Friday, April 11, 2008

The MD 80 Affair

I've never had a strong opinion about flying, one way or the other. As a kid, I loved to fly. I loved the novelty of it. As an adult, I'm grateful I don't have to drive to all of the school visits I do each year from coast to coast. But when I walk into the airport, I always send up a prayer to the gods of flight that I make it where I'm going more or less on time and in one piece.

Yesterday, American Airlines had the ear of the aeronautical gods. I was supposed to be on a flight to El Paso to speak at the New Mexico Library Association Conference in Las Cruces today. And I was speaking on my upcoming middle grade novel. I was totally psyched.

And then I watched the news. Hundreds of flights grounded. What about mine?

You guessed it, grounded too. A very patient customer sales person put me on a flight to Albuquerque, where I could get a one way rental car and drive the three hours to Las Cruces. Okay, I thought, I can do this.

Until I got to Dallas. Those pesky little flight gods hadn't held the magical wand over my head while I was flying. My connecting flight to Albuquerque had been canceled while I was en route.

Again, a reshuffle, a new flight. Hours in the airport. I have to say, I'm not the most patient traveler when it comes to waiting for a flight, but this time, it was almost like I was sitting back and watching all of this happen to me. Because of course that flight was delayed, delayed, and delayed, until finally it was so late, I wouldn't be able to pick up the rental car because the agency would be closed by the time I arrived.

Apparently, the gods decided to throw me a bone. AA cobbled together a late night flight to Tulsa for its many stranded passengers in Dallas. I got on at about midnight and was home by one-thirty.

There was a will, but just no way to Las Cruces.

So what have I learned, me the character in this latest drama? Always bring a really good book. Never lose your cool. And above all, make sure your cell phone is charged so you can get caught up on all of those calls you put off. All my friends now know what happened in Dallas. It's been dubbed the "MD 80 Affair." And then get out a pen and start using all that material...after you've slept of course!

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