Thursday, April 29, 2010

'Your flight has left the gate ... '

That Uncle Sam told the airlines no more “Flightmares” -- those rare but horrific tarmac waits -- reminds me of a not-so-funny story.

My wife and I were returning to Tampa from Philadelphia two summers ago.

It was a Sunday flight set for a 2 p.m. takeoff.

Anyway, a bad thunderstorm swept along the east coast, delaying everybody and everything.

Our flight was coming out of Providence, R.I., so we cooled our heels while the airline folks gave us periodic updates as the afternoon wore on.

Eventually, the weather began to clear and it was announced our flight had "left the gate" at Providence.

Well, another hour or more went by and we were still stuck in Philly.

It was getting on toward 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., by now.

Finally, I went up to the airline counter and wanted to know -- what is up?

Didn't you tell us some time ago the flight our "left the gate," I asked the guy?

Yes, he said, your flight has left the gate.

But it hasn't left the ground.


By the time that Providence did arrive, the crew had been aboard beyond its mandated time limit, so the airline had to bring in another crew from Raleigh, N.C.

We did not leave Philly until 11 p.m.

What time did we make it home?

Don't ask.

But we each received one-way tickets because of the inconvenience.

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