Linda Flies The Turbulent Skies

May 13, 2009

in Weather Stories

I fly frequently coast to coast with my job, as a Computer Network Coordinator, so flying is no problem with me. I know to allow a lot of time for delays or whatever during the flight. My husband, although he was in the Air Force, does not like to fly…go figure.

Anyhow, we were going on a Caribbean Cruise for our Anniversary and had to fly from Pittsburgh, PA to Miami, FL to board our ship. This was to be his first flight in over 20 years. Well, we boarded the plane with no problems and amid great expectations. First of all, we sat on the tarmac for over an hour with no explanation as to why we had pulled away from the terminal. After about an hour sitting there, they cut off the AC and it began to get hot. They offered us a ‘sip’ of water and that was all. I questioned the attendant as to what the problem was, and of course she had no idea. Then we returned to the terminal and were told there was a weather related problem with landing, but we could not deplane or would not be allowed back on. Well needless to say, by this time the restrooms were beginning to have an odor all their own. This was an early morning flight and breakfast had long since worn off since we ate at the terminal because they no longer give you food onboard. Finally after about 2 hours on the plane – hot – tired and hungry we finally took off.

I had the window seat and my husband had the middle seat. There was a very nice gentleman seated in the aisle seat. As we began to taxi the runway, we hear overhead, “Thank you for flying US Air. My name is ‘Linda’ and I will be your pilot today.” My husband looks dumb struck — and a bit too loudly says, “Oh crap, we’re done for.” The gentleman beside him leans over to look at me with a panicked look on his face that seemed to say, maybe they know something I don’t!

As we approached Jacksonville, FL “Linda” announced that there was turbulent weather over the Jacksonville area and we would be flying around the storm. My husband says “See, I told you!” at which point I said, “Yes, thank God for ‘Linda’ because a ‘Larry’ would have probably tried to go straight through the storm.”

When we got to Miami, we had to circle because the airport had nowhere for us to deplane. ALL THE GATES WERE FULL DUE TO THE BACKUP IN FLIGHTS!!! So once we landed, we sat for another hour waiting to get off! When we deplaned, I asked the attendant why did we take off from Pittsburgh if they knew we would have to wait in Miami? Her answer was, “Well you never know what might open up”!! What did she mean – were they waiting for a plane to go down or something?

Her flip response was more worrisome than anything!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred May 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm

The reason the flight left Pittsburgh, knowing there was a probability of no open gate in Miami, is that they want to claim an on-time departure. Nothing else matters.


Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

Heh. Fred's probably more right than a lot of airlines would care to admit, although they also probably didn't expect the ramp to have been closed for so long in Miami that no gates were available when they got there. Miami isn't a US Airways hub, so they don't have a whole lot of gates, and most airlines require their ramps to close when lightning is within five miles of the field.

You didn't say what time of year this was, but if it was serious enough to delay departure from Pittsburgh by two hours, I'm not entirely surprised the ramp hadn't opened up at all (or sufficiently to service, board, and push back the plane at your gate) in the roughly 2:30 it would have taken to get to Miami.


Hugh May 14, 2009 at 2:36 am

This is standard procedure. Once you're in Miama, you have more options. They don't know what other flights get delayed or cancelled for a multitude of reasons. 3 hours extra in the plane is rough, but becoming more standard today. The worst thing about the flight seems to be your husband's misogynistic attitude.


Nacho May 15, 2009 at 5:05 am

I agree with Hugh's opinion regarding your pigheaded husband. As women, I'm sure you and I both feel the effects that come from people acting like that around women with power or authority.


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