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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hell Trip 9000

This was such a miserable trip out, it's hard to summarize in just a few sentences. Everybody has hell trips, especially me, but this one was specially hellish. It was hella hellish.

Quick recap.... there was a big storm coming in to the East. We were to leave Flusherville at 5ish Saturday morning, fly to Pearson, then on to Vegas. The storm would hit Friday night and get worse into Saturday.
Good guy. Kept us safe.
We did two savvy things. We rebooked for a day earlier (no charge due to storm), skipping the Flusherville to Pearson leg, and... we upgraded to Premium Rouge, which is similar to regular crappy Rouge, with bigger seats and a bar.

So now I had to get Chippy to the Left-B-Hind Kennel on Thursday, a four hour round trip. She loves it there, it's worth it. We had to accelerate packing activities and such, and get ready to go - early.

I got a full 2 hours sleep. Up at 3:00 and out the door by 4:45. We hit a bad snow squall around Colbourne, as usual, and bad sleet, spray and traffic for the last hour and a quarter. White knuckled it.

Meanwhile, my nose was running.... yeah, I was getting sick.

Premium Rouge got us access to the Maple Leaf Lounge. I didn't see one single player there, though.
Sunrise at Pearson
The flight out to Vegas was fine, except for a lot of turbulence, but the landings... yes landings - were something else.

There were high winds in Vegas on Friday, and at the top of the low clouds, it was really bumpy. We passed through that and got on final coming from the east to the west on runway Fat Chance.

The winds were 55 to 60 miles an hour and we were pitched around like a pebble in a hubcap. We got lower, lower, the wings were bouncing around... got down to 200 feet, pilot hits the throttles and we pull up to go around.

We climbed up into the chop again. Bounce bounce bounce. Captain Turbodick came on and told us we'd take another shot at it.

We circled around, and this time we got down to 100 feet. Nope. Pilot floors it, the engines whine and roar and we're back up into air-sick land.

The pilot came on and said our alternate airport was LAX - but they'd denied us landing clearance there. McCarran was now closed and they were now looking for an airport to land at. Huh??!!

We were in a holding pattern right in the turbulence. Nobody was talking, all you could hear was all the plastic in the plane creaking and groaning, with the engine noise as the background.

I've never been airsick but was headed that way after an hour of 'shake the stomach'.

Finally, we landed at Ontario CA, and sat nosed up to a fence on the tarmac. We weren't allowed to get off the plane. Because customs. And they had no gate for us, no ground crew.

Nineteen other planes were diverted there including a Virgin 747 from the UK. They had a long day! A bunch of planes went to LA and a bunch to Phoenix too.

So now I was thanking my lucky stars we upgraded our seats. The extra room, better seats, better service... never needed it more.

They handed out the last of the snacks and food for purchase to the Premium peeps. Nobody else got much. of anything.

We had to wait for the winds to die down in Vegas, and we needed fuel. (Which makes you wonder, how much did we have by the time we landed?)

We sat on the ground for four hours. I spent most of the time fucking with my cell phone trying to get Roam Mobility to work. (DO NOT use Roam Mobility!!! More on this later).

I chatted with the Captain and he told me what happened. The wind shear warning went off as we were landing, the first time at 200 feet, the second at 100 feet. We'd lucked out.

Our joy ride around the Las Vegas valley.
Finally gassed up, Captain TD said we were good to go, and five minutes later says, nope, the airport is closed again.

But 15 minutes later, we were good to go and we took off. Landed in Vegas 45 minutes later. The landing was really hairy.

The Rouge crew was really great, and passengers all stayed calm. I was thinking about the poor bastards at the airport that were waiting for the plane to get in so it could take them back to Toronto. I reckon they left 8 hours later. Fun waiting at McCarran for 8 hours!

They cheered when we walked off. I guess they were happy to see us.

Altogether, it was almost 12 hours on the plane.

    1 comment:

    1. This is a nightmare. To be on the flight, to be so close to landing, and not landing in Vegas? Ugh.


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