168: Delayed, delayed, delayed. . .
Our trip went incredibly smoothly until we had to come home. We were supposed to fly out at 7:15am which is a sure fire way to start my day off poorly because it means getting up at like 4:00am to get checked out of the hotel, into the airport, checked in and through security and ready to go. We did all that and then, right about 7:00, we heard the flight was delayed at least two hours. A little after 9:00 they did begin boarding and we got all on any ready to go and then, we didn't go. We sat there for about an hour. Of course the entire flight was filled with small children who did not want to fly. They did not even want to sit on the plane so they screamed and screamed. The poor parents were incredibly stressed out. After about an hour the stewardesses did say they'd come through and give us a class of water if we wanted a drink. A bit after that people began milling about. The stewardesses in the back of the plane where we were had no idea what was going on. Eventually one of them used her cell phone to call the pilot because people in the front were leaving the plane, and they didn't know why. Eventually we started following the crowd although no one ever told us to get off the plane or explained what was happening. Once we got to the front one of the stewardesses was handing out pieces of white cardstock with numbers scribbled in pen on each one as people left the plane. (I was #120.) They didn't explain what these were for or what we should do with them.
Then we were all standing outside the gate in the airport. Still no word on what was happening. After about a half hour a five or six Alameda County officers including the K-9 division officer wandered up to our gate and and were talking to the staff working there. It was never clear why or if that was just some strange coincidence. After about another hour the airport staff finally announced that there was no estimated time of departure for the flight.
They did eventually start reboarding. Never any explanation about what was going on. Once they had us all on again there was a delay because there was some panel loose in the back of the plane and they needed a service person to come fix it. They thought this time they'd just have us wait on the plane rather than reboarding once again. It was almost 1:00 by the time we finally took off. The flight isn't even two hours, but once we got to Kalispell to land, there was no open runway so we had to circle for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes they came on the intercom again to tell us it would be another 15 minutes.
We did eventually make it home, but instead of being back in Montana by 10:30 in the morning and having the whole day to get things done, traveling (or not traveling) took up the entire day. I didn't even get my suitcase unloaded.
I figured I could at least be happy I didn't check it because I'm sure I never would have seen it again.