We started the trip out right by going to the airport a few days early and getting our boarding passes (so we could skycap the luggage if we had to). For 6am flights we don't like to take chances :-)
The BOS-CVG leg (DL 337, MD88) was uneventful. We arrived on time. Due to a 2 hour layover (it was either that or take a very small commuter plane :-) we decided to kill some time by going over to the new Concourse C at Cincinnati -- the Comair concourse. We wanted to see this concourse because (1) we had time to kill and (2) we are booked on a Comair flight (37xx, Canadair Regional Jet :-) in December and wanted to pre-orient ourselves to the terminal (on the off chance we had to dash down a concourse screaming "hold the plane!" -- of course we found out that the concourse was very small and talking in a loud voice would be sufficient enough :-)
The CVG-CLE (DL 1616, MD88) leg was almost as uneventful. We arrived a bit late due to lousy weather (as soon as we landed it started to snow).
The interesting part, of course, was yet to come.
During the visit with my parents I told my Dad matter-of-factly that I'd yet to have a maintenance hold on Delta (and I've been flying them as my main airline for well over a year). I should have kept my mouth shut.
We were booked on DL 1809 CLE-CVG (727-200 Advanced). The flight was due to leave Cleveland/Hopkins at 7:30pm so we were at the airport for 6:45pm (we like airports, but this was *Hopkins*, not exactly the most fun place in the world for plane watching :-). First we hear that due to bad weather in Atlanta, our plane will be late in arriving. It's ok, tho, they say, because as long as we push back by 8:20pm, we can still make our connection to Boston. The revised departure time is set for 8pm. Weather, we figure. Not a problem. Plenty of time. Worst case, we sprint the B concourse at Cincinnati. Probably one of the few Delta terminals in all of their hubs that we haven't yet sprinted.
[this is an aside, not about my trip, but it did affect it in as much as I
couldn't get down to the original cookie company because of the crowds]
About this time we hear an announcement that Continental was ejecting all
non-passengers from concourse C at Hopkins. I didn't quite get this move
at all. All it did was cause a massive pileup of people outside of
[end of aside]
7:40 the plane rolls up. We gather our bags, and are ready to pre-board (Medallion perqs rule!) when the Captain comes out of the plane. No problem, we figure, he probably wants to stretch his legs after that horrible leg up from Atlanta. The Captain is egging the gate agent into making multiple calls on her handheld radio. *that's* odd, I thought. I heard the word "mechanic" and had a *bad* feeling. :|
8:10pm they get on the radio and tell us that we're on a maintenance hold. I get in line to ask them what they can do for me since I've got next to no chance of making my connection. At this point they call pre-boarding, so I grab my bags and my husband and we head for the door.
We're seated in row 26 D&E (with F open, another Medallion perq). By the time general boarding has just about completed, we note that they are running tests on the #3 engine (spinning it up and down). At 8:30pm the Captain came on the P/A and said the problem with the #3 was a bogus warning light and that he had to sign off on the paperwork and we'd be underway. He also said that Cincinnati was having bad weather so chances are, most of the connections would hold. 9:30 was given as our arrival time in Cincinnati. My husband and I were booked on DL 826 (Tristar 1) due to leave CVG at 9:15pm.
9:30pm and we're still on the 727 (a VERY bumpy flight, ugh), and the captain hasn't even rung final yet. I'm not optomistic :-) A woman behind us is itching, her and her two children are heading onto Frankfurt (along with 20 or so others from the flight). As soon as we land, the lead flight attendant announces that the Frankfurt flight would be waiting (I thought this made our chances better, I knew at least 15 other people going to Boston who were on the Cleveland flight). They also announce a gate change (we'd been scheduled to arrive in at B28, with Boston departing out of B4 and Frankfurt out of B10) -- we're going into B9 (I figured this was a good thing, I had too much heavy stuff to sprint effectively :-)
9:40 and we're on the ground, I think we must have gotten priority clearance because we musta been doing 50mph down the taxiways. 9:45 and we're at the gate -- although we're desperate to try and sprint for our plane, we let the Frankfurt passengers out ahead of us since they know their plane is waiting.
Of course, ours isn't. By the time we reach the top of the jetway and approach the Uniformed Delta Agent (tm), the poor guy looks worn out. And yes, our flight is long gone. But if we go down to the ticketing desk, they will sort out a hotel for us.
Off we go, down to ticketing (after making a quick phonecall first, parents fret about the strangest things, it's not like I haven't flown 45k+ miles this year), the train would take too long so we hoof it down the concourse (with the assistance of moving walkways, of course). Unfortunately, there's no Medallion line for quicker processing :-( We stand in line for about 10 minutes and then "NEXT!" we get called down to one desk all the way at the end.
The guy who helped us was *very* nice. DL reservations had already rebooked us, but he got us set with a hotel (Airport Radisson) and a meal voucher ($10 each for dinner and $4 each for breakfast plus $3 each for phonecalls). We had a nice chat with him about nightmares and having weather delays happen on the busiest travel day of the year. :-)
We went off downstairs (after thanking the man profusely) to find our bag, only to find that it might take upwards of an hour. After about half an hour, we gave up and called the Airport Radisson, expecting to get picked up. The first question "do you have any non-smoking rooms?" was greeted with a resounding "NO!" Since I'm allergic to smoke, we went back upstairs to plead our case before whoever would listen. We got back in line and got a nice guy (different nice guy) who called three different hotels before finding us one with a non smoking room. While we were talking to the nice (second) man, the nice (first) man came up. He wanted to make sure everything was alright, that he hadn't screwed something up. He kept apologizing for the trouble. And then we started talking about baseball (anyone who thinks Riverfront stadium is a lousy baseball field has my respect :-)
After we were set with a non-smoking hotel room (they even called the van for us!) we went back downstairs to wait ... the nice (first) guy followed us downstairs and gave us a bunch of coupons for free headsets/drinks. This was so nice!
Off to the hotel (they never did find our bag, we got an overnight kit each), we get there at 11:45pm and ran across the parking lot to the Applebees (we hadn't eaten since lunchtime!). We got a little bit of sleep after eating and we were back on the way to the airport at 5:30am.
The CVG-BOS (DL 2032, 757) flight was (thankfully) fairly uneventful *EXCEPT* for one strange thing:
when we landed at Boston/Logan, WE SAW THE AIR FRANCE CONCORDE! I couldn't believe it! I thought the noise regs were such that Logan wouldn't let the Concorde land unless a nuclear bomb hit greater New York!
And that was my Turkey Day holiday. I hope my next holiday (Christmas, Phoenix) will be less exciting (we're booked to go 1st class :-)
-- Helen Trillian Rose
Kapor Enterprises, Inc. Check out my homepage! --> Systems and Networks Administration http://www.kei.com/hrose.html I like: DL, WN, Boeing I don't like: NW, HP, Airbus
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