Maybe I shouldn’t have regretted my Toronto homecoming so much. Circumstances are conspiring to make my wishes come through. First our flights changed (without any email confirmation) to redirect through Chicago instead of New York. Then we spent over 40 minutes on the tarmac at San Francisco waiting to take off. We initially had under half an hour from deplaning to boarding for our ORD-YYZ flight, but as “luck” would have it, our flight was delayed by half an hour (all adding to bed time back in Toronto before work tomorrow morning). We boarded the plane, sat down, then things got fun.
Our pilot got on the intercom. Apparently United airlines commanded all currently grounded flights to stay grounded and await further instructions. Our pilot said instructions would likely take at least another hour. Apparently it was only United wide, so if we wanted we could go and try book on another airline. He then suggested that anyone was welcome to leave the plane, but anyone who did would need to take their baggage, boarding pass and passport. A few people bee-lined it towards the door. I looked at my girlfriend who suggested getting actual food (rather than the delicious but ultimately empty crackers and cheese we’d eaten today). We grabbed our things and walked up the flight tunnel, only to be stopped at the entrance.
A cluster of passengers stood around as airport staff held the front. They said they hadn’t heard anything about us being allowed to leave and we were to stay put. Some Bro-y McBroseph behind me chimed in with some smart ass comment about the staff’s lack of knowledge. I turned to him and politely said “honestly, this is probably as weird for them as it is for us.” He replied “yeah, you’re right” and piped down for a solid ten seconds. He walked back down the hall and his booming voice could be heard proclaiming top notch bro science “it’s not like we’d stay sitting. They’ve done studies, sitting is literally the worst thing you can be doing. Office jobs are basically killing us.” Somebody get that dude a Brobel Prize. In any case, we were soon informed that the pilot had no idea what he was talking about, that we were to return to the plane right away. We stood on the flight bridge, waiting to hear word back. I noticed one of the first class passengers had already tumbled into a restful sleep. The flight bridge staff told us to hold tight, that really nobody knew anything for sure.
A minute later, they told us to hurry up and get on the plane, that they’d found a loophole to let us fly. We rapidly waddled back to our seats, bags in hand. The pilot came back on the intercom, stating that since we were an international flight, technically we didn’t have to stand by the grounding order. He and the co-pilot had manually programmed in a course for Toronto and we’d be ready to leave as soon as everyone’s bags were stowed and people had found their seats. Cheer abounded, the engines roared to life and the flight attendants performed the safety briefing. We were off…
… Except for one thing. That’s when I started writing this entry. We’ve been sitting on the tarmac for the past half hour just idling. I’m pretty sure we’re gonna die here in this aeroplane.
At least I won’t have to worry about the morning commute.