Monday, June 5, 2017

Take the Bump!

We boarded our flight from San Jose to Johannesburg, via Salt Lake City and Paris, on time, but sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes while mechanics tried to fix the PA system. The safety video was played without sound but I suppose that is against FAA rules because the flight attendants had to do it live, like in the old days. It seemed like this was a first for the young crew because even I can clasp and unclasp a buckle faster than that.

Eventually we pulled away from the gate, without a PA system. This meant that the personal entertainment system wasn't working either so passengers where forced to read for the two hour flight, which seemed a new thing for passengers.

Our scheduled layover in Salt Lake City was short to begin with but now that we had burned 40 minutes sitting on the tarmac in San Jose, by the time we landed in SLC we would have only ten minutes to run to the next terminal, which is not a first for me but which bummed me out because who wants to arrive sweaty in Paris? Not moi.

I asked the flight attendant to request that everyone stay seated so that we with immediate flights to make could exit the plane first and trot instead of gallop to catch our connecting flights. But the PA system still wasn't working so it was hell, I tell you, to get off the plane and commence a sweaty gallop.

We arrived at our gate in the nick of time, the last passengers to board. We made our way to 35F and G to find our seats occupied by two folk who refused to make eye contact.
Just after the flight attendant cheerily suggested that we "...take those two seats at the back, next to the toilets, because this couple is already settled in", the Captain made an announcement basically stating that the flight was full to capacity, that the temperature outside was 96 degrees, that (as we knew) Salt Lake is at high altitude, the usual dynamics of lift, drag, and thrust were not going to get the plane off the ground no way, no how, unless ten people volunteered to get off the plane and take a later flight. When he got to the part about a $1500 credit per passenger we took a last look at the seats by the loo, did an about face (with our carry on luggage) and exited the plane.

The extremely capable mother-daughter team of Susan and Stacie did a fantastic job of re-booking us to Johannesburg with a 12 hour layover in Paris (even better!). Then Stacie printed off reams of hotel and meal vouchers and took our photo in their cockpit mock up nearby.

For those who say, "We'd love to travel the way you do but, you know, we have a kid." A smart family of 6 also took the bump. They put $9000 of flight credit in their pockets and are flying to Paris tomorrow. Their infant baby girl gave me the biggest smile when I leaned over her stroller and said, "Hey baby! Is this your first bump? And you're not even one year old yet!

The best part is that our new seat assignments to Paris aren't anywhere near smelly toilets. Stacie gave us First Class seats, 1B and C, and that's a first for us.

The take away? Be flexible. Travel light. Carry on only. Go with the flow. Smile.

All I can add is OO LA LA. Viva la Delta!

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