Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Still Alive

Yesterday was...interesting. It hasn't been all that long since I've flown last, but things have definitely changed. Maybe it's due to the Olympics a couple months back, but man, the security at Vancouver Int'l Airport is something else. We now have automated check-in where you have to scan your passport and enter all your info into a computer. I didn't know my step-sister's address, and you now can't enter the US without giving the address of your final destination, so they weren't going to allow me to check in. Trust me, after only an hour's sleep the night before, my stress levels were already pretty high.

With that crisis averted, I went through security. Three times. They scanned me, all my clothes and belongings in my carry-on, then put me in a body scan booth where they check for hidden images and explosive residue. Then they swabbed my hands and socks, shoes, laptop and bag to check for more residue. I even got patted down after all that.

Jeez, talk about overkill. On the plus side, I felt like they'd made a good effort at keeping any crazies off the plane, so that helped a fraction.

After filling out a declaration form (even though I hadn't gone anywhere yet), I finally cleared customs and an hour later got on my flight, took my little Ativan tablet and willed it to kick in. No sooner had the pill melted under my tongue than the pilot came on the intercom to say that we had a broken plane. Some sort of fuel gauge malfunction they were double-checking with maintenance.


Turned out it wasn't a malfunction; the maintenance crew had shorted us a thousand gallons of jet fuel. Awesome. I'm feeling ever so secure strapped into my seat in this damn little tube.

Not only that, but our flight was delayed forty-five minutes, exactly the amount of time I had in Dallas/Fort Worth to get on my connecting flight. When we landed four hours later without incident, they let off eight of us trying to connect to Austin, and we all sprinted through the airport up to the trains to get to the terminal on the opposite side of the airport, then ran the whole way to the last gate. But no dice. They'd left without us. Bummer.

So they put us all on a later flight and we walked back to the other side of the terminal to wait, where I called my step-sis to tell her I'd be arriving late.

Only that plane was broken, too, and I was only too happy not to get on the thing.

They brought in another aircraft about an hour later, and once all those passengers disembarked and the plane was cleaned and fuelled (with the right amount), we finally got on. That flight was unpleasantly bumpy, but in my time sitting around DFW airport, I'd met some nice people that I wound up sitting with, and one of them is a huge Civil War buff :) So despite the turbulence I enjoyed her company, and Tina was waiting for me with baby Areia when I arrived in Austin.

We had a lovely Greek dinner (Tina's short for Athena, and she's half Greek) before driving to their beautiful new Spanish-style house. I met their two Great Danes and had the grand tour (OMG, if you could see the master walk-in closet, all you women out there would be pea-green with envy. I'll try to take pictures and post them later, but it's something else.). Today we're going to go into the city and do a little shopping and sight-seeing, and tomorrow I'm off to the ranch with Rhonda.

No flights for me for another four days! I'm so okay with that :)


Tia Dani said...

Wow, what a nightmare. That's all behind you now, and maybe a new story line?
Give Rhonda our best and please send pics of your sister's home. I'm a Realtor when not writing so you know I love looking a homes!
Have fun,

Katie Reus said...

Crazy! I think they gave you grief b/c you look like an evil mastermind, lol. So glad you're there safe!!