Are you kidding me????

I’ve been away for the past week – I went on a cruise with my Mom!  YAY!  But that isn’t the topic of this post – nope, the juicy cruise details will come after I get some much-needed sleep and get settled in – maybe in a day or two!  The topic of today’s post is strictly devoted to the events of May 1st…..the day from hell……the nightmare I don’t care to repeat!!!

Our day started at 6:00 AM when the wake up call broke into the approximately two hours of sleep I was able to get last night.  We knew we would have to get up early to get breakfast and prepare to debark the ship first thing in the morning…..the end of a relaxing adventure to Key West and Nassau.  But, knowing we would have to get up early created some anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep.  Also, the ship’s crew were busy in the hallway loading up suitcases and squeaking their carts and banging on the walls…….who could sleep?  I dozed off a few times, but didn’t really fall asleep until around 4:00 or so and even then, it was broken up by my waking to peek at my watch for the time every 1/2 hour or so!

Here’s how the rest of the day went:

  • Our 6:30 AM breakfast was good and the debarkation process went smoothly and quickly once they got to our zone and we were allowed to start making our way off ship at about 10:30.  So far, so good!
  • The news was reporting severe weather in Nashville – where our connecting flight was – violent thunderstorms and tornado warnings!  But, they were supposed to expire before we would get there.  So we kept an eye on it, but weren’t getting too excited.
  • The Carnival bus took us to the airport and could only make one stop – instead of dropping everyone off in the center somewhere, they dropped us all off at the far end and, of course, the Southwest terminals were at the opposite far end! 
  • Jacksonville, Fla airport was crazy crowded and the limited lanes through security couldn’t accommodate the mass confusion and congestion – what a zoo!!! 
  • We finally got to our gate about 12:30.  Our flight wasn’t until 2:00, so we had time to grab some lunch.  Just up from our gate was a sit down restaurant with some good-looking sandwiches and there were only a couple other tables occupied, so they weren’t busy – we decided it was worth a try!  The waitress took a long time to notice we were there.  When she came over, she never looked at us – just asked “would you like to order something?”  We ordered and she walked away without saying anything else.  I realized I forgot to tell her “no cheese” on my sandwich, so I went to the bar and caught her as she was entering the order.  She gave me a blank stare, rolled her eyes, and went back to the computer.  She brought the drinks and I apologized for the confusion and she didn’t acknowledge I was there, let alone that I actually spoke to her.  The food came and to my surprise, it actually was the way I ordered it – no cheese!  The food was very good!!!  She brought the bill without saying a word – never checked to see if everything was OK or if we wanted more drinks or anything – and never came back for the money!  So, I took it to the bar and she cashed me out without so much as a split second of eye contact or speaking to me!  We reluctantly left a tip, but if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have…….
  • We got on the plane in Jacksonville to head to Nashville!  Everything was showing “on time” and no apparent issues.
  • The guys behind us were also on the cruise and had obviously spent the morning on the Lido deck drinking the time away waiting to debark!  They proceeded to have two more drinks a piece on the plane!  The result was a string of very loud, obnoxious, and……well, let’s just say colorful vocabulary filled conversations that were non-stop from the time we got on until we landed!  They also kept kicking or punching the back of our seats and pulling back on the top of them – a couple of times catching my hair and pulling it as they did so!  It was all I could do to keep from getting up out of my seat and giving them hell!!!!
  • As we got closer to Nashville, the flight got rough!  Really rough!  Mom doesn’t like to fly, so she was really getting nervous and scared!  Frankly, so was I and a little rough weather doesn’t usually get me worked up!  The Captain came on and said that there are dangerous storms around Nashville and he was waiting for instructions and would keep us posted.
  • Just then —- LIGHTENING HIT THE PLANE!!!!  REALLY – IT ACTUALLY HIT THE PLANE!!!!  RIGHT BY MOM’S WINDOW!!!!  We heard a loud bang and a bright flash of light and knew exactly what it was!!!!  Everyone gasped and let out some yells!!!  I’ve flown in some pretty nasty weather, but that is the first time that has ever happened!  I was in shock and had to force myself to start breathing again!!!!
  • The pilot accelerated the plane and came back on to say that he was attempting to fly away from the storm and that he was still waiting for instructions – he said they wanted him to circle for at least 45 minutes to wait out the storm, but that he DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FUEL FOR THAT, so they were assessing the field again!!!! 
  • Someone tried to get up to use the restroom and the flight attendant made the announcement that everyone had to remain in their seat because it was too dangerous to be up for any reason!  Someone pressed their call button and he said to reset it and only press it again if it was a medical emergency because it was not safe for the attendants to assist anyone for any non-emergency reasons!
  • LIGHTENING HITTING THE PLANE……NOT ENOUGH FUEL……TOO DANGEROUS…..NOT SAFE……OK – DEFINITELY THE WORST WEATHER SITUATION FLIGHT I’VE EVER BEEN ON!!!  And it had to be with Mom, who is a nervous wreck on a normal, calm flight!!!!  I pretty much decided that if we landed in Nashville or anywhere close, we wouldn’t get on the connection to RDU with bad weather – I was going to just rent a car and drive here!!!
  • Then the decision announcement came — “Ladies and Gentleman, we just don’t have the fuel to do what Nashville wants us to do and the storm is not letting up, so we’re going on to Columbus!”  That plane was already scheduled to go to Columbus next, so that part made sense…….but…….they didn’t have enough fuel to hang around Nashville for up to 45 mins, but they had enough to go all the way to Columbus, Ohio???  Really???  My mind started to wander with thoughts of the next announcement being “sorry, folks, we’re not going to make it to Columbus, but there’s a nice looking corn field we’re going to try to land on!” 
  • The loud, obnoxious drunks behind us were still at it through it all… they were making sure the entire plane knew how going to Columbus was ruining their plans to attend a Jimmy Buffett concert in Nashville tonight and that they fully intended to rent a car in Columbus and drive back to the concert!  They made the stressful situation worse throughout the bad weather and now the whole way to Columbus!!!  UUGGHH!!!! 
  • My thoughts went to what I could do for Mom — since Columbus is so close to home for her and she was only going to be here for a couple more days, it didn’t make sense for her to go through getting a flight to RDU.  So, we talked about getting her a flight to Buffalo or maybe me renting a car and drive her home and then get a flight back here tomorrow or Monday or something……I am still on vacation from work until Weds!!!  That could work!!!
  • We landed in Columbus and they very quickly got us all rebooked!  I asked about a flight to Buffalo for Mom and mentioned the option of renting a car and driving, but they said they couldn’t change our final destination and we’d be in Raleigh tonight and it wasn’t likely they could get us in Buffalo tonight, anyway, and that our bags were already pulled and on their way to our new flight that was boarding NOW!
  • So, we were whisked away to another gate and on our way to Baltimore to change planes to head to Raleigh!  OK, so it was all working out and it looked like we were only going to be about an hour delayed from our original arrival time in RDU.
  • We arrived in Baltimore about 6:30 and our next flight was scheduled to leave at 8:05, so we got a Subway sandwich and made some calls (my brother still doesn’t believe our story)!  Both flights were smooth and uneventful and we made it to Raleigh a little after 9:00.
  • I went to get the car and bring it around while Mom waited for the bags!  As I pulled up to meet her, a porter came out to flag me down and proceeded to tell me that our bags weren’t on the flight and needed my baggage claim tags.  Mom and the porter came out a few minutes later (luckily, a very nice security guy let me sit there and wait, so I didn’t have to keep circling around).  They said the bags were still on the original flight from Nashville and it was scheduled to arrive at 9:30……then they found out it was delayed until 10:00!  So, we waited……and security allowed me to stay parked there, so long as I didn’t go inside and leave it unattended. 
  • About 10:30, the last of the bags on that flight were done going around the carousel……and our’s weren’t there!!!  We weren’t the only ones, though – others that were diverted with us had the same problem – apparently, none of the bags were pulled and loaded on the new flights, as we were told!
  • We were first told that they were on the next flight, but then they found out they weren’t, so there was no need for us to wait for it!  We gave them all the information about the bags and how to contact us!  They “think” they are going to be on the flight that is set to arrive about noon tomorrow……we’ll believe it when we see it!
  • Finally home about 11:30 PM….exhausted!!!

After a week on a relaxing cruise, I was rested and totally de-stressed!!!  Today totally unraveled all of that!!!  And we’ve been around a block or two in the past week…….Starting with Raleigh to Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville on Sunday, out to sea, then Key West, then Nassau, more out to sea, back to Jacksonville on Saturday, almost to Nashville, then Columbus, then Baltimore, and finally back to Raleigh!!! 

So – my Saturday was LONG and MISERABLE!!!  How was your’s???

2 Comments on “Are you kidding me????

  1. OH MY GOSH, KIM! I am so glad that you are both here and SAFE! I can’t even believe all that you had to go through. I am glad I don’t have plans to fly anytime soon! I hope you have a nice, calm, relaxing day today – you both deserve it!

  2. Woah. I would’ve peed my pants had lightening hit my plane! I’m so glad you’re both okay. I hope the next few days will be relaxing and help you get back into the cruise mindset.

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