The plan was simple, short flight to Chicago, connection to London and then on to Istanbul and the adventure. Immersing ourselves in a gleaming modern mega-city filled with nearly 3,000 years of history. Navigating through Roman ruins and Byzantine marvels, Ottoman treasures and modern surprises. Things started off great, an on time flight to Chicago, being upgraded to first class, an enjoyable glass of Champagne once we boarded our second leg and then…. The American Airline reality turned from simple and enjoyable to complex and horrific…
The reality –
Our captain announced we were going to be delayed for just 15 minutes while they finished a routine maintenance check … then again, again and again he continued to announce delays using words like normal, standard and typical to the point where I thought he had a thesaurus in the cockpit. An hour plus into the American Airlines excuse playbook, we were informed the aircraft was being taken out of service. To discover later, due to a hydric leak. We packed up our stuff and disembarked with the other 250 some odd travels in a joint grumbling about the process.
It was then announced that a new flight was due in from London shortly and would be ready for a 9:30 departure! A 3.5 hour delay. Unfortunately this was not good news as this new time would have us miss our connection. After many conversation with the AA staff we had a new connection through to Istanbul and that adventure I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Actually the adventure was just starting. In place of navigating Roman ruins and Byzantine marvels we worked our way through AA incompetence and unforeseen stupidity. In David Letterman top 10 stupid pet tricks, sorry stupid airline incompetence format:
10. Learning our new connection included a 5 hour layover in Heathrow / London airport
9. Watching our 9:30 departure time start to slip through the use of new words with the same definition as routine
8. Seeing another AA flight to London take off while we watched (it was already over booked)
7. Boarding our new flight at 10:00 to learn they had some routine check to make before departing
6. We had had to wait for “log books” that were required to be on board
5. Finally they closed the door and we pushed back from the gate and then waited for some “standard” flight traffic to clear up
4. We taxed out, it was now 11:10, the captain announced “we were second in line for take-off” followed by “I am sorry to inform you we have to return to the gate because we have exceeded our allowed cockpit flight time by 2 minutes – yes your are reading this 2 F-ing minutes
3. We waited for a new pilot and flight crew
2. The flight was canceled and we learned we would need to overnight in Chicago and would miss our connection in London and would therefore need to overnight in London tomorrow too
1. We learned while re-booking our flights there was a direct Turkish airline flight at 10:30 that they could have put us on!
I left out the part where an air marshal and the Chicago police came on board to remove a passenger who was more pissed then me. With the encouragement of a long delay and the free drinks in the club he simply stated all the things everyone else on the flight was thinking at the top of his lungs. He was also standing on his seat pulling his bag out while the flight was still moving as it returned to the gate for the final time.
As I am typing this Jake is stretched out in the seat beside me riding out the whole 24 hour delay in stride, in complete contrast to yours truly who is beside himself!