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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Worst Flight Ever?

No, not the worst flight, but it was a doozy. We were headed to Jackson Hole for three days of skiing in Yellowstone. The schedule called for a late, after-work flight, a little after 8 p.m. By the time we got to the airport, we already had the bad news: Flight delayed to 11:55 p.m. Thank you, Newark. It was below zero and snowing in Denver and much worse in Jackson, and we feared the worst—a canceled flight would have screwed our entire trip. We had a snow coach into Old Faithful scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, and there were no flights open in the morning. Our plane finally arrived from Newark around midnight, and we boarded hopefully. Then the nightmare began. First someone puked in the back, and they had to order up a cleaning crew and replace the seat cushion. Then the pilot sighed—actually sighed, over the PA—and announced that the bags from Newark still hadn't been off-loaded, and ours weren't on yet. I was dozing on and off, and I experienced the weird feeling that they were de-icing the plane right at the terminal gate, and that we backed out, pulled a 180 and accelerated into takeoff right there. It was 2 a.m. and we were in the air—that's all I cared about. We arrived in Jackson Hole just after 3 a.m., waited an ungodly amount of time for our bags (it was 3 a.m., we were the only plane to arrive for hours, for God's sake, what was the hang-up?), and drove into town to get a couple of hours of sleep. Elapsed time from home: 11.5 hours. Driving time to Jackson in winter: approximately 8 to 9 hours. But we got there! Next up: Reports from Yellowstone in winter.

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