It seemed like the trip was off to a great start. My meetings at work finished right on time. I remembered to set my auto responses and even cleared a few items off my desk. Erin generously delivered me to the airport. I swept through the TSA pre screen line and made it to the delta lounge in time to get seriously hammered before my flight. That’s when things began to fall apart.
I boarded the plane at national airport, glanced out the window at the glorious sunny day, and passed out. When I woke up, we were in exactly the same place, but there appeared to be torrential downpours. That’s when I discovered we had been grounded due to weather.
By the time the weather cleared, we were an hour and a half late. That caused some serious concern given that my layover in Atlanta was exactly an hour and a half long. When we landed, I grabbed my carryons and sprinted to the plane train. I caught it, rode from Terminal T to Terminal E, sprinted to the gate, and arrived just when they called zone 1.
I popped my NyQuil and boarded the plane, full of confidence that when I woke up we’d be in Dublin and I’d be ready to begin my hunt.
Unfortunately about an hour into the flight, the captain announced that there was a little problem with the hydraulics and it wasn’t something they could fix in Dublin. We were turning around to return to Atlanta. A couple of minutes after that he announced that we were slightly overweight and we shouldn’t worry if we saw the runway lined with emergency vehicles when we landed.
We finally touched down and he slammed on the brakes. The fire trucks rushed over and we just sat on the runway. The pilot told us we had “hot brakes” and that had caused the “blown tire” and we couldn’t move again until everything cooled off. By the time they cooled off, we were able to go part way to the gate and then had to stop and rest the brakes again.
Eventually we made it and they let us off the plane with a warning not to go far. They told us Delta was looking for another plane and as soon as they found one they’d get us back in the air. In the meantime, we were given a measly food voucher and uncomfortable seats.
After a quick phone charge, I stood in line for my voucher. Whoo hoo! $50! Sadly, it expired at 11:00 and they were still teasing us with an 11:00 departure time. Also, apparently, every place that sold liquor was already closed. I got in line for McDonalds so I could at least get a couple of bottles of water. Thanks for nothing, Delta!
I passed the time chatting with a lovely woman who was traveling with her husband who was going to Dublin on a business trip. I want to do whatever he does! We decided the inconvenience was no biggie considering we still had our lives. I should have packed some vodka…
Eventually they let us board again. They made a big deal about how quick we had to do it because if the crew wasn’t in the air by 12:30 we would lose them. We all shuffled aboard and then sat there and waited. And waited. And waited. Apparently they had done a preemptive boarding just in case the mechanics finished fixing the broken brakes. I guess they stopped watching the clocks because they didn’t close the door and taxi out to the runway until sometime after 1. We landed in Dublin six hours after our scheduled time, safe and sound, thankfully. And after all, better late than never!