Many of you knew that I spent a week with my wonderful daughter, son-in-law and our precious grandson last week. I had an evening flight out of BWI (Baltimore) a week ago this evening. It was with a sad heart that I hugged my kids good-bye and kissed my little grandson. I headed into the airport, checked my bag and headed to the terminal to await my flight.
I kept an eye out on the weather, as it was supposed to turn nasty and there was a part of me that felt like I might be stranded in Baltimore.
My flight came and I boarded. I had two delightful seatmates. They were two friends who were heading to Charleston for a weekend get away. We talked about places to eat and we shared a few laughs on our 90 minute flight.
Unfortunately, though, it was one of those flights where your legs get restless and you are anxious just to get off the plane. My dear hubby would be there to meet me and we were going to have a late dinner and get caught up on what our grandson had done while I was with him. I was looking forward to stretching my legs and seeing my hubby.
I kept looking at my seat mate’s watch. It was one of those large ones that are so popular now, so I didn’t have to squint to see the time. Our arrival time into Charleston was 9 p.m.. My first glance at the watch said it was 8:30. Only 40 minutes left to the flight. I eavesdropped on the ladies’ conversation and imagined the fun they were going to have together for the weekend. I looked again and it was 8:45. Getting closer! Again, and it was 9. Yay! But, the plane was still in the air. The next glance said, 9:20 and then we heard the pilot. “Ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed that we have circled Charleston for the past 20 minutes.” He went on to let us all know we were being diverted to Raleigh/Durham, NC. There was a groan from the plane. But, it was less than 1% visibility and it was for the best we headed up to North Carolina.
At 10:30 p.m. we landed. No one (except the pilot) knew we were in Raleigh/Durham, until we hit wheels on the runway. It was that dark, cloudy and rainy. As we landed and taxied to the terminal, the door opened. In came someone from the airport. The cell phones and texts were open and flying to people in Charleston as we listened to what was being said. Our visit in Raleigh was a ‘gas and go’ . We refueled the plane and were told we were heading back up to BWI! Several people got off the plane, including my seatmates, but after they left the plane, those of us waiting were informed that the car rental places were closed and the hotels were pretty full. I stayed on the plane.
We landed in Baltimore at midnight. All the passengers went to the desk in the terminal for our boarding passes for a special flight for our plane at 6:30 a.m.. It was 12:30 before I had my boarding pass. I was offered a discount coupon for a hotel of my choice. I chose to stay at the terminal, as did most of the other passengers. The reasons being that once we left the terminal, we would not be able to get back in until morning, as there were only a skeleton crew for TSA and they would not allow us back into the terminal. Also, we would have to find a hotel, check in, get settled (no luggage was allowed off the plane), and get some sleep. I figured by time I did all that it would be 4 a.m. and time to get up, and head back to the airport.
So, a large group of us settled in for the rest of the night. We all looked out for one another. We sprawled out on the benches of seats and tried to stay warm enough to get some sleep.
The airport is a wildly busy place at night! I had no idea. There were maintenance crews all over, cleaning, picking up, vacuuming, listening to music and laughing and talking. There were police on segways whizzing through the terminal, driving them down the escalator. Some officers were riding their bicycles all over the terminal. Everyone was polite and kind, but it was certainly noisy.
I also realized that with those wonderful huge windows that we can watch planes landing and taking off also keep the airport very drafty and cold at night.
I managed to get about an hour sleep last Friday night. It was an adventure. One I have never experienced. I hope I don’t have to have an adventure like that again, at least not without putting my toothbrush into my carry on!