Thursday, December 18, 2008

Story Oneupmanship

In the Canal Café, friends play one upmanship with aircraft stories.


Kathy: Three hours? Bit long. Reminds me of the time I was on a flight out of Chicago to LA and there were thunderstorms and we were kept waiting for FIVE HOURS.

Noriko: And you couldn’t get off?

Kathy: They gave us a choice. We could disembark and come back the next day. Or stay on and wait.

Noriko: You waited.

Kathy: I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally we got away but then we got in to LA at 3 in the morning and I had phone my husband to come and get me and he drove in for two hours and then we drove home for two hours. That was a bad one.

Noriko: I was stuck once for EIGHT HOURS.

Kathy: EIGHT?

Noriko: There was nowhere to go. I was in China.

Kathy: They let you off?

Noriko: They were waiting for the weather to clear. After eight hours we took off.

Kathy: How long was the flight?

Noriko: 45 minutes.



I used to be afraid of flying. These days, with the delays, I’m more afraid of getting on an aircraft and NOT flying.



Gold Member said...

While we're on the subject of delay one-upmanship, I once had to wait 12 hours for a flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. It wasn't as bad as it sounds.

This was in the days when Hong Kong had an airport right in the middle of the city - Kai Tak, the one where you could look through apartment windows and see what people were eating for dinner as you came in to land.

After check-in, but before getting to the gate, they announced the delay, anticipating it would be at least three hours since the plane had not yet left Beijing. We were allowed to leave the airport on condition that we phone in every hour (this was before mobile phones and text-messaging were common).

Kai Tak to downtown Hong Kong used to take about 15 minutes by cab. I went for an early lunch of dim sum, phoned in to be told the plane was still on the way, so then went to watch a movie, after which I phoned in again and got the same response. The final time I phoned in was after three movies, a stroll around Tsim Sha Tsui and a nice leisurely dinner. I was told the plane was about to land and calmly requested to go back to the airport. 20 minutes later I was there, and 20 minutes after that I was boarding the plane, extremely late but otherwise none the worse for wear.

Gold Member said...

P.S. Before anyone else jumps in to claim the prize with tales of an even longer delay I should warn you I have an Air Tanzania flight from Zanzibar up my sleeve...

Barry Natusch said...

Well, Gold Member,

You have certainly upped the ante on flying (or not flying) stories.

I won't get started on stories like landing at Great Barrier Island, NZ, in the 1960s in a Cessna which involved first buzzing the runway to chase the sheep up to one end of the runway so we could land at the other end, or being on a flight departing Changsha, China in the 1970s when the cabin filled with smoke.

Anyway, you as a Gold Member, probably sitting in Busy Class, surely have an easier time when we are stuck on the ground, being plied with various beverages and fussed over, unlike the poor mortals down in Rows 50 and 60.