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April 23, 2012

Case III Recovery to a LaGuardia Wave-off

Yesterday I flew from Denver to New York for a scheduled week of presentations and client visits.

All was going quite well initially.  My Frontier airlines flight departed on time amazingly enough (despite two similarly routed United flights posting a 2 hour delay).  I sat, mostly comfortable (as comfortable as a economy airline seat can be) traversing the countryside at 500 miles per hour, enjoying the distraction of the 4 inch TV broadcasting from the seatback in front of me.

I can’t say I was surprised when about 3/4 of the way through the planned duration of the trip, somewhere over western Pennsylvania, I noticed we took a significant left turn.  Followed shortly by another left turn… and alas another followed by another.  Yep your typical holding pattern.  I changed channels on my video, first to the moving map display to confirm my suspicion, yep… we had apparently joined NASCAR… then I changed to the Weather Channel to see the onus of our penalty laps. 

Gleefully explained by some tight skirted blonde with a pair of “Store-Boughts”, the New York Metro area was getting pummeled by 40 knot winds and torrential rain!  About that time the Captain came on the PA to explain what I had already deduced… we’re gunna be delayed.

We continued in marshal for the better part of an hour, finally released to our approach into LaGuardia through still angry skies.  The airbus? She was a’buck’n.  But alas our Cowgirl of a pilot pressed on!  We continued the approach bouncing off airborne moguls with all the dexterity of a drunk hippopotamus riding a pogo-stick!  Our bus driver ever determined pressed on though the murk… “down” appeared an easier direction to maintain.  No comfort in that by the way…

As we proceeded through the soup, altitude, attitude, and bearing all appeared to be mere suggestions… and even that a stretch!  We broke through the clouds at a mere 600-800ft, and the runway?  It was Dutch rolling!  Out MY WINDOW!  (remember, I look out the side of the plane…).

I’m pretty sure our Captain made a Bovine Scatology reference and then pressed the throttles forward!  Really forward!  We climbed… and there was much rejoicing!  We eventually poked our nose through the top of the turbulent cloud deck, and heard the voice of our frustrated Captain inform us that we were running out of “Go Juice” and would be modifying our itinerary to include a stop in Philadelphia!  Yep, we made yet another left turn and headed south.  About 30 minutes later we arrived in the city of brotherly love… or at least their airport.  It was 1:25am.

Oddly enough our plane did not taxi to the terminal in Philly.  In a heavy rain, we taxied out to the far east section of the airport and set the parking break in front of the Signature Air terminal.  Engines secured, the airstairs drove up, door opened, and in walked 4 soaked, reflective vest clad ground crew.  One I swear was holding a credit card swipee thing… No, no need to fill-er-up, we’re just going a few blocks!  The gas truck pulled up, and added needed ballast to our wings.

We hung out, there on the apron, passengers awaiting their turn for the head (toilet) and others continued watching the Food Network programing droning on in front of each of us.  Many also texted our plight to friends and family in an effort to reswizzel completely FUBAR’d logistics.

Me, I pinged Ginger and gave her the promise I’d let her know whatever happened, as it happened.  What the hell else was I gunna do? 

After another hour bored on… and amazingly enough the same chick who had won on “Chopped” earlier in the night won again!  It might have been a repeat of the same show… We were cleared to try again at LGA.  Yippie!  Load her up in the shoot again!  Let’s see if we can stay on the whole 8 seconds this time!

We got airborne quite expeditiously and turned north, toward the city that never sleeps… wondering when I would.

We broke through the cloud deck at an uncomfortable 400 feet, and proceeded to land after a somewhat less dramatic approach, reverse thrust kicking up the two and a half inches of rain that had fallen on the runway that day.  Taxied… and eventually parked.  That is the emptiest I have EVER seen LaGuardia!!! 

The one smart thing I had done is checked the Metro North Railway schedule to learn that the trains did not… train… between 2:30am and 6:00am… it was now a few ticks past 3:00am.  So taking a cab to Grand Central Station would be pointless… borderline stupid.  Yep, was gunna have to pay the fare to White Plains.  Assuming there was a cab to be found!  You see, cabbies in New York have learned over the years that hanging out past midnight at an airport where the last scheduled arrival is 11:30pm, is only good if you want to nap.  There were no cabs… there, I said it… IN NEW YORK!  I COULD’T FIND A CAB!  I or 130 other passengers of our flight… So I walked to the middle roadway and hailed a car service!  White Plains please… Ok. 

Fastest I’ve ever got to my hotel from LaGuardia actually.  I walked in my room at 4:15am… Have to be at the office in 4 hours… easy peasy! 

And that’s just day one of the trip!  Looking forward to my Earth Day Celebration with the GSA tomorrow.

Me? Tonight?  I have a date with my eyelids and my pillow!  G’night!

April 23, 2012 in Aviation, Travel | Permalink

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GSA tomorrow!?!! Pick up some party favors for me. You have a rap presentation ready?

Posted by: Ken | Apr 23, 2012 7:51:23 PM

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