Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Airplane Ride

For those of you who read my recent post about my 82 year old mom, this is a story that connects to that.  On September 8, I boarded a plane in the Colorado Springs airport to fly to Mobile, Alabama (Laura Hayden, who herself lives in Alabama, instructed me that this is pronounced Mo - Beel, accent on the second syllable.  This came in handy giving me some street cred in the Land of Dixie).

No sooner had we boarded the plane then the pilot came on the speaker informing us that the plane had some mechanical difficulty that had to be attended to before we could take off.  Time passed and it became obvious that this was a problem that could lead to not only delays but even a cancellation.  The flight attendants were terrific handing out drinks and smiles and letting us know they and American Airlines would do everything they could to get us to where we were going.

Now what usually happens to me is that I have multiple hour layovers in Dallas before my connecting flight to Mobile.  Not so this time.  This time I had a mere one hour layover.  When half that time had elapsed, I began to be anxious that I would miss my connection in Dallas.  

Now, I'd seen tons of movies and TV shows where some jowly bully browbeats the flight attendant telling her she needs to do something.  "Dammit, I need to be in New York by ten AM or a million dollar deal is out the window.  Do you understand, girly, girl?"

I didn't want to be that guy so I casually mentioned my situation - my 82 year old mom was in the hospital with double pneumonia - to the senior attendant.  Immediately, the entire attendant crew were at my seat with commiserating smiles and telling me they would do everything in their power to make sure I made my connecting flight.

It was then that the pilot came on the horn telling us that it might turn out that we would have to deplane and that American Airlines would get us other flights to our destinations, even if those flights were with other airlines.  

I checked my watch.  Thirty-five minutes of my hour layover had evaporated.

The attendants came back to my seat and told me I was being considered first in placement to other flights.

The pilot came back on the horn telling us the plane had checked out and we were taking off momentarily.  My attendant came again and this time squeezed my hand.

We took off and as far as I knew my fate was in the hands of the gods.  Not so.  Again, the attendant came to me.  She bent down and whispered in my ear.

"A man in first class, in the first seat, has agreed to move to another seat so that you can have the seat closest to the door."

As soon as it was safe - to move about the cabin - I quietly grabbed my luggage from the overhead bin and made my way to the front of the plane.

In all my years on the planet, I've never sat in first class.  It was pretty darn cool.

Before we landed, the attendant came to me and handed me a piece of paper with the gate of my flight.  Normally, these are announced anyway, but it was nice of this wonderful lady to keep me in her thoughts.

When we landed in Dallas, the rest of the folks in first class waited until I got my stuff and was in the aisle before they got out of their seats.  I can only guess that either she or the man who had given up his seat had told every one about my situation.

I was off and running.  It turned out my flight was in a different concourse than where I had landed.  I had to get on a train.

The gate where my plane waited was empty when I finally got there, but it looked like the folks were expecting me. I was ushered onto the flight.

As I sat down, I found myself smiling.  The world is full of marvelous, sympathetic, loving people.  

Even as write this, I have to say I am a big fan of my species.  Yay, for the human race!!!!

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