Stuck and the City!

The issues I encounter when I fly non-rev (stand by) are literally endless but this time around it was simply Mother Nature who was getting in the way (I remembered to not eat before I got on the plane…just kidding- see previous blog post).  My trip began as I sat down on my flight to JFK, New York and once again was blinded by optimism and could only think of getting to my final destination of Stockholm, Sweden. Over the loud speaker I heard, “There is some bad weather in New York and we are delayed three hours so we need to deboard everyone.” Well to make a long story short seven hours later we finally took off, and by that point so many passengers had left that we were able to sit in first class. I became a “we” when I got lucky enough to sit next to another pilots’ daughter who was headed to Prague for a six week study abroad.  Normally when I travel I don’t like to make small talk and try to keep to myself, but Shannon Summers was the exception.  We sat for seven hours acting like best friends, telling each other our life stories and of course our tales of being pilot daughters.  We both ended up in the same boat of being about three hours late to our connecting flights.  Which in standby world is probably the worst thing that can happen on a summer flight headed to Europe. With  JFK was shut down for a few hours due to weather, a lot of people missed connections and the flights for the next couple days quickly became over sold- uh oh!

Luckily my flight attendant friend was in New York so she got us a discounted hotel and my new friend, old friend and I shared a room.  Which weirdly enough we decided was converted to a hotel from a parking garage as all the halls were slanted.

I was lucky that I really didn’t have any other option than my one flight at 7:10 p.m. the next day to try to get a seat on, so I got to enjoy my day in NYC.  I shopped a little, enjoyed a lovely lunch where I had a mushroom quesadilla with truffle oil and then layed in the park.

Poor Shannon (my new friend) went straight back to the airport in the morning and was just trying to get on a flight to anywhere in Europe since all of the flights were overbooked.   I went back to the airport in a great mood, and not disappointed that my Sweden trip had been delayed a day because I had spent a lovely day in the city.  But when the plane door closed and I wasn’t sitting on the plane I really didn’t feel like being in the city that never sleeps anymore.  Shannon was just as unsuccessful as I was so we got another hotel the three us of, and went to sleep with a little less optimism than we started with.  Especially Shannon because at this point they had “misplaced” her bag, and nobody knew where it was, from New York to Germany.

To wrap up this long story and two day delay up both Shannon and I ended up getting on the flights the next day and Shannon got a seat in first class, I wasn’t so lucky.  Her bag came back to her quickly, not quite sure where it went, but at least she found it.  Now that I’m retelling this story I think it doesn’t sound all that bad considering this is the first time in my 22 years of flying that I have gotten a hotel when flying by myself after getting stuck overnight.  So my normal story would include long nights of sleeping on the airport floors so hey, I guess this portion of my trip was just an easy walk in the terminal!

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The FAA Says I’m Fat, But I Ain’t Down With That

When flying standby I am pretty used to being told “you’re not getting on this flight.” But once I’m seated in my seat I normally breath a sign of relief and think “all smooth sailing from here.” As I’ve sometimes noticed, but more recently truly learned, that is not always true.  My dad always says “you’re not set until the door closes” and I have learned even that isn’t true. 

One time when I was headed on a whim two day trip to Sydney Australia (yes that’s right two days, well technically five- three days traveling two days in Sydney) I boarded my flight out of lovely Flint, Michigan (I hope you can detect my sarcasm)  headed to Detroit.  The doors close, we push back and I just close my eyes and start to get giddy with excitement to go to one of my favorite countries.  Then over the loud speaker they announce “We have an over weight situation and one passenger is putting the plane over weight; Kelsey Colt will you please gather your things and we will remove you as quickly as possible so we have an ontime departure.”  Now there is nothing like the FAA telling you that you are solely responsible for putting the 50,000 pound plane over weight to make you think twice about that double cheeseburger you had the night before. Oh and to put the cherry on top of the cake that I apparently shouldn’t eat, my physics teacher from high school was on the plane.  I can only imagine he was thinking that I must’ve gained the freshman 15 in college.

Clearly I’m not over this yet!

This is a picture of me eating the famous New Zealand Fergbuger! If you ever make it to the south island of New Zealand plan to eat at least three or four of your meals there!