The most common questions I hear, these days, are, “Why were you in
Come to think of it, Phil’s computer skills did come in handy and part of what we learned will help Phil on his next Work and Witness trip. More about that in a moment. First, I want to tell you about the photographs we didn’t take on a trip with a heavy photographic component (photography would be one of the class subjects and tour emphases).
My parents drove us to the
After the normal time-sink of checking in baggage and nearly disrobing and redressing for security, we decided to order dinner while we waited for our connecting flight from
A light bulb was out in the baggage area of our Alaska Airlines jet. Changing the bulb and “filling out the paperwork” took that long.
During the delay, the travel agents worked furiously to connect people on alternative flights. Our situation took four flight attendants and the last half hour of our wait. One flight attendant even had to personally and physically change the tags on our luggage so it would remain with us throughout the trip. The cumbersome schedule re-vamp would most likely cost us an additional $500. We originally booked on frequent flier miles. Phil’s stress level had risen noticeably on his reddening face.
At one point, in
The photo I didn’t take in the Geiger Field (
By the time we were in the air toward
We had time to visit
Click to the next missed photo: Phil tucked into a window seat, me in the middle, and the isle seat filled to overflowing with a short, stalky Sikh. Picture the Sikh’s elbow jabbed into my side (while I’m scooted as close to Phil’s side as possible) for a six hour flight. He wears all blue, even his silky turban, and his head hangs over his chest to protect the turban from crushing against the seat back.
When travel agents begin opening up the gate for check-in, one woman travel agent can barely walk without holding on to the counter to go from computer to door, and the other, a man, looks and acts more like a bouncer than a flight attendant. The airport looks like it needs a bouncer, especially after probably one hundred 17 and 18 year old girls, all speaking Portuguese, line up in front of the counter, then sit in smaller groups on the floor in that line. We approach the man, who quickly informs us that the very helpful Alaska Airlines travel agents have committed a faux pas, but that we can go ahead and fly from
The bouncer, I mean, travel agent, uses a firm but confidential tone to inform us that Alaska Airlines has “screwed us over” financially and we have no recourse unless the delay was due to an airplane dysfunction, as in a “burnt out light bulb or other dysfunctionality.” Aha! He points to our loophole. When he realizes we had been wronged in this way, he takes it upon himself to call Alaska Airlines, explain our demise, and insist that Alaska do something to make things right.
We wait and watch the 17 and 18 year old girls who all look a little too terrific at in the morning, Eastern Standard Time. Incoming passengers needing to check in don’t really know what to do with a gaggle of girls lined up, seated Indian style (is that phrase allowed anymore?), at the counter. It is amusing to watch. Another missed set of photos. When it appears that the lame woman is about to call out the first to be seated on the plane, we have not yet received tickets, but we have been assured by the man that
We see a woman half run, half walk the tickets to the counter just as the woman travel agent has to whistle and shout like a gym teacher to get the attention of 100 girls and those around them to announce seat row numbers to enter the jetway. We catch the eye of the bouncer-like attendant and he nods us to the counter.
“You’re $950 richer,” he says, handing the tickets to Phil.
We are thankful to the point of tears, both to
Will, way and pray. They still work, but it’s a God-miracle, as far as I’m concerned. And I feel humbled because I know that Alaska Airlines, as well as so many other airlines, are suffering great economic losses. That day, they suffered more because of a light bulb--and some on our behalf.
As our plane lands, the flight attendant announced the gate numbers for passengers flying out of
Our layover in
We check e-mail, charge our computer batteries and wander the terminal halls. We find out that our son is doing well with his grandparents, so far. We wait. We are letting ourselves believe that we really are headed to
No sooner do we embark, stow, blanket, pillow and sit, than we are asleep. We did take time to observe the same clouds we saw flying into
We had no time to explore
More on this trip in the next entry.