I am learning that I need to stop saying specific days for when I will post things. Did I say Monday? I meant that I had to unexpectedly take my macbook, Mavis Beacon, to The Apple Shop because she was like eight software systems behind. I know some people are great at scheduling posts, but I am not one of those people.
Mavis is back in action now, and I also want to thank everyone for typing their comments in all caps on the last post. I was laughing really hard and maybe that will be the new Friday thing if I ever consistently started posting on Friday.
To make up for my empty promises, here is a whole lot of my favorite Christmas music. Enjoy.
And now, Part II!
We were picked up from the hotel in Orlando in the early morning on the last day of our trip.
That day, we were scheduled to fly from MCO to JFK, JFK to FLL, and FLL back to LGA. I am speaking in airport codes because, wouldn't it be fun if you learned them too?
Basically, it was a really long day. Even looking at it on a page made my feet swell and my back ache and I thought of all the people that would try to touch me with their trash.
Right before we started boarding, news started to roll in about the New York airports closing. Domestic flights were canceling left and right. There were talks of the airports trying to get as many flights out to Europe as they could. (The flight attendants going to Europe were obviously ready to get out of New York - because who wouldn't want to get 'stranded' in Paris for a few extra days?)
But me - I just wanted to go HOME. (Unless Paris were on the table, in which case...)
We made it up to JFK and the airport was in a frenzy. Scheduling had already re-routed us. We were going to fly down to Fort Lauderdale and lay over instead of going back to New York. We were going to make it out of New York just a couple of hours before all of the airports closed and the storm began to roll in.
For whatever reason, I've come to notice that there is typically a lot of crazy that happens on domestic evening flights leaving JFK. That airport could stress anyone out, so I think by the time people make it on the plane they've spent their sanity on trying to get through security and concourse navigation. Once they step on the plane, ALL BETS ARE OFF.
I was under the impression that I'd have a plane full of passengers that were overwhelmingly grateful to make it out of the city before the airports closed.
There were a lot of thankful people, but unfortunately that was overshadowed by the woman that refused to stop kicking the seat in front of her and insisted on propping her bare feet on the passenger's head rest in front of her. I was just glad she wasn't clipping her toenails (YES, PEOPLE DO THAT ON THE PLANE). Then she and her husband chose to berate the crew and surrounding passengers. Oh, what joy! Security met the flight.
The NEXT day, I was off work. I had three days off before I had to make my way up to New York. Since the hurricane rolled in, they flew us to Atlanta and I was not allowed to leave. Basically, when the conditions are that horrible, and thousands of flight had canceled, they need as many crew members at their disposal as possible.
I'll be honest, I was really frustrated. I felt like I wasn't a person and I was upset that they had control over my personal time. But then I realized that: I had a nice place to stay (for free!), I was out of harm's way, and I really needed to stop complaining and feeling sorry for myself.
We were in Atlanta for three days while the storm wrecked New York. Some of my other co-workers were stranded in Detroit, some in Cincinnati, some were lucky enough to get home.
The airlines were proactive in trying to get us back to New York, but the FAA's website didn't look so promising:
Pictures started to surface of what LaGuardia looked like:
It was madness, to say the least.
Early one morning, there was a flight scheduled for all of the stranded flight attendants to be ferried back up to JFK.
It was one of the weirdest things I've experienced with the job so far.
They had us fly on a 767. It's a wide body aircraft (two aisles) and holds about 250 passengers. It was full of uniformed flight attendants. We were all in uniform, and it kind of felt like a reunion in some ways. I got to see some of my friends that I've not run into since training. Once we were on the plane, they allowed some paying passengers to make their way on, and you could tell the sight of so many of us in the seats made them feel like they were on an episode of The Twilight Zone.
We were one of the first planes to touch down in New York. The runways were empty, the airport was quiet and desolate. They had a bus there to take us to varying locations so we could make it back to our homes or crashpads. It was a long ride as the city looked like a warzone and the debris everywhere made it hard to find safe roads.
At one point, I was standing on the corner near a busy highway wearing my uniform and a little sweater (without a coat, because I'm a moron), and I felt like a refugee. A refugee in a stewardess costume.
Nancy, (basically my New York mother), came to retrieve me and I was so gloriously thankful. Her apartment hadn't lost power, but there were trees down everywhere.
Public transportation was free. There were lines waiting for buses everywhere, and cabs were out of service because most gas stations had run out of gas. It was sad, and bizarre, and I'll never forget it.
It was Halloween, and we watched Hocus Pocus in her warm apartment. I wore sweatpants, and drank coffee out of a Lady & the Tramp mug.
When I think back on this later, it will only be a story I can tell. I was inconvenienced. That's it. That's nothing. I didn't lose my home or loved ones. My life wasn't changed forever. As so many details emerged of the devastation of the hurricane, I felt guilty for ever complaining in the first place. Sandy, you were such a jerk.