Cleared and Ready For Takeoff

This past weekend, I flew up to New Jersey instead of driving. The reason I flew was because a new discount, low fare airline hit the market this month called Independence Air. Their hub marketplace just happens to be Dulles/Washington International Airport and as part of a marketing/promotional deal, they offered AOL employees a free flight anywhere they fly during the month of June. And being that they fly to Newark, NJ, I figured I may as well give it a shot. It was free (except $18 in taxes).

Oh boy, what a trip this was. I flew up this past Thursday (6/17) and for those of you in the Northeast, you may recall that there was some nasty weather that evening, which in turn essentially delayed all airline flights on the East Coast. So to start, the 6:30PM flight was delayed until 8:30PM, which was a bummer but tolerable. So we all boarded the flight ahead of the 8:30PM departure time, we had the doors on the airplane closed, and then the flight crew got the call…the FAA grounded flights to Newark and Boston because of the weather. So here was a plane full of passengers stuck on the runway. And with this news, the flight attendent did the only reasonable thing he could do…he started to serve free beer (and wine). I have to give the guy credit, because in a very difficult situation, he kept everyone loose and in a great mood, cracking jokes on the PA system and just doing all he could to keep everyone happy. Somehow, he even had some of the passengers serving drinks. A classic scene was when one of the women helping him went from the last row of the plane to the front, and announced to the flight attendant in a firm and determined tone, “OK, give me two reds, a white (wine), a Heineken, and a cup of ice.” Just classic.

We eventually took off a little after 10:30PM and arrived in Newark around 11:30PM, making a 45 minute flight a painful 7 hour trip. Hardly a way to kick off a new airline, however the situation was out of their control and it should be noted that the flight back was smooth as silk.