Thursday, August 30, 2007

Weather delay

It’s 7 p.m. Do you know where your sanity is?

Sitting in the Crown Room at Atlanta’s airport, parked because there’s weather in the area.

Here’s how my luck runs. My airplane for the flight to Ontario, Calif., is here. Sitting at the gate, ready to rock and roll. The problem is that the flight attendants for our flight are not here.

Just about the time they were supposed to land, from goodness knows where, a thunderstorm rolled across the field. They circled for a while, and then for a while longer, and finally they were running low on fuel.

So that plane was sent to Charleston, S.C., to get refueled, and is supposed to get back here about 8:30.

Supposed to, of course, being the operative phrase.

That’s assuming things go perfectly for the good souls on that plane the rest of their evening. Which, most likely, ain’t happening. Best-case scenario, they get here and we’re ready to go by 9 or 9:15 Eastern, which puts us around 10:30 p.m.

I am going to set the over-under on midnight. I say that because I’ve been in this movie before. The last time I tried to get to Ontario, it was from Orlando and we got held up in Atlanta. We landed there, finally, about 11:55 p.m. Which worked out nicely, since the car rental place my company deals with closes at 12.

This is not my first rodeo.

I was sitting out at the gate for a while and I noticed this tingling sound. I thought it was in my head for a while, then I looked across the concourse and there was a lady sitting that tapping on a triangle – you know, the instrument that is to a band what right field is to Little League.

Sitting next to her, a guy had pulled out a fiddle. And he was playing, too. Within a little while, another fellow had sat down and he had a guitar. Now I am guessing they were all together, but you never know.

Any way, the problem was that I had specifically requested the "no hoe-down" section when I came into the airport. As we waited – I guess they’re on my flight, since there was no sign of any flight leaving from over there where they had set up the barn dance – they kept right on playing.

I can’t swear to it, but I think they know about four songs, and they all seem to feature some really intricate triangle playing.

So I escaped to the Crown Room, a vestige of my 2006 experiment to fly with Delta from an airport in Charlotte that is dominated by another airline. It’s pretty easy to get to Los Angeles out of Charlotte on that airline, but – at least theoretically – Ontario works out easier on Delta. And Ontario’s airport is about five or 10 minutes from the California Speedway.
That, oddly enough, is where I am supposed to be at 3:30 a.m. Pacific time on Friday to get ready to do the Sirius Satellite Radio show I do, which begins at 7 a.m. Eastern.

Right now, at 7:16 p.m., I would say the odds of me getting to California by then are not better than fair. My wife, Katy, accuses me of borrowing trouble by worrying too much, but I don’t see it was worry. I see it as stark realism.

First, my question is this. The plane coming here that got diverted was almost certainly going to be flying somewhere else after it got here, right? OK, somewhere in this airport the crew that was going to work that flight is doing the same thing I am doing – waiting. Why can’t they get on our plane and we’ll be on our way?

I know, that puts them out of place and causes a big ol’ mess. But that’s what we’ve get here anyway.

Here’s my guess as to what’s getting ready to happen.
About 9:30, the flight attendants on the plane diverted to Charleston will roll in here and the regulations about "crew rest" will kick in, saying they can’t work a full four-hour flight to California tonight. Delta will exhaustively search for an alternate crew, and we’ll get out of here along about 10 or 10:30.

Friday morning, that is.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about getting enough sleep tonite David, you'll be able to catch up at the track Saturday and Sunday.

Anonymous said...

does the band know "Freebird"??

Anonymous said...

You have my heart felt sympathy having spent countless hours mumbling unkind and rude things about airline executives myself...please make sure that you have no sharp objects on your person in case the band does do a rendition of freebird...this is a perfect example that I use ground travel as much as possible which I realise is not practical in this case...but the first commentary is right you should be able to catch up on your sleep saturday and sunday at the speedway....hopefully the snoring in the media centre at California Speedway isn't to loud...

Anonymous said...

Time for Mr. Poole to go Greyhound. If you leave on Monday, you should be in California by Thursday.

And you can see who's who in mental illness now across the country.

Anonymous said...

David I feel your pain and complement you on not killing anyone. Your story about the people playing music made me think of the scene from Animal House when the guitar was smashed; I could easily see myself doing that if I was in a similar situation.

Remember: DELTA = Doesnt Ever Leave The Airport

Kudos on the person who posted the comment about California this weekend, I doubt I will even watch. I think I have to cut my nails.

Would you have driven to Darlington from your home?


Monkeesfan said...

It's enough to pine for Clark Kent Airlines, because you know you'll get there fast with CKA.

Trouble is the airline's boss is always disappearing for some reason or another. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Remember: DELTA = Doesnt Ever Leave The Airport LMAO

I didn't travel to Fontana this year. I feel your pain. I hope your luggage arrives this time :)

Anonymous said...

I thought Mr. Poole knew 'everything'? If he's been there and done that before and has the t-shirts to prove it, why doesn't he know about weather and airplanes? OH that's right... they don't go 'round and 'round and 'round.