Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another airport adventure!

10 am. There has been a security breech at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The plane I am sitting in has come to a gentle stop on the tarmac outside the terminal. It has been ten minutes already and the pilot said it likely will be another twenty minutes. My seatmates are a nice couple from Nebraska heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They usually go down every couple of years with the same group of friends. This year they decided to travel down one day early. However, they told their friends that they were not going to be able to make it this year. Now, when the rest of the gang checks into their hotel, they will have a big surprise waiting for them. It sounds like so much fun!!

Our pilot allowed us to get up and walk around the plane and my fellow passengers are mellow with the situation. I sat in my seat but I am reminded of my first trip to Europe three years ago. As I walked towards my boarding gate in the London airport for my connecting flight to Scotland, I became aware of throngs of people huddled in front of TV monitors. Right out outside the airport there had been a car bombing. Fear coursed through my body: first, I am traveling alone; secondly, my mother has my itinerary and knows that I just landed in London and is probably worried about me; and lastly, Peggy and Steve are in Scotland already and I don’t want to be grounded in London!!!!! Everything worked out splendidly that day in London and I am sure that everything will turn out okay today. Now that I think about it, I remember that as Peggy and I rode horses over the fields of southern Scotland, someone drove their car through the front window of the Glasgow airport. By the time we drove back up to the Glasgow airport to begin our journey home, the window had been boarded up, an eerie reminder of what had happened.

The pilot came back on and explained what was going on in the airport. He said the security breech had required that they evacuate everyone out of the terminal, do a sweep, and then run every single person back through security. Now they were going to push back all the outgoing airplanes and let the incoming flights dock so the passengers could depart. The woman setting in the window seat said, “I thought we circled Phoenix a few times; I guess that explains it.”

10:28 am. The pilot comes back on the intercom and asks everyone to return to their seat. We are going to taxi to the first available dock and de-plane. We will not be at our scheduled gate, but we will be in the same terminal. Ya hoo. I was never worried. I had half of foot-long Subway, a bag of Butter Toffee popcorn and a small bag of red licorice whips plus a Gatorade to make it through the rest of the morning. But now I am ready to meet new friends and spend a long week-end playing with horses in the Arizona sunshine.

Another airport adventure for the books!

* annette.

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