Recently moved from California to Canada. No easy task. This one is about the plane ride that will make your worse plane ride feel like a dream cruise.
Early morning of Saturday July 6th. Wake the kids, feed the cats some drugs to make them sleepy, order a car cause we have too many passengers and luggage to fit in our SUV, and lets go to the San Francisco airport.
We are 6+2 in all. That’s 3 kids, 3 adults, and 2 cats. 8 checked bags, a stroller, 6 carry-ons, and 2 cat carriers. That’s alot of luggage when standing in line to check-in. Delta was awesome and got us a porter to help us out with our Mt. Everest of luggage.
Security time. I (not sure why) decide that I don’t want to take my big fat 20+ pound cat out of his carrier, and therefore am subject to a private check. Fine. Only issue is the cat fur fucks up the explosive testing machine, and they think I’m laced in C4. 10 minutes or so later in a private room, they determine I’m not a terrorist looking to blow up a plane (and my 2 cats) and thus let me go.
Get to the gate in time, my wife goes to the coffee/breakfast kiosk and gets everyone something to munch on… but me of course. Even though I’m the one that handed her money to buy everyone something. I’m sure she still loves me… I think.
Board the plane. Since we have small kids (and cats) we get to board first. Yippee. Get settled in, get the kids setup with whatever they need to be entertained, sit down, buckle up and wait. This is where the fun really starts.
You see the time is about 11:25am, on Saturday July 6th, at San Francisco airport. We just pushed off the gate, everything seems fine. My son looking out the window, amazed by all the planes and equipment says: “Look dad a firetruck! A green firetruck!”. Now this doesn’t really faze me. I travel often. Airports are my second office, and seeing a firetruck on the tarmac isn’t anything out of the ordinary… or so I thought. This firetruck was doing something out of the ordinary. This firetruck was on its way to end of runway 28L.
Here’s a picture I took from my phone of what that firetruck was doing.
Are you fucking kidding me?!?! There’s like 10000 flights a day in and out of the US, there hasn’t been a major airline incident in the US in years, and this happens – on the day I’m moving on what is potentially going to be the hardest flight of my life (and I fly alot – like stupid lots).
Delta Airlines, were good in this case. We sat on the tarmac for maybe 20 minutes, before the pilot pulled us back in to let us off our about to be cancelled flight. Because I fly so much, I’m also a member of Delta Sky Clubs. So off to the Sky Club we go to relax, figure out what’s going on and try to keep our tempers down. Of course the Sky Club has CNN on full blare on every TV. My son, looks at a TV and says: “That plane is broken!”. Cute. Seeing all the kids in there, my wife pulls out my laptop, puts on Cars 2, and the next thing you know, my laptop is being used as a movie theatre screen. After about 2 hours, I look out on the tarmac, and as you would know it, there sits 2 United Airlines planes. 2 Hours later… still fucking there. Really?!?! Seriously United, THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE YOUR AIRLINE! Put the customer first! You maxed out your 3 hour tarmac period for what exactly? To piss off the passengers whom were helplessly held, likely against their will, so you can “hope” that the airport will re-open after a fucking plane just crash landed at it? Seriously, United Airlines get the fuck out… you’re drunk!
After a while I got the awesome Delta agent to rebook us all on a flight leaving Monday morning (getting us all to sit together was a challenge). So next we are off to get our luggage, call up a car and go back to my empty house. Small problem. Since the airport was closed, they weren’t letting anyone in. So we put the kids and cats in my SUV, packed it with as much luggage as we could, and I drove them home, while my wife took public transit back home with her friend.
So we get back home, only now it’s empty, as in the fridge is empty. You see for the week prior, we only bought food that would of been consumed by that Saturday. Well now we return and there is no food, and well it’s not exactly easy to buy food that isn’t called junk for 1.5 more days of living.
Fast forward to Monday the 8th. We pack our bags, call that car again, rinse and repeat to the airport. All is well, we get to security. This time I decide not to get raped in a private room, and decide to take my big fat pata-poof of a cat out of his carrier to go through security. The way you can silence a noisy security area with a cat that is larger than most dogs is quite entertaining. We had a collective jaw dropping of everyone in presence.
Get to the gate, and this time I’m buying food. I, of course make sure everyone gets something to eat and drink. Board the plane, get seated, and off we go, without any hitch…. yeah right. This wouldn’t be the fucking plane trip from hell if it was that easy.
We’re about 20 minutes from landing, when the pilot comes on the PA system to let us know there is a ground halt at Detroit Metro airport due to weather, and we will be circling for about 20 minutes. Sure enough 20 minutes later the pilot gets back on the PA system, and says traffic control still has the ground halt, and it will be another 20 minutes. Wait another 20 minute, and now the pilot says: “They still haven’t lifted the ground halt, we’re about to run out of fuel, so we’re going to Chicago”. Wait, What?!?! FUCK!!!
Ok, so we land at Chicago O’Hare, and taxi to some holding area on the tarmac, so we can get fuel. We were flying in a very common plane. A Boeing 767. You would think the fucking ground crew at one of the world’s busiest airports, would know what kind of fucking fuel a Boeing 767 takes. You would also be wrong in thinking that. Eventually they bring the correct fuel truck, fuel us up, and about 1.5 hours later we are off.
Get to Detroit. Get to our luggage, and get going to our home in Canada. All that is left is crossing a border…. easy right?
I came prepared. I read the website, got all my import paperwork in order, and we actually breeze through the import process quite well. Then my wife comes running in and says: “We need to start the citizenship process for Sawyer” (our youngest son – whom happens to be a yankee). So we do that, only thing is, the computer program that does this, is running on a toaster oven somewhere in bum fucking no where, powered by a hamster, with the same processing capacity of a withered tulip. Seriously, if the government wanted to save money, you can pay less overtime in hourly wages to border agents, and take that money saved and buy a real fucking computer to run your immigration software with.
Eventually we arrive, something like 13 hours later. That glass of Scotch on the rocks at my lightly-famous bar was well deserved.
I got to sleep for 4 hours on a simple air mattress, to wake at 5:30am so I can catch a flight back to California (original schedule had me returning Tuesday morning).
The next time you say you had a bad flight or travel experience just remember. You weren’t the Tessier family flying with 3 kids and 2 cats, on that weekend in July 2013.
PS: Thank You Leigh Anne! You’re the best.