The trip reaches farcical proportions before we finally make it home.
Pittsburgh Travel Blog› entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
By the time we landed in Pittsburgh, we only had 30 minutes before our flight to Dayton was scheduled to leave. Found the gate information, rushed to the gate, and found this flight delayed as well. We were waiting on crew who showed up about 30 minutes later. They went out to the plane to prep and came back in about 15 minutes later and announced that they needed a maintanence crew to take a look at something. The team arrived looked at the plane and announced the plane needed to be taken out of service.
Another cancelled flight on this trip. To top it off though the plane had to be flown to Dayton where the maintanence base was located; it just couldn't go with any passengers. At this point I could just about scream. Next flight was about 3 hours later. We discussed trying to drive, but even this area had gotten a good deal of snow just not as much as the coast. With not being sure how clear the roads would be we decided to wait for the flight. There was no gate info for the new flight yet so we found another bar/restaurant to get something to eat for lunch. Called the parents and my brothers wife to update them on our progress as it stood. Finally gate information came and we headed to the gate. Most of the people from the earlier flight were there as well.
Looking out the window at our plane, I finally realized that this trip had now reached farcical proportions. Our plane was one of the smaller regional jets. The kind that you often do not board by jetbridge connected to the terminal area, but rather walk out to the tarmac and board from the stairway. It was obvious that this plane had not been used since sometime yesterday at the latest. There was four inches or so of snow on the wings. The ground underneath the plane was snow and ice covered as well. And of all things the door of the plane was wide open (note that at 2:00 PM it was a balmy 5F/-15C outside). Around 4 PM our flight crew arrives and looks at our plane. I was afraid to look at their reaction, but I heard a sarcastic chuckle from one of them. The pilot gets on the phone and asks for some ground crew to come over and move the plane out of the snow. A crew with one of those push tug's comes over and, after closing the plane door, tries to hook the tug to the plane. It can't get close enough through the snow. The crew gets a shovel and shovels a path for the tug to get to the plane. They get the tug connected and push. Nothing. The plane doesn't move. The tug's wheels spin. The crew continues to dig. Someone found some salt and/or sand to spread around both the tug's and the plane's wheels to try to get a bit of traction. This tragicomedy continues for over 30 minutes as our departure time for this flight comes and goes. Finally a cheer erupts from the waiting passengers! The plane moves as the tug pushes and the plane slowly moves back from the snow bank.
The flight crew goes out and checks out the plane which, as expected, is about as warm as the outside air temperature. After a bit the first officer comes in and says that the inside temperature is about 40F/4C and asks how long we want to wait before boarding. It was almost unanimous to get on the plane and get heading home as by the this time we were already over an hour and half after the 5:00 PM departure time. We board the chilly plane and head over to get de-iced. With the snow caked on our plane this takes even longer than usual. Finally we're airborne, headed back to Dayton and the end of this excruciating journey.
But we're not finished just yet. My brother gets his luggage back that we were forced to check in Philadelphia, but mine is nowhere to found. I go to the baggage office, fill out my claim form, describe my luggage, and finally head home. By the time we get back to my brothers house, it's been almost 38 hours since we left his house at 8:00 AM the previous morning. In that time we've either been in the airport or in a plane that entire time, yet only made it approximately 500 miles from home. I say so long and head back down to my place near Cincinnati.