Sign in to follow this  
Cactus521

Funniest waiting area moment for me, what about you?

Recommended Posts

I have flown so much I have had several moments of "serendipity" in airports, some with family that I did not know, sitting next to me, which happened in Caracas once, another with Pete Rose who boarded my flight from Reagan to Florida, but one memorable occasion in Dulles on the way home to SFO.

I was sitting in the non-smoking section of the waiting area.  In Dulles at that time, you boarded a vehicle that took you directly to the aircraft, they still use them to a small extent but they were in large use in 87, when I was flying home from a week as a tourist in DC (got to visit inside the White House and see Ted Kennedy speak in the Senate, two highlights, in addition to the Air and Space Museum).  Anyway, here I am sitting in the lounge when thick cigar smoke starts drifting over me.  It was nearly nauseating, and I was ready to turn around and have it out with the offender.  But then he started speaking.  It was none other than the great actor, Danny Thomas, father of the great actress, Marlo Thomas.  He was on the phone with his agent, and rather than bother him saying hello I just listened to him talk and loved listening to his unique voice.  We were together for about an hour, no one bothered him which I loved, let the great man wait for his flight in peace.  He was bound to LA on another flight while I was bound to San Francisco.  I do not recall which one of us left first.  Our world certainly misses him, he was a great actor of a bygone era and being in his presence, and allowing him to enjoy his cigars, was a nice way to end my first visit to DC.  The sales manager at my hotel, from DC, recommended it for a vacation that year and I did not regret her advice.  That year I went to Disneyland, DC and later that year, Europe, for the most memorable year of vacations until I was married.  Other than Pete Rose, the owner of Wendy's, and Danny Thomas I never flew in the presence of any other celebrities although my career in the hotel business brought many celebrities to me, and athletes, and musicians, but most of all folks like members of this forum who are the most interesting, living ordinary lives but enjoying an extraordinary hobby.

John

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

That's a real interesting and nice story John.  Thank you for sharing.

The only celebrity that I ever seen was when I was in Florida and Miami Vice was shooting at a farm that I was working at in the Everglades.

I got to see Don Johnson in person and I was surprised at how short he was.  Just a little guy.

He had to climb on top of a "crashed" airplane that they had placed in the swamp with a crane. Mr. Johnson had a machine gun and was shooting at and being shot at by some criminals.

They would shoot a few shots at each other,  Mr. Johnson would jump down off of the aircraft into the swamp, then someone would yell "CUT!" and they would start again.

I don't remember how many times that they did it, but it was getting kind of boring.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No famous people involved but still pretty funny, in an "irony can sting" way.

I was returning from Narita (Tokyo, Japan) in summer, and if you have ever visited Japan in summer you know the humidity can be brutal. I had arrived early at the airport and was enjoying the air-conditioned concourse. I must have been flying Cathay Pacific, as if I were on JAL I would be in the Executive Lounge. Unbeknownst to me was the concept of "summer school" in Japan which apparently involves schlepping every middle-school child in Japan off to a foreign destination for a month. Well, my departure lounge was a sea of children, and while I have always known my Japanese compatriots to be quiet and reserved this was not the case when you have several hundred children gathered in the same place. It was rather cute, in that each "class" had a different color t-shirt, worn by both students and teachers. An excellent concept in team-management, and it was funny to watch the red/blue/aqua/yellow/magenta/green groups expand and contract as order was lost and regained.

Anyway, I was sitting near the windows so I could avoid getting overrun by a rainbow of children, and I looked outside. In the muggy summer heat of Tokyo there comes an airport "golf cart" towing a small trailer with a HUGE jet engine on it. This engine must have outweighed the horse and cart by tenfold - absolutely massive. Wonder where they are going with that? I watched until I lost it to view behind my aircraft. To my surprise, it reappeared heading towards the port wing of MY jet (I do not remember the make and model). It turns out the aircraft had ingested a bird during landing and they had to swap the engines. Right there on the tarmac? Yup. Apparently, jet engines can be treated like operational modules. So I went over to stand closer, surrounded by a sea of color. The panels and skins were off the aircraft engine already, and another small cart with the most powerful lift in existence was already supporting it, all the hoses and whatnot disconnected. Surprisingly tidy, and none of the technicians, all wearing white, was overly dirty. I do not remember the exact procedure, but it amounted to remove "three extremely large bolts",  lower the damaged engine, maneuver the new one in place, raise it, insert "three extremely large bolts", and reconnect Tab A to Slot B. All told, the flight was delayed only two hours. 

All in all, uneventful. But the sea of rainbow colors, and the "ah, word not allowed sticks" feeling I had when I realized that the enormous jet engine being towed halfway across Narita was going to my aircraft made it a bemused but memorable flight. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Howellerman said:

No famous people involved but still pretty funny, in an "irony can sting" way.

I was returning from Narita (Tokyo, Japan) in summer, and if you have ever visited Japan in summer you know the humidity can be brutal. I had arrived early at the airport and was enjoying the air-conditioned concourse. I must have been flying Cathay Pacific, as if I were on JAL I would be in the Executive Lounge. Unbeknownst to me was the concept of "summer school" in Japan which apparently involves schlepping every middle-school child in Japan off to a foreign destination for a month. Well, my departure lounge was a sea of children, and while I have always known my Japanese compatriots to be quiet and reserved this was not the case when you have several hundred children gathered in the same place. It was rather cute, in that each "class" had a different color t-shirt, worn by both students and teachers. An excellent concept in team-management, and it was funny to watch the red/blue/aqua/yellow/magenta/green groups expand and contract as order was lost and regained.

Anyway, I was sitting near the windows so I could avoid getting overrun by a rainbow of children, and I looked outside. In the muggy summer heat of Tokyo there comes an airport "golf cart" towing a small trailer with a HUGE jet engine on it. This engine must have outweighed the horse and cart by tenfold - absolutely massive. Wonder where they are going with that? I watched until I lost it to view behind my aircraft. To my surprise, it reappeared heading towards the port wing of MY jet (I do not remember the make and model). It turns out the aircraft had ingested a bird during landing and they had to swap the engines. Right there on the tarmac? Yup. Apparently, jet engines can be treated like operational modules. So I went over to stand closer, surrounded by a sea of color. The panels and skins were off the aircraft engine already, and another small cart with the most powerful lift in existence was already supporting it, all the hoses and whatnot disconnected. Surprisingly tidy, and none of the technicians, all wearing white, was overly dirty. I do not remember the exact procedure, but it amounted to remove "three extremely large bolts",  lower the damaged engine, maneuver the new one in place, raise it, insert "three extremely large bolts", and reconnect Tab A to Slot B. All told, the flight was delayed only two hours. 

All in all, uneventful. But the sea of rainbow colors, and the "ah, word not allowed sticks" feeling I had when I realized that the enormous jet engine being towed halfway across Narita was going to my aircraft made it a bemused but memorable flight. 

When I was returning home from a business trip to Guam thru Narita in '92, I had an eight hour layover (scheduled).  Northwest had a hidden program which comped a hotel room and breakfast for such long layovers, I learned from another passenger who said "go to that desk".  I would have seen none of Japan's beautiful countryside other than my wing view but the comped hotel room and 20 min shuttle ride to and from it let me see the beautiful countryside and some of Japan's beautiful architecture.  Anyway, I went to Narita with a bit of time to spare, went to the rooftop observation deck then walked thru the ticketing area before my flight.  I was reminded of Bill Murray's movie, Lost in Translation, because me brushing six feet was a good head taller than most of the Japanese men filling the concourse.  I smile about that memory to this day especially when I see Bill Murray's first elevator scene in that movie.  The movie also meant a lot because living in the Napa Valley, all of us knew the Coppola family and I met one of them, and Sophia Coppola directed that movie.  Other than Groundhog Day it was my favorite Bill Murray movie, and of course Ghostbusters 1 especially.  Thanks for sharing the Narita memory.

I almost flew on a 737 with a bum engine out of Bozeman Montana--onboard on startup all of us in the aircraft heard a big boom followed by the smell of kerosene and a slight smoke in the cabin.  We were calmly removed from the aircraft but prior the Captain came on and told us something blew on the port engine.  I used a trick I have always used, since the CRJ replacement aircraft was too small to get all of us to Salt Lake City.  Rather than re check in at the gate, I hustled to the customer service desk halfway down the concourse and checked in there securing a seat on the CRJ, a window seat at that.  I made my connection in Salt Lake, just barely, and made it home to my anxious and lovely wife in Phoenix who knew something had happened since I almost never missed flights.  Another trick I used once was simply going to a payphone when an America West flight was cancelled and rebooking there (what is a payphone?).  I then walked to the gate after all the other pax had cleared, got my new boarding pass, and got out on the next flight.

Finally, one more serendipitous moment happened to me flying from JFK to Margarita Island in Venezuela on a three week business trip, via Caracas.  Even with a two hour layover in JFK my luggage did not transfer from United to Avensa, in the adjacent terminal on top of it.  I had checked it interline at the suggestion of my colleague.  Her luggage made it, mine did not, and I had most of our equipment in my suitcase.  As I sat in Caracas waiting to go to Margarita, I struck up a conversation with the couple next to me, who had an East Coast accent.  I asked them if they were from New York to which they replied they were from Connecticut.  I said Oh wow, I have family in Waterbury, do you know the Cipriano's?  They started whispering back and forth and he replied--my wife's sister is married to John Cipriano, do you know him?  I had two cousin John's in Waterbury, both poli sci students, one became a lawyer and the other was married to the wife's sister!  Small world, I ran into relatives by marriage a third of the world away from my home in SFO.  They befriended me and my colleague for the rest of our trip and our client was so nice, he would dismiss us after only four hours work and tell us we were in Venezuela to have fun.  I later flew on a Cessna 402 with the couple on my day off to Angel Falls and we hiked barefoot in the rain forest together with a native guide.   My business trip to Venezuela my colleague and I remarked was one of the best vacations either of us ever had thanks to our client who is still a close personal friend of both of ours, almost 30 years later.  My colleague like me later moved from the SF Bay Area to Phoenix, she a real estate instructor and me a hospitality instructor.  Small world and another waiting lounge story!

John

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a "good one" for ya!  I was sitting at the KSFO terminal waiting for a flight to Atlanta.  I was going for a 1 week training course for my company.  I was sitting there, minding my own business, when the  gate announcer said "Mr. Aron, please come to the gate desk".  OK, I thought "what did I do now?"  When I got to the desk and asked what was going on, she looked at me and said "Mr. Aron????".  Another voice said "I think she meant me!"  There stood Hank Aaron!  I then said " Mom always told me I had an uglier, older brother".  I never saw anyone laugh so hard in all my life!:biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, charliearon said:

Here's a "good one" for ya!  I was sitting at the KSFO terminal waiting for a flight to Atlanta.  I was going for a 1 week training course for my company.  I was sitting there, minding my own business, when the  gate announcer said "Mr. Aron, please come to the gate desk".  OK, I thought "what did I do now?"  When I got to the desk and asked what was going on, she looked at me and said "Mr. Aron????".  Another voice said "I think she meant me!"  There stood Hank Aaron!  I then said " Mom always told me I had an uglier, older brother".  I never saw anyone laugh so hard in all my life!:biggrin:

So funny!  Although not a concourse story, when I was working to convert the JFK Hilton to a Best Western (highlight of staying there was watching the Concorde scream by on final next to my hotel room, which faced one of JFK's runways), Jetblue was ramping up their launch and their crew and future flight attendants were at my hotel for training.  We became fast friends and would share drinks (although I had to stick to cola since I did not drink at a client's site).  I could tell just from the way they were and their camaraderie and friendliness that the airline would be a smashing success.  I left JFK before the launch and had to fly to Seattle the day after I got home to Phoenix (I got home Christmas Eve, spent Christmas Day at home, then flew to Seattle for a Y2K upgrade and spent New Year's 2000 on top of a Best Western watching the Space Needle fireworks).  It was that marathon coast to coast month for me that made me leave business systems instruction for less travel, I then became a WAN admin for a year before finally becoming a software developer, which I did for 14 years until early retirement from hand and neck problems.

At the JFK Hilton were two more serendipitous moments--Alan Alda was staying there and would often eat at the table next to me, usually at breakfast and dinner.  And then a man named Pete Bryan, who owned a bicycle shop in Napa and I once knew, stayed there and recognized me and looked at me so, so strange.

I was also a huge Bellamy Brothers fan and always saw them in concert at the Nugget Reno.  While I was training in Gaithersburg Maryland I was at their Holiday Inn for six weeks.  The county fair was on and the Bellamy Brothers were headlining and they stayed at my hotel.  Surprisingly they recognized me from their concerts since I was always sat front row and I had just seen them the prior year.  I went to their fair concert and enjoyed it, it was the last time I saw the still performing duo, famous for the 70's smash hit "Let your love flow", a pop crossover hit.

Another serendipitous moment, I went on a trip to Europe in 92 and some of the tour members were former Napa residents who used to own an airline that flew from Napa called STOL air.  With the advent of Evans Airport bus service, STOL Air went out of business.  Their father was captain of our returning TWA 747 from Frankfurt and by then we were good friends.  I still remember them well and that was my first trip to Europe in five years, since my first trip there in 77.  We flew to JFK then on to SFO together (their father just flew us home from JFK) and I introduced them to my father.

Another funny story--remember the story of the man who thought he was flying to Oakland, CA only to end up in Auckland New Zealand?  Same thing almost happened to a colleague of mine, a man named Mike Fox, who I replaced in Venezuela when he could not make it back to the client for another business trip.  Poor Mike fell asleep at ORD in the lounge, as we were usually exhausted at the end of our site visits.  He woke to hear "Now boarding" and headed to the gate and boarded his flight.  He then dozed until the flight pulled away from the Gate, a flight he thought was taking him to SFO.  The crew came on and said "Our flying time to Honolulu is.....:"  Poor Mike frantically hit the call button, and had to walk the gauntlet of scowling passengers after they hustled the aircraft back to the gate.  We all laughed when he shared the story with us.  Mike was on a later trip for us to Hong Kong and ran into a former colleague just strolling the street there.  I was asked to go to Hong Kong for a year but refused as living conditions were tight in small flats, smaller than your average motel room with a room mate.  I could not live that way I decided, turning down the opportunity.  I was relieved to hear I made the right decision as the project cancelled and I got to go to Venezuela instead and Montreal.

John

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My brother and I used to work for the same company back in the late 80s and 90s, our boss over there was Alex who was an old guy from Austria. He was a short and very loud man with a very strong accent and very outspoken. Their was a flight delay due to a thunderstorm so my brother and Alex went to the lounge to wait and my brother was sitting in a plush chair when John Mahoney (the father from the TV show Frasier) came over asked if anyone was sitting their and my brother said nope. Two of them started talking and killing time when Alex came over and said "Who's your friend?" and my brother said this is the guy from Frasier. Alex looks him over and says very loudly "HEEEEeeeyyy I didn't recognize you without your dog". I think John almost fell off his chair seeing Alex, he had that kind of impression on people.

The other joke we used to play on Alex was when he got a phone call we used to say, "Hey Alex, Line 1, its long distance" and wait for him to run to his office and yell into the phone "Heeeey this is Alex, Can you hear me?" That used to make us laugh every time. 

Edited by Matthew Kane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

My brother and I used to work for the same company back in the late 80s and 90s, our boss over there was Alex who was an old guy from Austria. He was a short and very loud man with a very strong accent and very outspoken. Their was a flight delay due to a thunderstorm so my brother and Alex went to the lounge to wait and my brother was sitting in a plush chair when John Mahoney (the father from the TV show Frasier) came over asked if anyone was sitting their and my brother said nope. Two of them started talking and killing time when Alex came over and said "Who's your friend?" and my brother said this is the guy from Frasier. Alex looks him over and says very loudly "HEEEEeeeyyy I didn't recognize you without your dog". I think John almost fell off his chair seeing Alex, he had that kind of impression on people.

The other joke we used to play on Alex was when he got a phone call we used to say, "Hey Alex, Line 1, its long distance" and wait for him to run to his office and yell into the phone "Heeeey this is Alex, Can you hear me?" That used to make us laugh every time. 

One other serendipitous moment I remember was when I was flying on a business trip from Phoenix to Bologna Italy with a plane change in Pittsburgh and then Frankfurt to Lufthansa in 1995.  When I arrived in Frankfurt I was wiped out with Jet Lag by that time, like Alec Baldwin in Hunt for Red October I could not sleep on airplanes, just too loud.  Anyway I was waiting to board my flight from Frankfurt to Bologna, groggy and weary, when a man with a dark complexion starts staring at me.  I wondered why this man, obviously of some Asian or Middle Eastern descent, was interested in me.  I looked around to see if he was staring at someone else and my groggy mind said "yep, he is staring at me". 

Wow, so amazing, turned out to be my former colleague, another business systems instructor, and one of my best friends I had lost touch with from India, who left my company for a new company.  As I was flying from Phoenix to Bologna to transfer in Frankfurt, he was flying from Delhi to Frankfurt to do his business in Bologna, whatever that was. 

We boarded the plane together, I sat in my seat, and with his air of authority he made the guy in the aisle seat leave so he could sit next to me and we could converse for the short flight over the Alps to Bologna.  I remember looking down on the Alps as we talked, as we flew over Lake Luzern and Ticino, wondering when I would be there again (which was last year, it turns out).  I told him about my marriage, he told me about his life in India again, he was so happy to return home.  I have so many friends from India, being in information tech just makes that happen. He helped me when I got to Bologna, because I had no Italian money yet, my layover was too short in Germany and the banks were closed in Italy, so I gave him some US money and he bought me a ticket for the bus to my client, we went our separate ways, and I never saw or heard from him again--no cells or Internet back then.....

John

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Thread. I fly quite often for work. Back in the 90's I met Elle MacPherson on a flight out of Miami. We sat together in First Class. Being in my mid 20's back then and having a conversation with her was a unforgettable moment.

I sat next to Hulk Hogan and talked with him on a flight out of Tampa.

I was on a flight with Richard Kiel, he played Jaws in James Bond movies and he was in Happy Gilmore. We were on a Dash-8 flying into Charleston WV back in the late 90's. I felt really bad for him. He was 7' tall and his body was so broke down that he had a lot of problems walking.

 

My most memorable was Rocky Bleier who won 4 super bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those of you who don't know his story, read or watch Fighting Back. He graduated from Notre Dame. Was drafted by the Steelers. Was also drafted by the Army to go to Vietnam. He was shot in the leg and hit with a grenade losing part of his foot. He earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He was in Vietnam at the same time as my dad. He came back barely able to walk. He worked and fought hard to earn a spot back with the Steelers, missing part of his foot. He made the team and earned 4 Super Bowl Rings. He really is an amazing guy.     

 

There have been a lot more over the years. Flava Flav on flight to Vegas. Jim Brown, the football great. Sidney Crosby and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Camsdad13 said:

Great Thread. I fly quite often for work. Back in the 90's I met Elle MacPherson on a flight out of Miami. We sat together in First Class. Being in my mid 20's back then and having a conversation with her was a unforgettable moment.

I sat next to Hulk Hogan and talked with him on a flight out of Tampa.

I was on a flight with Richard Kiel, he played Jaws in James Bond movies and he was in Happy Gilmore. We were on a Dash-8 flying into Charleston WV back in the late 90's. I felt really bad for him. He was 7' tall and his body was so broke down that he had a lot of problems walking.

 

My most memorable was Rocky Bleier who won 4 super bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those of you who don't know his story, read or watch Fighting Back. He graduated from Notre Dame. Was drafted by the Steelers. Was also drafted by the Army to go to Vietnam. He was shot in the leg and hit with a grenade losing part of his foot. He earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He was in Vietnam at the same time as my dad. He came back barely able to walk. He worked and fought hard to earn a spot back with the Steelers, missing part of his foot. He made the team and earned 4 Super Bowl Rings. He really is an amazing guy.     

 

There have been a lot more over the years. Flava Flav on flight to Vegas. Jim Brown, the football great. Sidney Crosby and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother was friends with Richard Kiel when we lived in Burbank, back in 1966-67.  I used to see him and Richard talking but being shy, and small, Richard terrified me and I stayed away, much to his amusement. Rare that I see him mentioned.  I do not know how my brother, now deceased, managed to meet him other than living in Burbank there were many stars then who would walk in the open, not worried about paparazzi like today.

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sat in the row behind Larry King back in late 2002 on a flight from DC to Miami.  I remember him standing during the flight and talking to his girlfriend and looking back at me and trying to figure out where he had seen me before (it was in Springfield, VA at a Sears lawn and power tool repair shop in the 70's).  I mean, he really stared at me a lot until his girlfriend told him to sit down and they began smooching!  Seemed like whenever I took a Sears tool in for repair or pickup, he was there too!  He was big on the radio then.  On landing at Miami, his luggage and my luggage were the only pieces that did not make it out of the aircraft immediately and we waited for a long time before he had enough and went through the small opening of the baggage carousel.  The next thing I know security was all over the place (it was soon after 9/11).  He came out with his luggage though along with a couple of security personnel.  They let him go after he explained what happened.  My bag arrived on the baggage carousel soon after.  I saw him get into his limo as I went for my rental and never saw him again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

December of 2009, I was returning home for winter break from Iowa State University. I was waiting for my flight to Newark at Chicago O'Hare when an old lady walked up to me and asked if that was a musical instrument I had with me. I told her it was, to which she asked what instrument it was. I told her it was a saxophone. She walked back to the group of people she was with, and as she was walking back, loudly announced (I'm sure the entire gate area heard her) that it was a saxophone. Not really sure why that needed to be announced, but whatever. I remember nothing of either flight. The first flight out of Des Moines, we took off, and I woke up later, expecting a drink service. I looked out the window, and the flaps were already starting to make their way down. We're landing already? The second flight to Newark, I managed to be awake long enough to actually get a drink from the drink service, but don't remember anything after that. I woke up wanting to finish my soda, but noticed there was absolutely nothing on the table. I started flipping through the table, the seat back pocket, the floor, up against the wall, and even in the window to see if I may have somehow misplaced it. After a few minutes of trying to go through everything, the passenger sitting next to me finally told me that she had gotten rid of it because it was already empty. Why she wouldn't tell me that sooner, I have no idea. Flaps started dropping a few minutes later.

On 10/12/2018 at 11:51 AM, Cactus521 said:

Another trick I used once was simply going to a payphone when an America West flight was cancelled and rebooking there (what is a payphone?).  I then walked to the gate after all the other pax had cleared, got my new boarding pass, and got out on the next flight.

I did something similar. January of 2010, I was returning to Iowa State University after winter break. I drove to the airport at 03:00 AM, after which my dad took over and left. I went into the terminal to see a long line at the check-in desk. Uh-oh. That's not a good sign. That almost certainly meant that a flight got cancelled. I didn't think much of it and walked over to the departure monitor to check to see what gate United 819 would depart out of. There was no gate. United 819 had been cancelled for maintenance. Immediately, I pulled out my cell phone (yes, we have those now) and called my dad to tell him the flight was cancelled and he needs to return to the airport right away. It's a somewhat of a long drive from the house to the airport, so I wasn't about to make the same mistake that my dad had made in March of 2007. We waited in the check-in line to try to check in for our flight, only to find out that it was cancelled and they couldn't get us on another flight until two days later. As that day was the day I was scheduled to visit the University of Illinois, we ended up cancelling the trip, as the timing would have been too tight to be able to make it at the scheduled time. By the time my dad had called my mom to tell her to come back to get us, she had literally just pulled into the garage.

After I got off the phone with my dad, I called United. Of course, I got the automated voice asking for my itinerary. I entered it in, to which the voice told me there was an issue with my flight (as if I didn't already know that) and they would transfer me to an agent. The agent told me I had been rebooked on American and put me on hold, so I went back outside to tell my dad I was now flying American and he needed to go to the other end of the terminal. I walked over to the other end of the terminal and waited in line. My RAV4 did not follow me. It must have been a good 5 minutes or so before I finally saw my RAV4 roll down to the other end of the terminal. After being on hold for 11 minutes, I got my booking information and proceeded to check in for the flight. I was now flying American 1641. I looked at the boarding pass and noticed I was in boarding group 6, so I was thinking it would be a while before I got on the plane. When boarding commenced, they went through the boarding process pretty quick, and not even 10 minutes later, boarding group 6 got called. I got to seat 9F and sat down. Less than 10 minutes later, the flight attendants announced that the cabin door had been closed. That seemed a little too quick. I looked around, and this flight was half empty. I had the entire row to myself. I am guessing some of the passengers on the cancelled United 819 were supposed to be rebooked onto this flight, but didn't quite make it in the check-in line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Captain Kevin said:

December of 2009, I was returning home for winter break from Iowa State University. I was waiting for my flight to Newark at Chicago O'Hare when an old lady walked up to me and asked if that was a musical instrument I had with me. I told her it was, to which she asked what instrument it was. I told her it was a saxophone. She walked back to the group of people she was with, and as she was walking back, loudly announced (I'm sure the entire gate area heard her) that it was a saxophone. Not really sure why that needed to be announced, but whatever. I remember nothing of either flight. The first flight out of Des Moines, we took off, and I woke up later, expecting a drink service. I looked out the window, and the flaps were already starting to make their way down. We're landing already? The second flight to Newark, I managed to be awake long enough to actually get a drink from the drink service, but don't remember anything after that. I woke up wanting to finish my soda, but noticed there was absolutely nothing on the table. I started flipping through the table, the seat back pocket, the floor, up against the wall, and even in the window to see if I may have somehow misplaced it. After a few minutes of trying to go through everything, the passenger sitting next to me finally told me that she had gotten rid of it because it was already empty. Why she wouldn't tell me that sooner, I have no idea. Flaps started dropping a few minutes later.

I did something similar. January of 2010, I was returning to Iowa State University after winter break. I drove to the airport at 03:00 AM, after which my dad took over and left. I went into the terminal to see a long line at the check-in desk. Uh-oh. That's not a good sign. That almost certainly meant that a flight got cancelled. I didn't think much of it and walked over to the departure monitor to check to see what gate United 819 would depart out of. There was no gate. United 819 had been cancelled for maintenance. Immediately, I pulled out my cell phone (yes, we have those now) and called my dad to tell him the flight was cancelled and he needs to return to the airport right away. It's a somewhat of a long drive from the house to the airport, so I wasn't about to make the same mistake that my dad had made in March of 2007. We waited in the check-in line to try to check in for our flight, only to find out that it was cancelled and they couldn't get us on another flight until two days later. As that day was the day I was scheduled to visit the University of Illinois, we ended up cancelling the trip, as the timing would have been too tight to be able to make it at the scheduled time. By the time my dad had called my mom to tell her to come back to get us, she had literally just pulled into the garage.

After I got off the phone with my dad, I called United. Of course, I got the automated voice asking for my itinerary. I entered it in, to which the voice told me there was an issue with my flight (as if I didn't already know that) and they would transfer me to an agent. The agent told me I had been rebooked on American and put me on hold, so I went back outside to tell my dad I was now flying American and he needed to go to the other end of the terminal. I walked over to the other end of the terminal and waited in line. My RAV4 did not follow me. It must have been a good 5 minutes or so before I finally saw my RAV4 roll down to the other end of the terminal. After being on hold for 11 minutes, I got my booking information and proceeded to check in for the flight. I was now flying American 1641. I looked at the boarding pass and noticed I was in boarding group 6, so I was thinking it would be a while before I got on the plane. When boarding commenced, they went through the boarding process pretty quick, and not even 10 minutes later, boarding group 6 got called. I got to seat 9F and sat down. Less than 10 minutes later, the flight attendants announced that the cabin door had been closed. That seemed a little too quick. I looked around, and this flight was half empty. I had the entire row to myself. I am guessing some of the passengers on the cancelled United 819 were supposed to be rebooked onto this flight, but didn't quite make it in the check-in line.

I was flying home from Baltimore to Phoenix on Southwest, and they advised us the flight was almost full, and passengers were told to sit down wherever they could so we could get underway.  Of course people moaned and groaned about the 3x3 seating on the 737-700 being full, especially on a long six hour flight with headwinds that we had.  I walked down the aisle looking for a window seat like I usually do, looking for a middle seat free in the hopes it would remain that way for the flight.  Knowing the mentality of people I decided I would take the window seat by someone in an aisle seat that looked like a gang banger, head to toe, and acted like one, in surly silence.  But I guess he felt respected when I took the window next to him.  I watched the passengers board the plane, and everyone skipped that middle seat next to me, for obvious reasons.  As it turned out, it was the only open seat left on the 737 and we took off and I enjoyed the six hour flight in comfort, feeling like I was in first class.  In the old days before full flights I often got rows to myself, especially since I usually chose the unpopular rear of the aircraft. 

But when my wife and daughter flew with me I loved the 3x3 seating on the Airbus and 737, and the 767 we flew to Hawaii, we were in the middle section and I did not care about a window seat over water, who needs to stare down at that for hours.  I loved being cozy with my wife and daughter, usually my daughter would sit between us, she always gave me the window even when I offered it to her.  I took her on one trip alone once, on a CRJ 700 with its 2x2 seating which we just loved, it was like first class for us.  Even though I top out at almost six feet, I have never needed much legroom, just elbow room since I am a stocky guy, or was, I have since lost a lot of weight due to an illness.  Aviation is fun, so many memories, almost all positive ones, and only a few aircraft emergencies from which we landed safely.

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two moments for me that come to mind, both involving Iceland.  In 1988 I was in the U.S. Air Force and had orders to be the Chief of Transportation for Air Forces Iceland on the Air Force side of Keflavik Naval Air Station.  Left Mountain Home AFB in September and had flights from Boise to Denver to Chicago to Philadelphia where I would catch the contracted "Rotator" that flew service members to Iceland and back.  The "Rotator" was a direct flight eastbound because of winds, but almost always required a fuel stop at Goose Bay westbound...because of winds.

Anyway, on the flight from Denver to Chicago and on to Philly the DC-10 was packed with NFL Film crews and quite a few Philadelphia Eagle players who had just played against the Denver Broncos the day before.  Quite an enjoyable flight and a lot of interesting football stories that day.  Just as an aside, it was the same scheduled flight that a few months later in July 1989, the whole world would see the news coverage of the crippled DC-10 trying to make the landing in Sioux Falls, Iowa.

Second iceland story.  As Chief of Transportation I got the call when distinguished visitors would come to Keflavik for one reason or another.  It was my task to arrange rentals and baggage transportation and a host of other things a Captain in the Air Force is not usually expected to do.  ZZ Top was scheduled to do a USO Show for the Navy and they rode the "Rotator" like every other service member and their families was expected to do.  They got off the plane after a six hour flight and spent quite a while in the lounge, signing autographs and just mingling with the crowd.  As the de facto head of the Passenger Terminal i just kind of hunkered around on the fringe of the crowd and watched.  I also had a ticket to their concert...I thought USO Shows were free...not in Iceland for the Navy.

As they were getting ready to head to the various vehicles that were going to take them to Reykjavik and their hotel when three Shore Patrolmen (Navy Cops) walked up to Billy Gibbons, had a few hushed words, and then they all disappeared behind a locked door.  A short time later they all walked out and and got escorted back to the single boarding jetway at Keflavik NAS, got back on the "Rotator", and flew on it back to Philadelphia.  The were kicked out of Iceland for trying to sneak marijuana in to Iceland in the equipment trunks.  I had to eat the cost of the ticket I held for their concert...they were pretty upset about being asked to leave Iceland by the Commanding Officer, NAS Keflavik.

Randy

Edited by Ramjett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this