So, I DID return from the Big Easy…

….flying in from New Orleans and landing in MIGRAINE LAND, which is not my favorite place to visit. And this one was a doozy. Five days later I am STILL fighting it off.

And playing catch up. And trying to recover from the HORRIFIC flying the unfriendly skies bit.

Did you see that movie SNAKES ON A PLANE? You know, the one with Samuel L. Jackson who is really cooler than any human being has a right to be. Anyway, he is on this plane, and as it TURNS OUT, it is filled with poisonous SNAKES. It may sound ludicrous, but let me tell you what, it is not. Okay, well it is. But that? THAT is not what happened on my plane. No, my plane was filled with angry Mormons and screaming children, most of whom had planned on a relatively short flight into Dallas-Fort Worth to catch other connecting flights.

Guess what? NONE of us made it. Not one. Because we first sat on the tarmac at Salt Lake City International Airport for two hours. They taxied us out, then we headed out for east Magna, just around the bend from the Great Salt Lake, and the pilot came on and said, “I guess you are wondering why we brought you out here.” Well, that had crossed my mind. Pilots are funny, aren’t they? But hey, we were a captive audience, so we politely laughed, because if we didn’t, it was entirely possible he would tip the wings at 30,000 feet and we would go flying like Barbie Dolls in a a Barbie Van crash off the balcony. Provided we actually got up INTO the air, of course. We sat there–on the ground in east Magna, for two hours, because apparently there was a storm in Texas, and DFW was shut down.

Finally, things lightened up in Texas and we were on our way. I would like to tell you that things got better from there, but that would be a BORING story and a big fat FREAKING ASS lie. See, I think somebody lied to our pilot, and told him things were looking up in the old Texas skies, because that somebody thought it would be funny. Like the airline industry isn’t in ENOUGH trouble, and it doesn’t already need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with tongue.

Because things were NOT better in Dallas, and so we circled around in the skies for a while, then headed toward Wichita Falls (I think. It was SOME Wichita place) and were told we couldn’t land THERE either. Finally, the pilot came on and gave us the bad news. Bad news from a pilot usually includes the world LOW and FUEL strung together in a way you do NOT want to hear when you are CIRCLING ABOVE THE EARTH in a giant metal object. Where do they train these guys? Marquis de Sade school?

So, we meandered over to Oklahoma City and landed there. Of course, we could not actually go to a GATE, or get off the plane, because everybody else and their dog who had tried to get to DFW had landed in Oklahoma City first, and our pilot was on the remedial program and figured it out a little late.

They DID bring us out some snacks (cookies, chips and pretzels) and gave us all an EXTRA beverage. That water was MIGHTY tasty. Nice, huh? So we sat on the plane long enough for me to have gotten to HAWAII or someone else nice and tropical, and very NOT Oklahoma City. And the whole time, with people rumbling about getting off, they warned us that they would NOT take our luggage off the flight we were on, and there was NO flights available out of the airport, and quite honestly, if we got off the plane, we would have been stranded smack dab in the middle of freaking nowhere with NOTHING. The only people not scared shitless by the warnings were a lady and her sister, because they lived 20 miles outside Oklahoma City and apparently did not care that their luggage was going to DFW. They were GETTING off.

The rest of us cowards stayed on the plane, and finally we heard from our pilot again, and he told us that the weather had finally cleared up enough that we could fly into DFW! Hurray! A short jaunt later and we were off the plane and being told by a harried American Airlines agent where our NEW connecting flights could be found. You know what she told me? “Oh, you haven’t been booked on a new flight. You better run to Gate D27 and get on standby for the next flight to New Orleans.” So I stood in THAT FREAKING LINE for two hours while passengers who had NOT made it to Miami argued with the gate agent.

When I got to the front, the guy took one look at me, listened to my story and–apparently scared that I would go all MacGyver on him, and fashion an Uzi out of a lipstick tube, a 3 oz shampoo bottle and a bra–promised to get me a seat on the next flight. He even gave me a little ticket that said “confirmed.” But no seat assignment. No, no, I had to come BACK after the Miami hooligans had departed. I went into the bar, asked for a bottle of wine, straight up, no glass, and proceeded to calm myself.

The world was feeling warm and fuzzy when I tottered back to my gate, and stood in line again. And he DID get me the LAST seat on the flight. Everybody else had to be on standby. The flight was scheduled out at 7:25. Er, 7:45. Er, 8:15… You get the picture. We finally left DFW at 10:30 or so. By the time I got to my hotel in New Orleans, it was 12:30, and I fell into my bed.

This adventure started at 8:15 A.M. when our SLC plane taxied out to East Magna. I was on that very plane somewhere between eight and 42 hours. I lost track.

I also decided I would be HITCHHIKING home. It would probably be quicker.

I shall regale you with more New Orleans story in the upcoming week.


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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5 Responses to So, I DID return from the Big Easy…

  1. azteclady says:

    Oh Natalie, I’m very sorry to hear you are suffering under the hold of a migraine. Stop looking at the screen and crawl in bed. In the dark. With some nice drugs and lots of water nearby.


  2. Renee says:

    OMG. I’ve had a few travel horror stories – but you take the cake. Amazing.


  3. Tracy says:

    Thank God it was just a migraine. I thought you were stuck in in a dark room at Utah customs, reciting Pearl of Great Price.


  4. Cele says:

    You know you are one of my dearest friends, and I am always, I mean always bugging you to go to a conference with me… and when it finally happens..


    Because you have NEVER had a good and normal flight. But I still love you and we’ll do it…hmmmm next year.


  5. Natalie says:

    Well, my flight HOME was normal. Hmm. Is that some sort of sign?


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