May 30, 2006

Our worst flight ever.

Over the years, everyone gathers stories of the worst travel experiences they have had. I once spent 18 hours flying from Los Angeles to Washington, way of JFK; Louisville, KY and St. Louis, Missouri. There were no meals served to us on any of the flights and no opportunity to buy anything between flights.

Another time, I was on a plane that made an emergency landing due to the fact that the septic tanks were filled.

Another time, I was almost left behind when my plane left 2 hours early. I had to drive 100 mph to get to the airport. The security check was done literally on the run and I was forced to sit between the engines near the broken bathroom, next to 2 small children who were flying unaccompanied- and who vomited on me.

Another occasion I was kept on the same plane for 28 hours straight when the plane made an emergency landing in Labrodor, New Foundland after the plane ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean.

I could go on. I have about 5 or 6 other tales that I have regaled people with over the years. I realize there are people who have had much, MUCH worse experiences than myself, but this blog is by me and about me. :)

On our way from Jerusalem to Los Angeles, we were delayed in increments for a total of 24 extra hours. The fuel gauge was busted on a brand new plane (we were to be on the maiden voyage with passengers.) At 1am they said the delay would be 1 hour. At 1:30am they said it would be until 6am. At 2 am, they said it would be until 10am and that we would get a room in a hotel. Somewhere in the next two hours it went from 1oam to 11am to 1pm to 2pm. They had to find a different plane capable of flying half-way around the world. Did I mention that we had a cat with us that could not go to the hotel? They had to find litter and food for Seti since we had not packed any. Knowing you will have your cat in a bag for 24 hours is bad enough, but you have to let her out to take care of her needs if that becomes 36 hours. The solution took over 2 hours to find which was that the head administrator of the airline at the airport took our cat and let her out of the cage in his office overnight. Someone's sister had to bring litter in from home to the office.

Later, as we were checking out of the hotel, they told us the delay was until 5:30pm. (This is already a 17 hour delay.) We finally took off after going through security a second time. Some poor Canadian was very upset that security grilled him so hard the second day in a row because his wife was Jewish and he was not.

The food sucked. More than usual.

As we were landing in Toronto, our midway stopping point, where we were supposed to stop for a 1-hour refueling, we were told that those of us going to Los Angeles would have an additional delay of 7 hours. This was because of the time of night that we had landed in Toronto. LAX customs would not recieve an international flight in the wee hours of the the morning so we would have to wait until we could land there properly. [If you have lost track of the hours here, that's fine because we did too.]

We had to go through customs again, deal with cat needs and stay in another hotel. There was no food we could eat on our stay over and we had to stand on line for an hour for a security clearance. Did I mentioned that our cat played with her litter in the hotel room so that it spread over half the room? She was not happy and we were not either.

Finally we made it to LA. We had intended for Elana to have a day rest between the international flight and her flight to start a chaplaincy job in Seattle. No such luck. I walked her directly from the international terminal to the domestic terminal where she immediately checked in for her next flight...which was delayed an hour. :)

I went home to my Mom's place with Seti. A couple days later, I flew to San Jose, CA to get the car from Elana's parents and I drove up with the great company of my brother-in-law Evan.

I'm still getting over jetlag.


Nikki said...

Ahhhhh... that sucks.

Glad you guys are back safe - even if it means jetlagged and with an angry cat...

Looking forward to reading more blog updates and seeing when you return!

Tovah said...

Which airline was this? And did you at least get free stuff (other than the 2 hotel stays) out of this?

Adiv said...

No free stuff yet. I need to write a letter to the company. It was El-Al airlines.