Some days, I guess, you shouldn’t try to fly. Today is one of those days. It went down thus:
I got a ride out to the airport with my trusty cabbie Pamela (yes, I know her name… I travel a lot). Arrived at DIA around 9:00AM, breezed through the check-in line and security, and with a quick stop off at Einstein Brother’s Bagels, I was on my way to the gate to catch my 10:49 flight to Raleigh. After arriving, eating my bagel and drinking my coffee, I looked up at the digital marquee to notice the flight had been delayed to 11:15. Not terribly unusual. I shrugged, put on the new Hot Chip CD (Rolling Stone gave it 4 stars, by the way), and continued reading a great book by Jimmy Carter.
I didn’t hear the announcement since I had my noise-canceling headphones, so when I looked up and noticed the departure time had changed to the awful, blinking “Plane Being Serviced” message which really means, “You’re Screwed” I pulled my headphones off and asked kindly elder gentleman next to me what was up. He looked over his crossword puzzle at me and, this is true, pulled his spectacles down saying, “The fucking place is fucking delayed until God fucking knows when.” He must have been filling out a naughty crossword, I think to myself. Too startled to respond, I picked up my bag and walked over to the counter to ask the flight attendant what was up. It turns out something was wrong with the plane, and that we would be delayed for another hour.
I chose a seat further away from the man suffering from what had to be Turrets Syndrome, and kept reading my book, but with my headphones off.
“Passengers on flight 802 to Raleigh/Durham. Things are looking up. We’ve secured another plane, and will be departing within the next 30 minutes at Gate B50.” A slight cheer went up and we all shambled one gate over to wait for our plane. I didn’t bother to put on my headphones again and kept reading my book.
Thirty minutes passed before the same flight attendant piped up, “Passengers on flight 802 to Raleigh/Durham…we seem to be missing one of our flight attendants. No one knows where she’s gotten off to, but as soon as she’s on the plane, we’ll begin boarding.”
Another thirty minutes pass and he pipes up, “The flight attendant has been found. We will begin boarding shortly.”
Twenty minutes pass and the flight attended, obviously frustrated, comes back on, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out the GPS on this plane won’t start. We have a decision time of one hour. In one hour we will make a determination about the departure time. Please note, this is not the departure, this is the decision time.”
An hour passes. “Ladies and gentlemen, t he plane has been fixed and is certified to fly. We will begin boarding in twenty minutes.” A louder cheer goes up from the crowd.
Twenty minutes pass. “Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has refused the flight. We are attempting to rectify. We will give more information as it becomes available.” At this point several suit-and-Bluetooth-headset wearing glitterati leap from their seats and crowd the attendant’s desk with shouts of suing, lawyers, and more suing. This, apart from the swearing 70-year-old man, was the most amusing part of the whole ordeal. I put down my book and listened to this alpha-males, now emasculated by this flamboyantly gay flight attendant, puff their chests and pound the desk. It was very reminiscent of the scene from Fear and Loathing where the police chiefs are trying to check into the Flamingo Hotel and gay clerk is messing with them. It was a delight to behold.
Another thirty minutes pass. “Ladies and gentlemen, the a new plane has been found and we will begin boarding in two hours at gate B33.”
So… here I am. In the airport bar eating a burger and drinking a diet coke. If this plane does actually take passengers on, and gets airborn, and lands in one piece, I’ll be as amazed as you.