I got home from Florida five hours later than scheduled. I took two flights to get home, each with its own set of problems.
The first flight from Orlando to Charlotte was delayed, but only by about an hour. Annoying, but I didn’t think it would create a huge problem. It did – we arrived in the Charlotte area at the same time as a major line of thunderstorms. We had to land, so we went through them.
Holy turbulence! If I hadn’t been belted down, I would have flown up out of my seat. Kids screamed. Adults made quieter noises of distress. I sat in my seat, eyes closed, praying to try to distract myself from the visions of death dancing in my head. (I am not terribly religious, but I needed something to focus on.) I was on the verge of both crying and puking. I got the same falling feelings in my stomach that I had on the Tower of Terror the previous day. The Plane Ride of Terror was much less enjoyable.
We made it to Charlotte and everyone cheered. Applause after a flight means the opposite of applause after anything else. Usually, people clap for something that was exceptionally good. A flight has to be awfully rocky to merit that degree of celebration upon landing.
I rushed to get food, since I had an hour before my next flight was scheduled to depart. The boards said it was on time, but the internet told me something different.
My plane was delayed coming from Atlanta, and the website told me it would arrive at 8:27. However, it was still going to magically leave Charlotte 12 minutes before it landed. Huh?
Eventually, the boards and the internet caught up with reality: The plane hadn’t left Atlanta, and it would not leave for a few hours. It arrived in Charlotte around 10:30, a half hour after I was supposed to be home.
We boarded, and the plane began to move. Then, it stopped. We sat there for 45 minutes. The pilot came on over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and gentlemen, just wanted to let you know that due to noise ordinances in Charlotte, everyone has to use just one runway, and we’re 20th in line.” Cue collective groan from the passengers. After another 45 minute wait, we were in the air.
This flight went smoothly, and I met some people on the flight who happened to be headed toward my apartment on their way home. Our airport has no cabs waiting at that time of night, and I had already told my ride to not bother waiting up for me. I arrived in my apartment at 3 a.m.
It could have been a lot worse, but it would have only taken another three hours to drive. Air travel is supposed to be fast, right? Thankfully, my next two trips include only direct flights.