The clock says 6:15 a.m. as I peek open my eyes from my side in a very comfortable bed. Wait, I’m supposed to be in economy class, with 15 students, nearing our final approach to London’s Heathrow Airport. Oh…….yeah. This is the Holiday Inn “Wet n’ Wilde” in Arlington, TX. To get you caught up. Our original American Airlines flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago was cancelled. Our rebooked flight needed a maintenance crew to fly in from Chicago because it had a “stall detector malfunction.” By consensus, we agreed we wanted a functioning stall detector. Scheduled for a 5:30 departure, we didn’t get off the ground until 7:45 p.m. On board was the pilot, co-pilot, one flight attendant, the 16 of us, and the two mechanics (it is comforting to know the mechanics who fixed the stall detector are on board with you). The crew, the mechanics, all had a great time with us. But it was pretty much a Calvin College flight through clear, cold night skies to Dallas. Congratulated on a very smooth landing, the pilot informed us “he had his eyes closed.” Then: no available gate, no crew to park the plane, a malfunctioning bridge…and our rebooked Dallas to London flight couldn’t wait any longer, departing the gate a short distance away within sight of us. One more flight yet to London…but it couldn’t accommodate us. So we’re in Arlington, TX, having purchased our dinner at midnight, local time, at the adjacent Ihop. We have vouchers for breakfast this morning. But all our checked luggage is locked somewhere in the airport, with promises we’ll be reunited with them in London tomorrow. Heading back to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in two vans around noon. We’re confirmed on the 6:20 pm. American Airlines flight #50 arriving in London around 9:15 a.m. Friday.
What an amazing group of students—upbeat, positive, having fun, absolutely making the best of it. Already I can tell you, if you ever get the opportunity to travel with a group of young adults like this, you’re in for a treat. Here’s really hoping the next blog entry is from London!
Photographs, L to R: A-Our Calvin College “charter flight,” B-completing “Departure Quiz” while awaiting flight. (Note: Click on photograph to enlarge.)