Once again, I woke up on the morning after a trip, all bleary-eyed from lack of sleep because of--you guessed it--a flight delay.
This was a long enough time to begin with--less than three hours of flying time spread out over five hours--but, just like my previous return trip of a month ago, someone else's weather ended up messing with my trip.
The Evansville-Memphis leg was just fine; six other people from the conference I attended were on the same flight, and five of us had a long enough layover to eat dinner together in the Memphis airport. But even as we arrived, I had noticed that my own flight's status showed it departing an hour late. Having plenty of time after dinner, I walked up to my gate area and inquired as to the reason for the delay; I was told that weather in Baltimore, where our plane originated, was the issue.
As time went by, the little sign kept changing, just like it did in Chicago in June. (But unlike in Chicago, we were never moved from gate to gate; I think this kept the mood of the crowd a bit more placid.) 8:50 became 10:00, which became 10:10, which became 10:35. I was starting to wonder if we'd be allowed to fly out if the time got pushed back much later (others were wondering this as well, as we were assured over the P.A. that a "fresh" crew would be brought in to avoid the other one going over its maximum hours). This was good, because if we didn't get to finish the trip last night, I'd have to get someone over here to borrow my computer and send out an urgent email to this morning's students.
Eventually, the clock started to turn in our favor; 10:35 rolled back to 10:26 and eventually to 10:19. We were further placated with sodas and (somewhat stale) pretzels, and I kept myself occupied with magazines (I'd brought plenty) and a few phone calls in the meantime. Once the flight got going, everything went pretty smoothly and quickly. But still, we didn't even take off until over thirty minutes past the time we should have landed in Dallas, and at midnight, when I should have been trying to get ready for bed, I found myself sitting outside waiting for a shuttle to the cheap parking.
It's very weird to have this kind of thing happen two times in a row. But still, I won't complain too loudly; one of my colleagues was diverted to another airport (because his delayed flight got in past that airport's closing time!), and, as of 1:00 a.m. California time (which is 3:00 Indiana time), he was still waiting for a bus to take him to his actual airport. Another guy was still in the Atlanta airport (trying to get back to Albany) as of almost 10:00 this morning.
(This is, of course, an invitation to post your plane-trip-from-hell stories in the comments below.)
One more rantlet, in the form of a question: Why do the Memphis airport restaurants close at 7 or 7:30 p.m.? I could see this if it were Sunday only, but the signs were permanent, leading me to believe that this was an everyday thing.
Funny sign of the week: "For a speech from a local politician, push here."--A sticker on a men's room hand dryer at the Memphis airport; the "here" pointed, of course, to the dryer's "on" button, a.k.a. its source of quite a bit of hot air.