Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Better to be Late

Our flight home from Dallas to Seattle last night was delayed. It was one of those where multiple things went wrong. First of all, the crew of the flight deck was delayed arriving at Dallas, and then they had to hike over from Terminal C to Terminal A to get on our plane. We noticed, in a dismissive sort of way, a mechanic getting off the plane with a towel before we got on, but didn't think much of it until we settled into our seats (30D and 30E, way in the back), and the people across the aisle and slightly to the rear suddenly stood up from their seats, spoke for a minute with the flight attendant, then moved out of the way into the galley. They had just had cold water leak on them from the overhead compartment.

Turns out the mechanic hadn't done quite enough taking apart of the plane, because when he came back and removed the ceiling panel, a lot of water poured out. It was somehow related to condensation and the air conditioning, but after digging around in the guts of the overhead compartment for 20 or so minutes, the mechanic finally decided the problem was bigger than he could fix at the time and we needed a new plane.

The new plane was over in Terminal C again, and was slightly smaller, so a couple of standby passengers lost their seats. Also, it was a plane that had been acquired from TWA and the galley configuration was slightly different than the classic American Airlines plane, and so more time was lost in figuring out drinks carts—and food for purchase wasn't available at all.

All the passengers dealt very well with this, though, even the half-dozen mothers traveling with infants. "Better to be late than dead!" said the man who had been in the wet, drippy seat. Better to be late than dripped on by icy water too, I say.

We fell into bed around 3.

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