Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Omaha - Day 4, Part Two

And so the ugly begins....

We're sitting in the Omaha airport waiting for our plane that will take us to our connection in Detroit. The flight is scheduled to leave at 5:45, so we figured we'd be boarding about 5:15.

5:00 rolls around, and there's no plane there.

5:15 rolls around, and still no plane.

5:20 the plane comes to the gate, and folks are hurriedly departing.

We see folks doing inspections, and getting the plane cleaned up. But it's taking a while.......

Meanwhile, my mom calls, and tells me what I've been dreading. My grandmother had passed away that afternoon. I knew it was coming, but it was still really sad.

Somewhere around 6:00ish, they make an announcement that they were waiting on maintenance, since the plane took a bird in the engine on landing, and they need to check it out.

Sucked a bird in the engine!

So, out comes maintenance. Let me just paint the picture for you... This man was easily in his 70's and walked with a limp. He struggled to get the ladder out of his van alone. But he managed to get it out and set up to evaluate the engine. He climbed up. Looked. Climbed down. Went to get paper towels, climbed back up and removed the bird. Climbed back down, got a squirt bottle of some sort, and climbed back up. Squirted the stuff inside, then climbed back down. Got his scrub brush, and climbed back up. Scrubbed. Climbed back down to get paper towels again, and climbed back up to wipe everything down. Honestly. Certainly not the most efficient, but we were hoping for the best...

All this is happening as all the passengers are watching out the window. I even took some video, and if I could figure out how to rotate it, so you wouldn't have to turn your monitor sideways, I would post it.

They made an announcement that they didn't "think" there was any damage, and they would board shortly. Didn't "think". I guess they were waiting to see when we took off???? I kept hoping and praying that Captain Sully was going to show up in the Omaha airport to make sure we got to Detroit ok. No such luck.

By now, we are over an hour late leaving, knowing we only had a 50 minute layover. We were assured in Omaha that since this was a mechanical issue, if we missed our connection, we'd be put up in a hotel for the night, and given food vouchers.

So, we finally take off, and are flying without too much incident. Some turbulence, but at least the plane works. The pilot assures us that he's going to make up time in the air, and we should only be landing about 20 minutes late at 9:15pm. Our connection is at 9:45, so there's hope!

We actually land about 9:20. Still holding out hope.

We pull within 10 feet of the gate at 9:25. And sit there. And sit there. And sit there.

Until 9:35.

A plane with 54 people on it, and 45 have connecting flights within a half hour. And they sit there.

And we were at the BACK!

Needless to say, we got off of the plane, and RAN to our gate. I did mention that we came in at the opposite end of the terminal that we were departing from, didn't I? Oh, yeah, we did.

It was about 1/2 a mile. We ran, walked, ran, walked. And missed our plane by about 5 minutes.

We found a representative. She scanned our stuff, and we had been re-booked on a flight at 10:15 the next morning. A voucher printed out for a hotel room, but it was a $59.00 rate that we had to pay. We asked her why we had to pay, since we were told otherwise in Omaha, and she just said that's what printed out.

So off we go to catch a shuttle bus filled with other angry Delta passengers to try to get a couple hours of sleep at a hotel that we now have to pay for. Without our luggage, without toiletries, without clean clothes. UGH! We get there about 11:00pm. Good thing we ate something at 4:30! So, we had ice cream....

We were able to catch our flight the next morning without incident, and got home early afternoon on Saturday. Tired, hot and stinky, but home! And really glad this happened at the end of vacation instead of the beginning....

And, in case you are wondering, I DID call Delta to complain about the fact that we had to pay for a hotel that should have been taken care of. They said it was coded at weather related (last I checked, birds had as much control over the weather as I do), and said they aren't required to pay for weather related issues. When I mentioned the bird issue, and the video I had, they managed to find out that it was in fact a maintenance issue, and issued us both $75 vouchers for future flights. Not too bad, since we had only paid $59 for our room.

And that concludes our Good, Bad, and Ugly series of vacation...



Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

All's well that ends well AMW. You got home in one piece and have a story to tell.

I had a similar expereince last time I flew overseas. It's terrifying not to know what's going on because the people fixing the plane arent speaking in a language you understand... and that some guy is standing on a cherry picker bashing the crud out of the wing with a rubber mallet and somehow thats "fixing" things.

Overall it sounds like you had a great holiday aside from the bad news at the very end.

mya said...

Let me first say that I am sorry for your loss.

While I was reading your post I was hoping that you would not let the hotel bill just go by; and you did not - good.

Perhaps I should not say it but, I did enjoy this post at your expense. At least it ended well (or good - I can never remember the correct word).

webwings said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AMW said...

Thanks Mya and Mrs. P. It was indeed a great vacation, and the downfall at the end was all part of the experience.

It all makes memories, right? Good and bad, but definitely entertaining stories to tell...