Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's A Bird. It's A Plane. It's A Bird In My Plane.

Last Wednesday, I arrived at the airport of a quick flight down to my favorite city in our fine country, Washington DC.  I had the sincere honor to go on behalf of my Junior League as our delegate to the AJLI Annual Conference (I am the President Elect this coming year).

So we are about to board the US Airways plane and I am chatting it up with the guy sitting next to me when the ticketing agent announces that we should sit back down because there seems to be a small bird stuck in the engine.


So we wait.  The announcement suggested it would be about 15 minutes.  No biggie.

Then the agent gets an update and makes a second announcement.  The sparrow-like bird is good and stuck in there, will be a bit longer.  But they are working on it.

And this is when I first start to notice Khaki Man.

There's always one.  In every airport story.  And in this story, his name shall forever be Khaki Man (though other passengers took to calling him Blue Shirt Man....he sparked many conversations).

Middle aged.  Blends in.  Normal looking.  But every. single. time. an announcement was made, he would run up to the agent and ask for more information.  Like seconds after the agent would get done telling us every ounce of information he has, this guy was on the scene to demand more.

This agent works inside.  He wasn't the team working on and in the engine.  He didn't see the bird in person.  He has no control over Mother Nature.  He doesn't fly the plane.  He doesn't even fly as staff on the plane.  He stands inside and shares information as it comes to him.

None of which satisfied Khaki Man.  He wanted to know every four minutes on the dot how and when he was going to get down to DC.

So back to the bird.

Like all grew.  It started out nondescript.  Then became "sparrow-like" and eventually we were told it was "hawk-like."  But I'm fairly certain it was an ostrich.  Or Big Bird.

Do you want to know how long it took to get Big Bird out of my plane's engine?

Well...I do too!

I'll tell you this much.  Three hours, two on-sight mechanics and an unknown number of on-call mechanics and engineers did not cut it.  They had to tow that bird-filled-plane wherever they tow planes.  A hanger?

If the guy next to me and I had made a drinking game out of Khaki Man freak outs, I would have been dead at the end of those three hours.  Khaki Man really made a name for himself that day.  That ticketing agent was an absolute saint - so patient and calm and nice to everyone (read: crazy Khaki Man).

The story gets stranger though.

So all of a sudden some other guy from the airline gets on the speaker and is clearly unhappy.  He announces that he had nothing to do with this decision (ooooh....things were getting juicy) but politics were coming into play (uh huh....I'm have my undivided gossip seeking attention).  The flight staff from my DC bound plane was more important than the staff from the about to leave Charlotte, NC bound plane.  Because after DC, they were headed somewhere else that was most important to keep airport business flowing.  So even though my DC bound plane was now grounded due to bird flu (or whatever), we (really just the flight crew....screw the passengers) were more important than the Charlotte bound peeps.  We were seizing their plane!

So even though the Charlotte peeps were about to get on the plane, off came their flight crew.  And our flight crew came off our plane, walked across the airport and boarded their plane.  The Charlotte peeps were not going anywhere until the next morning!

We literally stole their plane!

As if we were Bloods and Crypts, we all got up and switched sides.  DC moved to the Charlotte side and Charlotte moved to the DC side.  20 minutes later, I was boarding their plane.

The nice guy I was chatting with for so long had to get a hotel for the night.  DC was not his final destination and the Bird Hostage Crisis 2013 caused him to miss his connection.  He would miss them all for the night.  I felt so badly for him as this was his first vacation in six years.

I made it safely to DC and checked in just in time to order room service and fall asleep.

But y'all...who knew a bird could cause such a ruckus?!  It took down one plane and created quite a scene when the DC peeps overthrew the Charlotte peeps.

All because of a bird.

Further solidifying my dislike of birds (chickens and penguins being the exception).

And for sure to read up on the last time I went on a trip for the Junior League.  I don't know which story is more insane!


Elizabeth said...

I know it probably wasn't funny at the time, but your story sure did make me literally laugh out loud while reading it. :) But I'm glad you made it to DC finally.

Flo said...

Your flight to DC is right up there with a flight I took from Cleveland to JFK--amazing how complicated something so simple can become! Glad to hear you made it safe--finally.

Katiellirb said...

What a crazy story!! I can't believe they just stole the NC plane. That would really make me mad if I was on that flight! So glad it ended well though for you. And more to the point, did you get nice man's number?

MCW said...

Haha! That is a great story. Birds can really F up a plane! And my patio.

Ruth said...

I know it wasn't funny when it was happening but you had me laughing tonight.

Kate said...

I think there was something in the air (ha) that week/weekend! We were delayed leaving DC (stuck on the plane for 2+ hours) and the night before my brother in law had an ordeal on US Airways too. They boarded but due to weight issues caused by "extreme heat" they had to get people off the plane. First they took volunteers. Started to taxi. But that wasn't enough weight off. Headed back to the gate and they made the last 30 people to check in deplane!


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