Daily Archives: April 12, 2013

The Best Laid Plans: Delay’s Missed Connections and Doing the OJ through Newark International Airport

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A Long Flight Comes to an End

Well my friends my final post for today as I sit scrunched in steerage on this fully booked Airbus A320 enroute to Houston.

I last posted as I was waiting for my delayed flight to leave Norfolk for Newark. My plan was scathingly good. I left a flight that I knew was not going to get me to my connection in time in Washington Dulles for a $500 flight voucher and a flight that gave me almost 2 hours of time on the ground between flights in Newark and a chance to spend my second food coupon.

Well, as they say “the best laid plans….” The flight from Norfolk looked promising. Then came the delay, but the aircraft landed and they began to board it. I have to admit I would not to have wanted to have to had traded places with the beleaguered gate staff. They dealt with multiple weather delays from a nasty winter storm as well as other air traffic delays. Travel today in the eastern half of our fair land was a bit of a mess and the waiting area was thick with the scent of anger and frustration seething below the surface.

As we pulled away from the gate it looked like there was a chance that I would make my connection. That was until the pilot pulled to a waiting area and told us that there was a 25 minute air traffic delay in Newark. That ended my chance of making the connection.

Once we arrived in Newark my aircraft landed at Terminal A, like in Apple and I had to catch a bus to Terminal C, like in Charlie. Upon arriving at the Customer Service Center at the C90 gate I was greeted by a pleasant lady who first looked around and first booking me on a flight leaving about 9PM, but then she found a flight that was boarding that I could still catch.

So I put on my backpack and began the dash across the airport. I am not sure but I think I had to run about a half mile. Since I woke up too late to get PT in this morning as was my plan this wasn’t a problem. When I travel now I plan for this. I am wearing my Merrill Barefoot shoes a Baltimore Orioles T-shirt, cargo shorts and my every present Orioles fitted cap. The airport was crowed my friends, I ran, weaves in and out of the crowds and avoided getting hit by a number of carts carrying airport cart-people. I barely had time to enjoy the stench emitting from all the chemical plants and oil refineries in the local area.

Overhead I heard a voice announce the “final boarding call” for my flight so all thoughts of stopping to use the toilette or trying to grab a bite to eat went out the door. this was now a quest and I would not be denied. So I spread up and made the final few hundred yards in a sprint. I arrived at the gate sweating but not out of breath and boarded the very full aircraft. My seat was 30e, a middle seat between too other men, one pleasant and the other, well to be nice…not. Then we didn’t go anywhere. Evidently they launched so kind of new navigational flight plan program today and pilot had to personally go to operations to get the computerized software. He was apologetic but it took another half hour to get the program operating and it was over an hour after the door had been shut before we got off the ground.

The aircraft was full of other travelers, some like my one unpleasant neighbor obviously frustrated and less than gruntled while others were taking this in stride. I could feel the frustration and tension and decided that I would do my best to be pleasant and make the best of the flight which was was bunching around in turbulence for quite a bit of the trip. As I write this I figure that we are about halfway to Houston baby, whose “debutants couldn’t hold a candle to you.” (Gratuitous line from the Eagles the Long Run)

Since I wasn’t able to use my food coupon in Newark and I had only eaten a bowl of soup and drank a couple pints of Sam Adams Boston Lager all day I decided that I needed to eat airline food. Of course they were out of the salad, so I had some kind of chicken wrap when the flight attendant came by and she took the coupon in exchange for the very bland and less than exciting pseudo-sandwich. At least it was not very big as it was not that exciting.

I finally arrived in Houston about 930 PM Central Standard Time and things got better. My messages to the people of my church that I sent by text before I went wheels up in Newark were acknowledged. I picked up my one checked bag which had been waiting for me with no problem, and caught a taxi driven by a very nice Nigerian to my hotel.

No you say, “why the hell is he boring the shit out of me with all of these arcane details?” Yes like your last question I heard that one too, and I do appreciate your sentiments. But out of respect I will answer it. The truth be told air travel alternates between “boredom and terror” as Orson Welles so marvelously put it, with all the comforts of an overcrowded Greyhound Bus when you sit in coach, which is better called steerage. The fact is to keep myself from thinking about all the bad things it is much more therapeutic to write than stress out.

Remember that question that you asked earlier today “how do you cope when flying while dealing with PTSD?” I thought that you did. I discussed some of my coping mechanisms for for dealing with air travel. Well this is one of those ways that I cope. I figure that if it keeps me out of panic mode and keeps me from behaving like a complete ass when things don’t go as planned, which is par for the course when I travel by air.

Wait, one more question you say. What was the in flight movie. Well it was a film that I never heard of called Quartet. It had no action, no violence, no slapstick humor and no sex. It was film about a bunch of old people sitting around a hotel, pestering the wait staff and waiting for a concert of some kind. Evidently they were like old opera singers or something. It looked positively depressing. Of course I didn’t use the ear phones so it might have had a beautiful story with brilliant humor that I wouldn’t of appreciated anyway, but I digress…

I am safe and able to post this and now it is time to go across the street to my favorite Houston watering hole for a local craft beer or two.

Have a wonderful night and happy travels wherever you may be traveling.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, PTSD, travel