April 29, 2009

"Where are we?"

Over the weekend I worked my last 3 day trip as a Cincinnati based Flight Attendant. Next month I move to New York's JFK Airport (again). This was a very easy looking trip. One leg the first day, two the second and three on the third day.

Sunday morning we were flying Boston to JFK and then JFK to Chicago O'Hare. Easy right? We take off for Chicago on our 2 hour flight. It's a pretty easy crowd of people, we are half full in First Class and in the coach cabin. About twenty minutes out as we are getting the galley ready for landing the Captain calls back...."Ding, dong"

There are thunderstorms over the airport so we are in a hold. Basically when there are thunderstorms, or high winds, or other circumstances in which planes can not land they are put in holding, circling somewhat near the airport until the situation passes and they can land the planes. The longer the holds, the more planes are affected, it creates backups at the airports with planes landing, planes taking off, gate's available.... basically a big big mess. We circle for twenty minutes and then they extend our hold for another half an hour.

Our two hour flight is no longer two hours. About an hour later we get another call back. All I hear is blah blah blah, divert to Milwaukee. We are low on fuel and need to land to refuel. Still not able to get into Chicago, we are heading to Milwaukee. The captain makes an announcement, we get the cabin ready for landing and down we go. We land and my other flight attendant makes the announcement we are in Milwaukee and to stay seated once we get to a gate until we get an update on what's going to happen.

Of course, I had a few passengers in the back who were sleeping. I see them looking bewildered out the windows. They turn around looking at me in alarm... "Where are we?" They ask.
I mouth "Milwaukee" to them. The look of shock that comes over their face was so amazing if we weren't tired and wishing for our hotel beds at this point (I had a 4:15am wake up call) I might have laughed.

We get everyone on the same page with what is going on. We wait for a fuel truck, pass out so many cups of water that our whole supply of big bottles are gone (we had to apologize to the flight attendants who took over our plane to go back to JFK), hand out snacks and do another first class service, let passengers come up and stand in the main cabin door to get some fresh air and watch the minutes tick by on our watches. Over an hour later we are ready to go. Finally we make it to Chicago. Our two hour flight had quickly turned into 6 hours on the plane. We could have flown to somewhere much more exotic in that amount of time.

This was my first flight that diverted. I've been close before but always managed to get in to wherever we were going. I was really glad to be working with another good Flight Attendant that has been through this before. It was a long day but pretty painless in the end.


Postcards and Coasters said...

I hate days like that!

After a long day on the plane I think of all the fun places I could have flown to rather then El Paso etc. :)

Meekiyu said...

Oh man... I hope you are taking a nice break now after that. I've only been on a round trip to California once and we went off without a hitch although we did fly though an incredible thunder and lightening storm. I wasn't spooked ever since I saw that documentary on airplane structure and function! woot!

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