Why is it that when I get delayed on a flight, it’s always AFTER I board the damn plane?
Today, I had the pleasure of watching as several grounds crew folks stared into the engine on the left wing of our plane, right outside of my window. The captain told us over the loudspeaker we had two mechanical issues that needed to be resolved before we could take off and that we’d be about 20-30 minutes late. No biggie, except that’s not what really went down.
For about 30 minutes, absolutely NOTHING happened. I didn’t see anyone outside the plane, and I didn’t hear anything from el capitain. Thank goodness for my iPhone and Dexter! After a while, I start seeing some activity outside my window. Let me tell you how very reassuring it was to see several different workers come, peek into the engine, and then walk away. WTF!
After a few more minutes, two mechanics were joined by the pilots. They all looked into the engine several times, a couple “I don’t know” gestures made me feel really good.
So now we’re pushing an hour on the delay. The captain comes back on, says there’s a nick in one of the blades in the engine. This is where it gets good. He says there’s some discussion about whether or not it warrants an immediate repair. Apparently, there’s a 58-page manual they have to go through and some people they have to talk to in order to decide whether or not to repair the nick (by machining it down) before we take off. He is telling 200+ people on his flight that the powers that be are not sure if this issue is really serious enough that they have to repair it before we can fly.
I guess we got lucky (depending on how you look at it), and it was designated bad enough to repair before we could take off, so they spent another 20 minutes repairing the nick. Meanwhile, the captain (note that this is already an hour into the delay) informs us that we can leave the plane. However, if they finish the repair and we’re not back on board, we’re SOL because they are leaving ASAP and not waiting for anyone.
Why even bother telling us we could get off the plane at this point?!
Just to be sure we had plenty of things to complain about on this flight, during all of this we had two very unhappy kids nearby for entertainment. Now, I have two kids, and I’ve flown with them, so I have no problem with some crying kids (thank you noise-canceling headphones). They’re kids. They do that. However, they should have let these poor mothers off the plane at the beginning of the delay so the kids wouldn’t be so restless. At least I wasn’t in first class. If I’d paid for a first class ticket and had screaming kids in the row directly behind me, with nothing separating us but a thin blue curtain, there’d be some ‘splainin’ to do.
Note: First Class on most flights is a total ripoff. Most of the time you’ve got kids right behind you in the first rows of Coach, with nothing but the curtain. The seats aren’t that much bigger, and I’m sure the food/drinks don’t make it worth the extra money.
To top things off, when I arrived at baggage claim, this is what my bag looked like coming down the conveyor belt, ha:
So, that’s my journey out to Cali. Hopefully legs 2 and 3 of my trip will be less eventful.
Slideshow of plane repair:
Small bonus: got some really neat pictures (low quality with iPhone) while we were in the air: