Posted by: justnaturallyme | September 14, 2009

Thank You, Alexandra S.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to say “Thank you, Alexandra S. We’ve never met. I don’t email you or have any other contact with you but still you have a place in my heart.

We do have a few things in common. Both of us were flying on Delta Airline yesterday. Both of us missed a connecting flight. I only know that you were flying into the U.S. and your plane was late landing. I was returning from six hectic days on the road. I’m a travel writer and had just attended Travel Media Showcase in Montgomery Alabama and then continued on for a post trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Then the accommodating Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau representative, Charles Winter and our long suffering bus driver, Tom, returned those of us flying back to the Montgomery airport.  The entire experience was great fun but very exhausting.  I will tell you all more about the trip itself in the next few days right here on Just Naturally Me. But today, I want to explain why I do so appreciate you, Alexandra.

I was way ahead of time and boarded the Montgomery to Atlanta leg of my flight just fine. That’s when the plot began to thicken and the suspense built. Our cheerful flight attendant announced we would be parking on the side for another 30 or so minutes due to congestion in Atlanta airport.  And, oh by the way, no refreshments would be served since this was such a short flight. Short flight but long delay. I could have used a Coke or something stronger as I contemplated the fact that I would have less than 20 minutes to get from the very end of D terminal to the opposite end of A terminal. Not a likely prospect. The flight attendant laughingly agreed I most likely would not make it but nothing she could do. Thank  you for flying Delta!

It was exactly 20 minutes to four, my Jacksonville flight departure time, when I hit the tarmac dragging my computer case, also containing two cameras, three lenses, assorted chargers. a tape recorder and a bunch of incidentals I could not travel without, and a purse that could be registered as a deadly weapon due to its size alone never mind all the stuff I had crammed into it. I gave it a good shot pretty much running down the aisle and only rolling over a few toes as I raced for the underground train and the elusive A terminal.

As I reached the bottom level, the train doors were just snapping shut. I threw myself and all my attachments headlong into the train just barely avoiding the door slamming shut on my rear end. I grabbed an overhead strap already firmly  held by one gentleman who probably has a black and blue bruise about the size of my hand  and hung on for dear life

I was pushing my way up the escalator in A terminal when I heard the fatal announcement “Final boarding call for Flight 1654 for Jacksonville!”

Had the departure gate been anywhere near the escalator I would have gotten to that plane but as you all can guess I surfaced around gate A 20 and I needed A2. Still I gave it my all. I did swerve around anyone in a wheelchair but any other walkers were fair game. When I arrived gasping for air and parched the ticket/boarding clerk had disappeared.  It was 3:55. I think I set a new record for transversing that distance in Hartsfield Airport. “You just missed it.” was a comment from the sidelines.

Well, as you can guess by the time I found a ticket/boarding clerk at another gate and explained my predicament I was not a happy camperor flyer. They knew I was scheduled and heading here as fast as I could. It didn’t faze her at all. “Our job is just to get our planes in the air on time,” she shrugged.  I guess it doesn’t work that way in Montgomery or something.

She handed me a new boarding pass for an 8:30 flight. An 8:30 flight! The true proportions of this tragedy hit me. This was worse than just being home a few hours later. This was epic. I was going to miss the season finale of  True Blood!

My devastation must have showed. The ticket/boarding clerk took pity. She handed me a new boarding pass. This one for the 5:10 flight. “It’s standby but you night get on.”

Hallelujah! A light at the end of the tunnel!

When I hit the departure gate, I was number one on the standby list. The boarding clerk there would not venture a guess on my chances until she had the plane boarded and all passengers accounted for. Naturally this plane takeoff was delayed. They all are except when I have a connecting flight then they go right on schedule.

By 5:25 they had boarded and had one missing passenger. They kept calling her name on the loudspeaker but no answer. One clerk said to the other “When did her plane get in?”

“Just a few minutes ago,” he replied. “If she is tied up with emigration, it could be an hour or more.”

They both looked at me. “If she isn’t here in a minute, you’ve got it.”

I was down the breeezeway halfway to that only seat in the plane still hearing the echos of the last announcement “Alexandra S. report to gate A10 for your Jacksonville connection.”

That’s the one other thing we have in common, that one last seat that was first assigned to you and then to me. I did enjoy it. Thank you so much. Alexandra S.

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