This is Part 2 of what will go down in history as just another day for US Airways but will stick with me as a top 5 worst experience of all time.
“Good evening crew, this is your captain speaking, we have some good news here, everything seems to be working now and we just have some last items we have to check off before we can push back from the gate and be on our way.” — The most optimistic captain in the world.
“Everyone, just to reiterate, there is nothing wrong with the plane from a safety point of view. It is just an electronics issue with the call buttons that is being worked on. Please do not be alarmed.” Gate agent who had now been asked by literally every passenger whether the plane was safe.
“I’ll be alarmed when the plane starts working.” – me
I’m skipping ahead in this story because the only thing more tedious than airport waiting is reading about airport waiting and I am trying to make this interesting. The time is now roughly 200AM EST and we are still on the plane waiting at the gate for a “few last minute items” This is now past the point where I had now missed two connections to Athens from Munich. We had sat at the gate for so long that there was an acrid smoke of anger and exhaustion hanging in the flight cabin. Finally the crew decided that they had to give people the option to deplane if they wanted to. Except not everyone got the message, some of the crew was saying it was alright to pack up your things and wait in the terminal. People packed up and then were told to turn around when they got to the jet way. This lasted for about 30 min. People were told that there would be snacks laid out in the terminal but alas but it took the highest of mid level management wearing an earpiece to make the exception that the $300,000 dollar snack boxes were ok to give away to a starving flight full of pissed off Euros and tourists. Then of course when they got to the terminal the passengers were told that the snacks would only be available on the plane. And so it goes.
Skipping ahead now to about 330AM EST I have now had my flight rebooked a second time to the very last flight of the day out of Munich to Athens. Lufthansa flight 1754 leaving at 7:50PM on August 21st from Munich International and yet another things goes wrong. Our flight crew had run out of hours. Federal Law in the United States mandates that flight crews can only work a certain number of hours. Our flight crew’s time was up and a replacement crew had to be called in before we could take off. If someone had thought of this say at midnight or one it would not have been a big deal because the flight crew could have switched out well before all of our mechanical issues had been fixed, but they didn’t. Someone realized it practically as our flight crew’s time ran out that they had to replace the flight crew before we could take off. Time to replace a flight crew, two hours, minimum.
It’s now 6:30AM EST and we begin to taxi down the runway for take off. A full 12 hour delay. I could have gone out and seen Philadelphia, gotten mugged, filed a police report, freed Mumia, repaired the liberty bell and added my name to the roster of the continental congress if someone from US Air had just given us a little heads up that they are completely incompetent. 7 hours later we land in Munich with just over an hour to clear customs, get our new boarding passes from Lufthansa and hopefully pound three strong german beers in the airport.
Check out Part 3 to see if we what happens when we land in Munich