Friday, February 27, 2009

Murphy's Law

Yesterday was a bad day.

I went to a work related meeting at 10AM. I left at noon and headed to the airport. All the flights to my destination had plenty of seats. I parked in the employee lot and made my way to the gate.

Boarding had begun by the time I arrived. I got an aisle seat in row 40...big plane. I sat down and noticed every seat had touchscreen TV monitors. Nice.

We left the gate on time. As we taxied the Captain announced a ground stop for our destination....crap. I never checked the weather. There were thunderstorms, low clouds, fog and lightening.

I tried to relax. I was supposed to fly up, grab my stuff I left behind and fly home. Everything looked great last night when I booked the flight. By 9PM I should have been sitting on my couch at home. While waiting on a taxiway I checked myself in for my return flight. Something bad happened as all the flights were oversold and delayed. I checked in for the 5:25PM flight that was now leaving at 5:58PM.

I was agitated, but thankfully I was on a flight with TV monitors and on demand entertainment. I started Slum Dog Millionaire at 2:10PM. Great movie. We sat on a taxiway till 2:30PM.

The person next to me used her screen to show flight status. Instead of arriving at 3:20PM we would arrive at 4:30PM. This was okay as my items were in an office that closed at 5PM. I could huff it over there, get my stuff and still make my 5:25PM flight home.

We landed at 4:25PM. By 4:35PM we were parked and deplaning. Life in row 40 wasn't good...lots of people ahead of me.

I made it off by 4:43PM and began quickly walking through the terminal while calling the office on my cell phone. No answer. Hmmm.

This airport uses a security code made of up all kinds of personal data that has never worked for me. Yesterday it did! I made it down to the office at 4:50PM. This is where my day would really suck. My items were looked behind a closed door. The person who has the keys was out for the remainder of the day. I spoke with this person the day prior and told them I would be up in the afternoon and they said okay. Nice.

Empty handed I went upstairs and headed to the gate. There were 45 people on standby. Being a pilot I can ride upfront. I noticed another flight leaving 30 minutes after this one that is larger and has a 10X more comfortable jumpseat. This plane had 2 cockpit jumpseats! I skipped the first flight and went for the second one. There were no other pilots on the standby list. I thought I was golden. There was another flight I could take that flew to a secondary airport near our house leaving at the same time. Since I saw no other pilots on the jumpseat list....I skipped the idea of flying somewhere other than where I parked my car.

Boarding began. There were now 70 people on the standby list. At the end of boarding I asked the gate agent for the cockpit jumpseat. I was then told they were occupied by deadheading crew members. I didn't see that coming. Dead headers don't show up on the standby list. Now I was really screwed.

The next flight didn't leave for 2 more hours. I stumbled around the terminal. I used computers behind unused gate to work on my options. This is a double edged sword. This is faster than using my phone, but passengers keep stopping by thinking I can help them. They are all in bad moods. I did the best I could.

My next flight was leaving at 9PM. The standby list was over 100 deep now. There was another pilot on the list, but from another airline. Thankfully I go before him. Being a nice guy I tracked him down and let him know I was going to get the jumpseat before him. He was grateful, shook my hand and made his way out of the area.

By 9PM I was in the back of the boarding line waiting to get on. Jumpseaters get on last. I get looks when I jumpseat out of uniform. "Who is that guy in the polo getting in the cockpit?"

There was a minor mechanical problem. I got to stand in the cold and wet jetbridge (still raining) while the mechanics were called. Being last to get on, jumpseaters have to really fight for bag space. I only had my laptop case which I slid in the front closet. Nice. By 9:20PM I was seated in the jumpseat. Jumpseats are thinly padded chairs with an awesome view.

The crew was nice. I did my best to stay awake. I dozed off a few times. They did offer me dinner. I had my choice of grilled salmon (my favorite!) or ravioli. I was too tired to eat.

At midnight we Captain landed. By 12:10 AM I was on the employee bus.

At 12:35AM my head was laying on my pillow.

Waste of a day.

I am going to have a friend pick up my stuff and bring it to me. He is based there, but lives here. He won't be home till March 2nd. choice. Today's flights are worse than yesterday. All because I left some stuff behind in the cockpit.

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