the main question most people want to know is: how was your flight? well, you tell me.
i left st. louis on a day that looked beautiful pretty much until i arrived at the airport. then it started pouring down rain. it’s okay, though, because my dad and i just discussed this and he made me feel better about benefitting from taking off in a storm rather than landing in one (apparently, when planes are landing in rain/storms they receive push back from the storm, providing for a much more bumpy and challenging ride).
imagine my dismay when we finally arrived at the dallas airport and were about to descend when the plane hit turbulence like i have never felt in my life. the pilot came on to say that none of the incoming flights are allowed to land and they are all in a holding pattern; estimated time: 5-0 minutes…. that’s right, FIFTY minutes. WHAT?!? at this point, I was not feeling too comfortable, especially when I looked out the window and saw lightning from the TOP of the clouds what looked like 500 feet from our plane. not to mention the fact that the thought kept running through my mind that if none of the planes were allowed to land then there must be, what, 50+ planes just circling this airport all in the same spot?? my prayer was, please don’t let us run into each other!
panicking trying to stay calm so i engaged in conversation with a very nice man next to me. it helped to exchange pictures/stories of our dogs and discuss how often he has flown and seen this happen. before i knew it, 50 minutes had passed. in fact, an hour and a half had passed when the pilot finally said it was our turn to land.
i felt just a moment of relief until i realized if an hour and a half had passed then my next flight was scheduled to leave in 30 minutes. surely, they wouldn’t leave on time, though, right? wrong.
i got into the terminal with 20 minutes until my scheduled flight time and realized not only was the flight “on time” there was also no gate listed on the departure screen. i scrambled to figure out where i needed to go and raced across the entire airport, arriving at my gate 5 minutes before departure.
qantas (the AU airline) needed my visa before i could board, which i had so there wouldn’t be any problems, right? wrong.
my entire name was listed in the last name box and they had to fix it before i boarded, which the woman said could take 5 minutes. i was thinking: surely they won’t leave without me when i am standing at the gate, but the manager of the place definitely made me feel like it was a possibility that they would. five minutes later, though, all was well and i was on my way. phew!
i arrived at my scheduled seat only to find out that there was a heater box under the seat in front of me, leaving me literally enough room to stretch only one of my feet under the seat and zero room for my purse. fourteen hours like this? i don’t think so! i mentioned something to the crew and they had no problems moving me since they had several extra seats. yay, right?
i am escorted to my new seat in a row of four seats where there is one other person in the entire row. the rest of the row is wide open and i was seated on the isle. score! that’s what i thought until i turned to the only other man in the row to say hi and he immediately says to me, “i paid $20 extra dollars for this seat and you aren’t supposed to be here.” what?!?! i calmly and in my most friendly tone explained to him the situation of my other seat and told him that i promised to stay in the perimeters of my one seat the entire time - he could have the other THREE seats. after he realized that I was a solo flier and that he, in fact, could have the other three seats to himself he was fine with me and i was fine with him. that was until he sprawled out on the other three seat and fell asleep; which, i guess, made him think he could then proceed to put his feet on me. seriously?! after i woke him up a couple of times, pushing him off, he finally learned this wasn’t going to fly. wow.
3 movies (moneyball – great, tower of heist – good, ides of march – great), 2 episodes of modern family, 2 airplane meals (the food was really good, actually), a lot of reading and sleeping and 14 hours later; i arrived in brisbane, australia. hello, australia!
unfortunately, my luggage was not as fortunate.
while i was patiently awaiting my luggage to arrive, i heard my name called over the intercom to come to the baggage claim desk. low and behold, my luggage never left dallas. this isn’t too surprising considering the 20 minutes between flights so i just went with the flow, filled out the form and received my luggage yesterday afternoon. after everything else on these flights it was weird how my missing luggage just did not bother me one bit.
i then had to fly to mackay, making 2 stops along the way, but those flights were relatively uneventful. the plane was the smallest i had ever been on, but there were probably 40 seats or so; so it could have been worse.
so, back to the main question, "how was your flight?" i guess i would say that, while a lot went wrong, it went well because i am here. right? and how boring would this post have been if everything went smoothly? from what i can tell i am going to love it here and i have no doubt this will be the experience of my lifetime!