I don’t think I ever really understood the expression “Comedy of Errors” until yesterday.
I learned a very valuable travel tip: NEVER BOARD AN AIRPLANE WITHOUT THE PILOT ONBOARD.
Let me explain.
Yesterday, I flew out to Las Vegas for WPPI, the giant annual wedding & portrait photography convention. Everything was going great. The snow and ice had melted, rendering roads in DFW drivable again. I made it to the airport in time. There was no line at security. I had time to pick up a sandwich. I got to the gate and there was no crazy line to board, so I got on the plane. While they gate-checked my suitcase, I didn’t have to pay for it, so I was feeling good.
I felt like I was winning the day.
I got to my seat and for a long time, there was no one coming for the seat next to me.
This was going to be awesome. I got a row to myself. (Two-seat row).
And then the flight attendant came over the loud speaker.
She apologized for the temperature on the aircraft and that the pilot who would fly our plane was arriving from another flight and was not there yet.
The first thought that crossed my mind was, “Why did they let us on the plane without the pilot? Can they even do that?”
That should have been the first red flag.
About 10-15 minutes later the flight attendant announces that the pilot has arrived. We proceed to hear the hum of the engine starting and the vents blowing the AC.
And proceeds to say, “I’m not sure why they allowed you to board the plane….”
Yeah, even the pilot was confused by all the passengers on the plane without him!
However, the pilot still needed to do a walk-around inspection of the plane.
Should be easy and straightforward and not a problem, right?
The pilot comes on over the loudspeaker to announce that there was an issue found and that maintenance had been called and that it would be another 15-20 minutes.
Mind you, I’m still buckled up on the plane.
Time passes and the pilot announces that maintenance reports that it’ll take at least 45 minutes to resolve the issue.
At this point, it just feels comical. Like, “What next?”
Thankfully, they gave us the option to deplane, which was a nice concession, considering that was about all they could really do or offer us.
I guess it was a good thing that they gate-checked my luggage because when you get off a previously boarded plane, you have to take all your belonging with you.
And it really did take the full 45 minutes. I was able to snag one of the last outlets at the charging station to charge my iPhone and sit and read my Kindle.
Finally, the gate agent announced they would be re-boarding the plane. Hallelujah!
I’m thankful that the flight was uneventful with just a little bit of turbulence crossing through the clouds.
I made it to Las Vegas about two and a half hours later than expected…but I made it! (I could have been stuck still stuck at the airport…)
So, lesson of the day: Don’t board an airplane without the pilot onboard.
Makes for a good story, right?