I said, and I quote, "5:00am shuttle to the airport. Ugh. But only two legs, should be in for our overnight at noon. Hopefully the crew will go to Dinosaurs for some eats. Yum."? And remember, before that, how I was telling you that I don't even know what a schedule is? Here's how today went:

4:00am -- alarm. Ugh. Wake, pack, dress, blah blah blah.
5:00am -- shuttle. Security. Gate. Ask about passenger load: full 50. Pre-flight, paperwork, board passengers, smile pretty, announcements, bins, bags, close door, safety demo, sit down, let's go.

Sometime after that: I'm sitting in my jumpseat, waiting for them to give me the signal that we're about to head down the runway. Wait. Wait. Sometimes I can hear things from the flight deck, like chimes, or like their computers telling them things. I hear, "Engine oil. Engine oil. Engine oil. Engine oil. Engine oil." It just keeps going. I look at the four passengers in my front row to see if they can hear it. I wait to see if the flight deck will call me and let me know what's up. The sound stops, and still we don't move. Wait. Wait. A passenger gets up to use the lav (why?! WHY would you do that?! But that's a rant for another day, to be accompanied by my seatbelt diatribe.), so I call the flight deck to let them know. "Ok," says Ken, "we won't be moving anywhere for awhile anyway. I don't know if you heard that engine oil warning but.. that's not good." Ha, ok. Wait. Wait.

Sometime after that: Captain comes on the PA, announces we're going back to the gate.
Sometime after that: Get back to gate. Wait for jetbridge operator. Wait for jetbridge. Ok guys, at this time please deplane and take all your belongings with you. Wait. Wait. Talk to pilots. Sit. Talk to pilots. Maintenance guys turn plane, and thus my heat source, off. I go inside. Sit. Play with ipod touch. Wait. Talk to captain, find out we have no idea how long it's going to take, so feel free to wander. Avoid passengers' glares (not my fault, guys, seriously!). Buy chocolate milk. Find empty gate, sit in full sunshine. Wait. Wait. Play with ipod touch.

Sometime after that: Get paged back to gate. Hurried gate agent lets me back down, tells me nothing. Talk to pilots, find out we're not actually ready to go at all, the station agents are just crazy, and in a hurry to get us (and our passengers) out of their hair. I sit down in a seat in the cabin, play with ipod touch. Passengers start boarding. Uhhh, what? Put on professional face. Oh, hi, welcome back onboard! I'm so sorry, they didn't warn me we were going to start boarding, let me just get out of your way.

Board passengers. But captain says we're still not ready to go, doesn't know why agents decided to board. Wait. Wait. I only have 19 passengers instead of 50 now. Cool by me, fewer people to get mad at me for all the waiting (seriously, so not my fault!). Wait. Announcements from pilot: still waiting, guys. Passengers kind of laugh, whatever, they'll deal. Try to stay away from FREEZING COLD BOARDING DOOR with WIND. Wait. Deliver water service to poor waiting passengers. Wait.

Sometime after that: At last! The last of the paperwork arrives and is in order. Close door, announcements, demo, etc. Take off, at last! Beverage service, sit. Talk to passengers. Refill beverages. Descent announcement from flight deck; prepare cabin for landing. Collect garbage.

New announcement from flight deck: Hey guys, we've been put into a holding pattern. Detroit is down to one runway at the moment [thanks to high crosswinds or somesuch, apparently], they're telling us it's gonna be about 40 minutes.

Stunned incredulity. I don't even care that that's redundant.

Laugh. Tell passengers they can continue to use the electronic devices I've already told them to turn off. Thank them profusely for their patience, apologize. Wait. Wait. Sit. Wait. Watch for any sign from flight deck.

Some time after that: At last! We've been taken off our holding pattern, cleared for landing.

Announcements, descend, land. "Ladies and gentlemen, the words you've waited very long and very patiently to hear: Welcome to Detroit!" Arrive near gate, wait for ramp agents to park us. Wait. Wait. Agents! Park. Open door. Wait for jetbridge driver. Wait. Wait. At last! All is well. Let passengers deplane, at long, long last.

This flight was supposed to leave at 6am. It left at 9.43am. It was supposed to land at 7 something and continue on its merry way to Rochester, New York, where we were to land at 11.47am and overnight. It landed at 1.10pm.

My crew and I then deadheaded to Rochester (meaning, flew as passengers at the direction of the company) at 3pm, landed at quarter to five, and then had to wait 40 minutes for the hotel shuttle to come pick us up.

I did end up getting to go to Dinosaurs, though, which was good. And I sat in first class while deadheading, which is always nice. I hate working first class, but boy do I love riding in it.

What a fucking day.

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