May 21, 2008

Plane Pain

We got up at a decent hour yesterday morning, ate breakfast and drove to the local airport to catch the commuter plane to Heathrow. The airport was quiet, no line-ups while checking in, and we didn't have to pay any overweight fees!

Our flight landed ahead of schedule in Heathrow, we picked up our luggage and rechecked it onto our scheduled flight to Toronto. Again, no hiccups. Then we sat down to a final fish and chips lunch, spent our last few pounds on duty-free wine and made our way to the gate.

Judging from the line-up at the gate, the flight was full - primarily of families returning to Canada. Cute little toddlers were running around everywhere. We happily took advantage of the pre-boarding option for families and got settled into our seats.

People seemed to be boarding at a good pace, and when the captain came on and informed us that the winds were favourable and we'd actually be landing an hour ahead of schedule, it put a big smile on my face and made up for the fact that we hadn't lucked out with one of the planes with upgraded personal entertainment systems. The boys could make do with their GameBoys and movies on the computer for the next 7.5 (as opposed to 8.5) hours.

As the plane started taxiing out, I looked at my watch and registered with utter disbelief that it was doing so 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I mean, when does that happen? And at Heathrow, to boot?

I've travelled via Heathrow countless times, and I know that "Never" is the answer to those retorical questions.

Which is why, mere seconds after the purser had expressed his utter delight at the shortened flight schedule, the plane screeched to an abrupt halt.

Words like "...a bit of concrete flew into engine upon start-up..." and "...damaged engine blades..." started coming out over the speaker system, combined with lines such as "...need to call maintenance..." and "...unfortunately the paperwork will take at another 45 minutes to an hour..."

And so it was that we ended up standing on the tarmac for 2.5 hours, waiting for the plane to be fixed and re-cleared for take-off.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Air Canada making sure the plane is fit to fly, but it is beyond me why the paperwork should take longer than the actual work done on the plane.

Bottom line, our precious one hour of saved time turned into an added 1.5 hours of total travel time, even with those helpful winds. Ugh!

And those lovely families with happy toddlers running around during boarding? Not so happy after a while. Let's just say it was the longest shriek-fest I've ever experienced! Double ugh!

But we're here now. In our own house after 10 months away. It feels strange and familiar at the same time. But more on that later. For now, I must focus my attention on the piles of luggage that are literally blocking our front door.

38 comments:

Becky at Swirling Vortex said...

Welcome Home! We're almost neighbors now - me here in Mn and all.

I hope your re-entry into "real life" goes smoothly

Lisa @ Take90West said...

Welcome Home...I love the 'strange and familiar' line, can't wait to hear more about how you are feeling. I hope the boys are doing well!

Katney said...

Welcome home. I've only been following your adventure for the last couple of months, but feel a part of it.

Your final flight experience reminds me of our trip to Russia ten years ago. When the second announcement of a delay came over the intercom, our daughter who had driven us to the airport in Seattle went home saying, "call me when they cancel the flight." It was not cancelled, but as the five hours in the terminal lingered on, the announcements began to be made only in Russian, because, after all, who else would fly Aeroflot. Did I mention that there were only about a hundred seats and several hundres waiting passengers?

About midnight two things happened. It my birthday arrived, and we departed, and after about twelve bumpy hours, landed near midnight in Moscow where signs were still illegible to us, the currency unavailable till we got there and unavailable because of the hour, and the people who were to meet us technically only had to wait one hour.

I had left half off my birthday hours somewhere over the pole--but our adventure had begun.

Julie Pippert said...

You are home, back on our side of the pond. :)

I can't wait to hear about *these* adventures. :)

Sorry about the flight. And good luck with unpacking and settling in.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Welcome home! Sorry about the flight delay, sucks.
It must feel so strange to be back, it seems weird that you are writing from here in Canada. Good luck with the unpacking and resettling. TAke care,
Kristen

She She said...

Welcome home! Sorry to hear about your ordeal.

dkuroiwa said...

Welcome Home, Heidi!!
and yes...I totally understand that "stange and familiar" feeling upon returning home. I experience that every time I come back to japan from spending only a month in the States...canNOT imagine what it must be like for you.
Take it slow...those suitcases do NOT have to be unpacked right now...honey, you don't have to do anything...just....be.

and i just hate flights like that...like it's one big 'tease' from the airline! But..glad you made it "home"!!

Chantal said...

OH Heidi, welcome home. I wish the weather was better for you all. Nothing like cold and cloudy to say "Thanks for coming back".

Christie said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry about the plane. I hate flying.

Welcome home - can't wait to hear all about life in your homebase.

Barrie said...

Welcome home! Looking forward to hearing all about how it feels to be back.

Laura said...

WELCOME HOME!!!!

Sorry you had a terrible flight...I can only imagine...but you are HOME!!!!!

Hope the settling in goes well and I cannot wait to hear about the new perspective you may have on life in Canada.

HUGS!

jenontheedge said...

Welcome home!!!

Alpha DogMa said...

Welcome home!

Do you read the Mad Hatter's blog? She just had an anti-Air Canada rant/post that you might enjoy.

Your tale is enough to make me feel better about not flying anywhere anymore. Well, no. I still feel very provincial.

So what was your first meal back at home?

Beth said...

Welcome home!!

Victoria said...

Aww - you're "back"! Welcome home! Best of luck with the unpacking (I'd just pitch it all and purchase new stuff).

Hope you're all well - how're the boys adjusting?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Welcome home--after all, there's no place like it!

Amy Y said...

Welcome back! I was so confused about the title after the first couple of paragraphs... I'm glad you made it, despite the pain! Ugh.

Kyla said...

Welcome home!!

LoriD said...

A chunk of concrete does not seem at all good! Glad you made it home in one piece. Best of luck readjusting over the next little while!

Ree said...

Wowweee. You're closer than you've ever been before.

Welcome home.

Dawn said...

I'm glad you made it home safely...sorry about the plane pain.

Gina said...

Glad you are home safe, even if it was later and more annoying than you expected it to be!

Anna-borderline-bonkers-banana :) said...

Glad you are home safe! What an adventure, I can imagine the shreik fest real well, we had one last night. Not fun at all!

Anyway, rest up and have fun adjusting back to life here. :)

theotherbear said...

Welcome home!

Amy said...

I am glad you returned safely. I with you the best with the readjustment period.

Shan said...

Welcome Home!

E said...

Yes welcome home. Be gentle with yourself. Reentry has been known to be a little messy. Hot baths, and take out as you all settle back in to each other in this old and now new place.......

Kathryn said...

Not only is that a huge pain in the butt, but I would have been scared out of my mind to fly on that plane after all that. Yipes!

Welcome home!

Cheri said...

Welcome home! Glad you're safe and sound.

Holly & Scolly said...

Welcome Home. Looking forward to more installments, even though the "Viking Conquest" is over.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

So glad you are home safely! Get some rest from all the traveling.

Cathy said...

It's so cruel, the way they tease you promises of an early arrival when you know they know that saying such things only serves to delay a flight!

Glad you made it back safely. Can't wait to hear how you're settling in!

Annie said...

Wow! I suppose it just goes to show ya...don't count your chickens before they hatch.

But...You are home now! Lovely, lovely home.

I'm so glad I found your blog a few months ago. I feel as if I've journeyed with you. It's been lovely, truly. Thank you so much for sharing.

Stomper Girl said...

Now that Fixit is working on planes we are finding out about the paperwork. It is unbelievable, but kind of reassuring!

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