Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day - 1 Spring Break Adventures

Life is full of unexpected "surprises" to say the least. Yesterday for me was chocked full of great and not so great moments. Whenever you are traveling on "stand by" you pretty much subject yourself to being flexible and flying (literally) by the seat of your pants. Well here's what happened....

I head out to Salina, KS to catch the flight out to Denver, CO yesterday morning. I was making good time, as I arrived an hour early in Salina. I had plenty of time to catch some lunch at Bogey's, a hamburger joint recommended by Shaun Michael's. It was good. With full a stomach I head out to the Salina Municipal Airport and get checked in. The staff there tells me its a full plane, (nineteen passengers is full) but my party was included in that number so it should not be a problem. This status is officially called a "non-revenue" passenger, I am using our family ties to get a cheaper fare on Great Lakes Airlines. I am calmed by the assurance that we will have an uninterrupted flight to the goal, which is to see Lindsay ( my daughter) and Billy (my son-in-law) in Denver 2.5 hours later.

One thing is that non-revenue person is the first to get bumped if the plane gets really full. We board and the door is shut. YES!!! We are go for launch! After one stop in Dodge City, Kansas I am well on my way to reunion time with family. The flight is fine, we land in to pick up more passengers in Dodge City, and the tiny plane is filling fast. I am feeling really nervous. The next thing I know......the airport manager gets on the plane and announces, "Keiths? Please come with me." We're doomed! We are forced to leave the plan and catch the next one out. Unfortunately, the next flight out is not until 6:35 pm. That leaves me to hang out at the Dodge City Municipal Airport for 4.5 hours!! Are you kidding me??!!???

So to save you all the of the mid-western prairie details and minute by minute play back I will just tell the highlights.

Hertz Rent a Car had two pick ups yesterday afternoon.
The manager of the airport left us to ourselves after an hour. Next staff on duty reports 2 hours later
Obviously there are a lot of thirsty costumers come through the DC airport, there were no cups to be had for their complimentary day old coffee, hot chocolate and water
Pizza Hut delivers to the airport for only $2.00
The FAA official has a fetish for gumballs.
Thank goodness for the free wi-fi. It was a life saver.
The Sheriff offered to take me into town. I didn't know he was a Sheriff, I was looking for Festus (Gunsomke reference).
I kind of felt safe with the TSA officials there. After all they were all of nineteen and they take their job very seriously.
Oprah is finally on Facebook!

After, 4.5 hours we are finally boarding the next flight out to Denver but not before we pass through the security checkpoint once again. Like I said, the TSA at the Dodge City airport take their job SERIOUSLY. You never know when a terrorist will be spotted. I put my stuff, belongings, coat and shoes into their appropriate containers and it all passes through their sophisticated x-ray machine. I even get the "pat down" from the female attendant. (Now she knows that I have the hidden spare tire I try to cover up). The "younger" attendant had my House FM slingpack set aside to inspection later. After all the 8 passengers were passed through security, he called me aside and says, "please come over here, watch me inspect your bag. Please don't try to grab anything in the bag but just watch me as i go through it." He inspects it and finds an OH SO DANGEROUS!!! ......apple. I guess he thought it was some kind of bomb or some explosive device. I think he was a little apprehensive. Nope, just an apple. It's "food for immediate consumption" and you can take that on the plane.

We board, we fly, we connect with Lindsay and Billy and I am worn out that it took us 12 hours to make a 2.5 hour flight. I realize we could have drove it in 9 hours.

Thanks for flying Great Lakes Airlines! Stay tuned!
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