Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's a Long, Long Way to Tallahassee

  We planned this trip to Tallahassee about six weeks ago to see our son and daughter-in-law's new home.  We were surprised at the great flight connections from Lynchburg through Charlotte on USAir.  Leave Lynchburg at 2, arrive in Florida by 7.  Not bad.  We'd probably get there in time for a late dinner.

  The flight from Lynchburg was uneventful - it even left on time.  We arrived in Charlotte with a planned two hour layover.  We found our gate and then went and had some delicious fish and chips (note sarcasm) and returned to our gate.  We apprehensively watched the clouds roll in as the clock approached our boarding time. We boarded the plane quickly and the plane moved out on to the tarmac.   The plane stopped and we realized that the wind had picked up and was gently rocking the plane.  The pilot came on and announced: "We're going to pull over for a few minutes and let this weather blow through.  It's a small storm and we should be moving again in a few minutes."  Okay, not so bad.  Then the pilot came back on and said to conserve fuel they were going to shut down the engines.  Hmmm.   As the engines shut down we heard a loud "Clunk".  Funny sound for engines to make.  After a few minutes, some emergency vehicles approached our plane:

   The pilot then announced that a truck had struck our airplane!  They were going to have to take the plane back to the gate and assess the damage.  Swell.  He then came out of the cockpit, opened the plane door (isn't that illegal?) and looked towards the wing.  He retreated to the cockpit and announced "A truck has hit the wing and the damage is significant.  We will have to evacuate the plane since we can't move it."  Super fantastic.  The "small weather event" then turned into a full fledged rockin'-sockin' thunderstorm and they couldn't evacuate the plane for safety reasons.  The steward, a gregarious fellow, told us there was so much Rebar in the tarmac that lightning strikes on the tarmac are problematic.  Even better!!
   They finally let us off the plane:

  Here's what actually happened:  An unsecured luggage cart was blown down the tarmac by the wind and it struck our plane where the left wing attaches to the fuselage of the plane.  I need my second son, the statistician, to figure out the odds of that happening.

   They returned us to the terminal by bus, found another plane and we finally departed Charlotte at about 10 PM.  We arrived safely but exhausted, found our Springhill Suites and collapsed.  This morning we were telling the story at the breakfast area in the hotel and people came over, shaking their heads and asking "What did you say happened?"

    So there you have it, the story of The Rogue Luggage Cart.  Stay tuned for more adventures from Tallahassee

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