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Real Stories: Air Travel

June 10, 2011

My "travel family," group three, gets ready to leave the hotel in Philadelphia and travel to Liberia. So sleepy but excited! Dani, Chris, Steph, Scott, me, and Nathan.

Thursday morning we left the hotel in Philadelphia before 7:00am and went directly to a federal building to get our yellow fever shots.  We bummed around the cafeteria while everyone cycled through then loaded the bus, said goodbye to our Staging leaders, and headed to New York.  Our flight wasn’t schedule to leave until after 6:00pm but we arrived around noon and made it through check-in and baggage without much incident.

Six hours later we boarded our plane and they announced bad weather would delay us (ahuh).  The sun was shining, but we sat.  Then it started storming.  So we sat.  And sat.  Even after it stopped.  Five hours later they announced we would get in a line of about eighty planes waiting to take off.  We inched up the runway and as the engines revved a few people clapped.  Then, probably second in line, we turned back!  We’d been on the plane almost seven hours–long enough to fly to Brussels–but here we were driving in a circle.  (Thanks to current Liberia PCV Matt for making the time pass more quickly!)

What happened?  We were so close!  They were even going to try to hold our connection to Liberia.  An ambulance pulled up.  Our flight attendant had cut herself and passed out right before take off.  (This is not a joke).  The crew had been working too long to legally continue to Brussels and, with no one available to fill-in, they canceled our flight.  We were returned to the gate, given $10 food vouches, and left to set-up a blanket camp on the floor.  They originally told us there was no way we could all travel together and that it would take weeks to get us all to Liberia.  We looked at each other: unacceptable!  People with phones started making calls and with patience, persistence, and flexibility we collected our bags and found our way to a hotel in Queens by 3:00pm.  Showers!  Beds!  We thought we’d left them for good!  (Or at least for now.)

Tomorrow we’ll try again with a different airline.  But tonight we’ll enjoy our clean hotel rooms, hamburgers, and washing machines.  I think I speak for everyone, though, when I say: We are so ready to go!

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 4:33 pm

    Oh B, thats brutal! Like the first time my family traveled to the Philippines! Wow! I also love that you broke doing the ‘hands to the side’ pose. Already standing out from the group 🙂

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