Sunday, October 7, 2007

To Fly or Not to Fly [Part 2: The New England Experience]

Flight Problem 2: US Airways, New Hampshire (Manchester) to Washington, DC (National)

Everything seemed fine that bright blue morning when we set out for the airport. For 6 years, I've always taken the EARLY flight -- the first flight of the day -- meaning that we had to get up and start driving to the airport at about 3am. Yuck. This year, I decided to take the second flight of the day.

Bad Mistake.

We called ahead; the flight was on time.
We got to the airport; the flight was now delayed 15 mins.

Then 10 more mins.
Then 10 more mins.
Then 15 more mins.
Then 6 more mins.
etc., etc., etc.

Finally, the flight was 3 hours late.

Then, the desk confirmed that the plane was in the air and coming to us. So, I kissed my husband and headed through security. The plane arrived at the gate, and all was well for 10 mins.

Then they announced that the plane was having technical difficulties, so they pushed it back to let another plane use the gate. Then THAT plane broke and got pushed away from the gate. Then a third plane came up and YES that plane TOO broke ... but not as badly.

So, I'm sitting in the lounge, chugging a lot of water (because I'm pregnant) and here is what they announce:
"Everyone please use the restrooms. The plane does not have any operational lavatories, but we've been cleared for the 70-minute flight to Washington DC"


So, I either choose to not go on the flight (and call my husband to drive an hour back to pick me up so we can get up the next day to do it all again), or I cross my legs and hope to survive 70 minutes without using the restroom. I choose the latter.

The flight actually went very well, until we were about 10 mins out from landing and then the Air Conditioning stopped working. So, the temperature jumped up very, very quickly. So I was sweating, ready to throw up, and had to pee. I am happy to say that I did make it, though my bladder was very angry at me for a day.

So, what do I take away from this experience?
- I will definitely fly US Airways, again. They still have the best flight schedule for the places I want to go.
- I will NOT take the second flight, again. It seems clear that only the first flights of the day have a chance to be on time. After that, given the current atmosphere of historic delays, it is too risky.
- I will NOT fly again while I am pregnant, unless I have no choice. At least in a car, if I'm really desperate, I can pull off the road and find a tree.

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