If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fearful flier. Or, was I guess. After an amazing flight in July with two very friendly pilots on board a Southwest Airlines flight, I’ve felt pretty decent about the whole flying thing. I mean, physics says that whole concept works, my brain says it’s ridiculous but physics wins out and I’m starting to accept that. This trip, my husband booked us a flight on Delta and everything went fine.
We boarded out Delta flight at about 8 p.m. in Detroit. We had bags to check and that was the first time in a while we had to do that so we were a little out of practice. The ticketing agent was super helpful and with no one else in line, we were headed to security in no time.
We got one of the new profilers. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this because Detroit is a test city, but when the security agent takes your passport, photo id and ticket, a trained psychologist questions you about your trip. Sort of like a customs agent, except these people are trained to read you like a textbook. They will know if you are lying, smuggling or acting in any way suspicious. It was weird. They questioned us together and let us go. After that, we both got one of the full-body x-rays, you know, because we are so threatening and all. Once we were through security, we moved on to find some dinner. What better place to have dinner in Detroit than National Coney Island. I mean, it’s a staple.
Plus, they served beer. However, they do not have cheese sticks. My husband couldn’t understand how a Detroit-based coney island could not have cheese sticks.
We dined and then headed over to our gate for boarding. We weren’t sitting there too long before they called our flight to begin getting on the aircraft. We were in one of the last sections called. As we got up to the plane, my nerves kicked in a little, but it wasn’t too bad. The plane was huge. But I guess that is the case when the last plane you were on only had 13 rows in it.
We were in the middle of the plane and were one of the middle sections loaded, but we were told that they were running out of room for bags int he overhead bin and would we please gate-check our bag. I told my husband that this would be no big deal and it really wasn’t, but there was plenty of room so I was a little mad that they made us check it.
Once on the plane, a bunch of little TV screens lowered and we were given our flight information and emergency exit procedures on the screens. Different, but sort of nice. I browsed through the Sky Mall catalog even before we took off. Once we were in the air, I fired up my iPod and my Kindle and got down to business. My husband played some games on his iPad and then slept.
Aboard the plane, we were served drinks along with pretzels, peanuts or cookies. I was torn between the peanuts (which is seems you don’t get on board an aircraft anymore) or the cookies, but ultimately, my sweet-tooth won out and I opted for the cookies. They are amazing. I love the Delta airlines cookies.
Mid-way through the flight, I realized that “Parks and Rec” was on the TV. I plugged my headphones into the port in the arm rest and listened to that for a while rather than the music on my iPod. I love that show. And I was happy for the distraction. I worked all day and here I was on a late flight about half made up of children. I guess I should have known. Orlando is a busy place for families.
We made it to Florida in record time, arriving almost 30 minutes before we were scheduled. We headed to baggage claim, picked up our gear and moved on to get our rental car. While the process to get our car from Budget was sort of slow, the rest of the airport experience wasn’t bad.
I was afraid that would not be the case on the way home. When we arrived at the airport, the line for baggage check was pure craziness. We had to wait quite a bit only to find out that we were overweight in our biggest bag. We stuffed our smaller bag full and checked them both. Less to carry through the airport.
We figured we’d get something to eat. The Orlando airport has lots of shops and restaurants that are available without going through the security. We couldn’t really find anything that we were interested in except Outback Steakhouse and wouldn’t you know that restaurant was past security. Luckily, it was in our terminal so it would save us time in the long run. We got in line for security and this time we didn’t face a psychologist profiler. We saw the line and we were just dejected. It was going to take years to get through security. However, a security guard came up, moved a few of the ropes around and took a few people into a newly opened line. Including us! We were through pretty quickly at that point. Well, except for my husband, who got completely stopped by the metal detector. Why? He forgot to remove his cell phone.
We were through and headed over to the Outback and grabbed a table. We had hours until our flight so we got a table with a view of the runway and just hung out. We had burgers, fries and a few caffeinated beverages and played games on our phones and iPads. Once we started to feel guilty about tying up the table for so long, we headed over to the gate.
It was packed. There were people everywhere for this flight. They were asking people to upgrade to first-class for $70 each or to take a voucher and fly on a later flight. We considered it, but figured we wanted to get home to our kids and there was no way we were paying MORE money for the already-pricey flight. If they wanted us to fly first-class, they could give it to us.
But that didn’t happen.
When we got on board the aircraft, I mentioned to the flight attendant that I was a bit nervous and it would really help me out if I could introduce myself to the pilots. She was so excited. She said they never get visitors and they love it, however they weren’t in the cockpit just yet, but she would come and get me when they were. We returned to our seats in the exit row and thoroughly anticipated we wouldn’t hear from her again.
She was back a few minutes later and said they were really looking forward to meeting me.
I got up to the cockpit and I hear “Wind sheer warning! Wind sheering warning!” And the pilots joked that it was just a test, but probably the wrong thing for a fearful flyer to hear. They introduced themselves, told me the weather looked great and it should be a smooth flight. I had the added bonus of meeting a third pilot that was just riding in the jumpseat to get to Detroit. Back up pilot! Yay! And he was awesome. He reached in his bags and pulled out a set of WINGS! I’ve never gotten wings before! I was so giddy that I nearly skipped back to my seat, but I was afraid the nearly half-plane of kids would be jealous that I got wings and they didn’t.
Once back in my seat, I browsed Sky Mall again, waited for take off and then broke out my iPod, only to find out that “The Office,” my favorite show, was going to be playing as the on-flight entertainment! Bonus!
Our flight to Detroit was completely uneventful. We arrived on time, picked up our bags and headed out to meet our ride.
The more and more trips I have onboard airplanes that go well, the more and more I want to travel. We are even looking to travel as a family later this spring if we can find some good fairs. Not worth $1,000 to pay for my little ones to fly! So we’ll see what happens.