January 2008


Travel Advisory

I’ve decided it is time to give fair warning: If I’m booked on your flight, you should probably book away.

In the past year, I’ve had my unfair share of travel problems.

Last night my flight from Detroit to Frankfurt pushed back on time, rolled down the taxiway to the runway, turned onto the runway and… then exited the runway. It did not take off because the pilots heard an odd rubbing sound from the nose gear, a problem that was eventually diagnosed as too difficult to fix quickly.

We were offloaded and put on a different aircraft to Frankfurt, arriving two and a half hours after the originally scheduled time.

Likewise, on my way to Guadalajara, my flight from Denver to Los Angeles was delayed because, get this, the fuel truck arrived to fuel the plane over two hours after the scheduled departure time—ultimately arriving more than three hours late in LA.

Also in the past year I’ve suffered an overnight delay in Paris because the plane from Leipzig to Paris broke down (actually the first of two problems with that sector), and a two hour tour of JFK from the time we pushed back to the time we took off.

I can only assume it is something about me, so if you see me headed toward your plane, you might consider booking away.

And about this delay? It caused me to miss a train to Amsterdam; I opted for the three hour wait that has no connections, versus a train that left almost immediately, had three connections (including a two minute connection), and would get me there an hour earlier. The odds of a two minute train connection somewhere deep in the bowels of The Netherlands did not thrill me.

Happy Wednesday!

Memo to the Cute Guy in Seat 12D:

No, I will never trade my window exit row seat for your middle bulkhead seat. I don’t care if you are 6’6″ and cute as a button…

9 comments to Travel Advisory

  • Ed

    Memo to cute guy in seat 12D: You can have my window seat if I can sit on your lap;)

  • It’s not all about you, Adam. 🙂
    Showed up at dawn for a flight to London from Hamburg to be told the plane hadn’t made it out of London the night before. They gave me a 22-euro meal voucher, so at least I didn’t starve while dying of boredom waiting six hours for the next flight.

  • disenchanted

    And don’t forget the time I had to take my mother’s ashes to New York … and NWA didn’t have people to fly the plane from Detroit to Burlington! Or the time I was flying to a job interview — that was the time my flight was cancelled and two strange men had to pick me up in the Detroit airport. Blah.

  • @TQE: I think this nose gear grind is more common that we think. I had the same issue come up at Conservative Hell airport when we taxied out. We came back to the gate and they screwed around with the nose gear for an hour before ultimately deciding to fly to Chicago and fix it there. I guess it wasn’t as bad as they thought, eh?

    And… some idiot actually thought you’d give up your exit row window seat for a bulkhead center seat? Obviously they rarely, if ever, travel.

    I’m also counting myself as lucky we had no incidents on the South Africa trip, other than my departure from Conservative Hell.

    @Ed: Wouldn’t your sitting on the cute guys lap necessitate you actually getting on the plane? I thought there were issues with that.

    @Ian: They actually give vouchers in Europe for your delays? Sheesh, in the US you’re lucky if they don’t scold you for daring to show up for the cancelled flight. United Airlines actually dumped me at Dulles airport in Washington, DC during a blizzard and then told me I was on my own for the next 30 hours. Horrible customer service.

  • mateo

    I’ll be sure to remember all this Adam, the next time I see you at an airport. Unless I happen to be travelling with you again, in which case I am very screwed. But at least then I can pass the time with you! I think I would go insane having to put up with travel hassles all the time. But at least you get to have a lot of adventures along the way!

  • Ed

    CQ: You’re right Hell will freeze over and they will pass out condoms in Sunday School class before I’ll ever get on an airplane. Still, a guy can dream can’t he? I mean a 6’6″ cutie driving home his point as we fly the friendly skies. Swoon!

  • @ed: I would happily sit on his lap… unfortunately that kind of behavior is frowned upon in economy class…

    @ian: I left the scene for the sanctuary of a club; when I returned they had given out US$10 vouchers for food at the detroit airport. Sadly I wasn’t really hungry: I’d eaten carrot sticks and had two glasses of wine at the club. 22€ for food… let me guess, British Airways? I imagine Ryanair would tell you to get stuffed.

    @disenchanted: Hmmmm… i am starting to feel better.

    @CQ: This was my first nose gear thing, and the decision to abandon the airplane was made *very* quickly. I think it was less than 20 minutes after we pulled into the gate, although they waited about 30 minutes to tell everybody (I already knew) and let us off the plane (most of the time I think was preparing the computer systems and people for our deplaning, plus making sure they knew which plane we were going to be using in the first one’s place.

    @mateo: wanna go somewhere?

    @ed: Flying is fun. Don’t be afraid.

  • B.

    I must be lucky as hell… we always fly the cheapo airlines (buying 4 tickets each time will do that for you) and I’ve yet to be delayed, rerouted or canceled.

  • J

    Your air experiences sound like my DB experiences.