Flying from Orlando to Edinburgh, Scotland is a fairly long haul. Eleven plus hours in the air dominates the day when everything goes smoothly. Add another 12 hours on, and what was a respectable day of travel begins to resemble a marathon. Make those extra 12 hours an unexpected delay causing us to miss sail away of our cruise ship and Houston, we have a problem.
Departure on United Airlines flight 108 from Orlando was right on time. Powerports and in seat movie screens for all, along with ample leg room made for a nice flight. Into Newark airport a few minutes late was no big deal; we had plenty of time between flights.
Then right after we landed came the message about our next flight that was to take us over the pond, arriving a bit after 9:00 am in the morning, next day:
Flight delay, new departure time 12:00PM.
Surely that was wrong and they meant 12:00AM.
Nope. The United Airlines plane was held in Houston for repairs. There was nothing anyone could do about it. There were no better flights to put us on, United Airlines or anyone else. It was just one of those things that happen when traveling. Some of the delayed passengers got it, others were dead set on ruining the lives of those United Airlines customer service people if it took all night.
But it never happened to me before.
As a travel agent I have helped others in similar situations over the years. Not many, but a few. It’s one of the big reasons we always recommend coming in to the embarkation port city a day early, just to allow a cushion of time in case of some sort of delay.
So off to the airport Ramada Inn we went, my first time at a Ramada since a summer on the road with a band when I was 15, many moons ago. Funny, the rooms were still heavy with the smell of cigarette smoke. Drunken people still staggered in all night and there was a 50/50 shot that the pool would have water in it. More on that delicious experience later.
Now, at the gate 4 hours early for the continuation of our United Airlines flight, we wait. Poised as close as possible to the gate altar where our flight will be blessed across the ocean or sacrificed with another delay.