With all the recent aviation disasters happening in the world today, I admit to having a little anxiety when I travel by air. I try not to think about it, because, face it, apart from the thoughts that live in my head, air travel is probably one of the safest travels there is. But these feelings do creep up to me when I get on board on the plane and even the slightest mid-air turbulence would make my little heart race. I don’t like that uneasy feelings; I can only try my utmost to keep a cool head.
My recent travel was nothing disastrous but I encountered several inconveniences one after another before the plane took off. It started on the runway when the plane was about to take off. For some reason, it didn’t. Instead, the plane stalled and not long after, the captain woke me from my slumber and made the first announcement informing us that the was plane having some sort of “technical difficulties ” and that there would be a slight delay.
Now, I don’t like hearing the word “technical difficulties” while on board a plane that was about to take off; that was enough to set off a little anxiety. Oh! If only I had booked myself on the earlier flight! I heard me chiding myself. I then decided to distract myself by closing my eyes and went back to sleep.
It must have been a good hour of nap, and when I woke up, I realised that the plane was still on the ground. WTF! Why are we still here right in the middle of the runway? Then came another announcement, this time, telling us that they detected a “technical failure” and that they were trying to solve it. We were informed that they don’t know how long it would take. Technical FAILURE?! The word failure was enough to send my anxiety through the roof!
The captain explained further that the failure was of their on-board system, one which allows the flight to see other planes in the sky. At that moment, the system was not working and without it, they cannot fly. The plane had to be turned around to the docking area. To think that we were already on the runway and was about to fly off! How scary was that!
There was no way I was going to be able to fall back to sleep, so I distracted myself with my laptop to do some work, hoping that they would let us out of the plane or transfer us to a different flight. They didn’t. We were cooped up in the plane for the entire time while they tried to fix it. 2 hours later, the captain re-assured us that the plane was good to go.
Sure they had fixed it, but for me, it was unnerving. What if it malfunction again in mid-flight? Wouldn’t it be a better option if they transfer us to a different flight? I could only try to keep my anxiety under control, or they’ll probably arrest me for mental instability and hoping for the best that they know what they were doing. True to their words, the flight was a smooth one. We landed 1.5 hours later after a 3 hour delay. Big.Phew.
That was not the end. When we arrived at Bangkok airport, it was pretty much mayhem right after I cleared immigration. There was an apparent power outage, albeit a short 10 minutes; but enough to stall all elevators and escalators. If you are carrying heavy luggage, you can imagine the nightmare of having to haul the luggage from one end of the airport to the other. Which was exactly what I had to do. As I walked from one end to the other, there were ground staff re-directing people away from the transit-link rail and telling the crowd that train services had been suspended. Not that it mattered to me at that time.
That again was not the end. When I got to the regular taxi stand, there was not a single taxi in sight! Na-da! On any other normal days, there would be tons of taxi waiting, but just not that day. To make matters worse, queue were snaking and there were probably 200 people queuing up for one. Bloody nightmare!
A change of tactic in trying to get home was needed pronto! I did not join the queue – god knows how long that would have taken me. Instead, I walked back into the airport, climbed up the escalators which were still not working and tried to book me a limo-taxi; one tactic which I don’t do very often because it is more expensive. This time, I would gladly pay double the amount if it meant that I would get home faster. When I approached the counter though, I was told that I had to wait for at least an hour because all the taxis are stuck in a traffic jam and nothing was coming in.
Urgggh! Seriously?! I felt stranded.
With my heavy suitcase and other loose bags on my shoulders, I walked back and forth trying to get a transportation home. Trying to get Silver Bullet to pick me up was a useless idea as well because traffic to get to the airport from our home would be just as bad and lord know how long that would take him. I was close to making the decision of going to a nearby hotel to stay for the night because there were only so much I could deal with that evening. The only thing was, to do even that, I needed a taxi as it would still be too far to walk to the nearest hotel!
My patience was running thin. Really thin. With the last ounce of strength (and patience) that I had, I decided to lug myself and my stuff to the arrival area, given that taxis drop their passengers there. The only thing was, this tactic isn’t usually allowed and as a law abiding citizen that I always am, I tend not to do such things. Besides, the rotating gate only rotate one way, towards the airport and not out of the airport. It would be a challenge to get through, and if caught, chances are, they would re-direct me back to the arrival. But, this was an exception so I did what I don’t usually do. It was the ONLY thing I could do.
I got a taxi within seconds, right after navigating through the rotating door that went the opposite way. It took me another 1.5 hours to get home because of the heavy traffic. In the taxi, we didn’t move for at least half an hour. The only upside of the entire situation was that I was already IN a taxi and was on my way home. It could have been worse.
It was almost 10 p.m. when I arrived at my door-step. It had been a long flight for a journey that should have taken no more than 3 hours and for the fact that I could have been home 3 hours earlier. 3 hours I had purposely buffered for to not miss the kids’ bedtime.
What a day! What a journey! A classic case of when it rains, it pours…
Still, it was nice to wake up to kids who canon-balled themselves right on me in the morning when I was still asleep. They showered me with kisses, hugs and excited screeches when they saw me in bed, making it impossible for me to go back to sleep. I then became the object of my son’s affectionate cuddles and climbing post for the weekend. Not that I’m complaining.