Thursday, May 17, 2007

Welcome Home!

Last night I went to the airport to pick up Lois. The plan was simple. Lois went to Ohio last week to spend mothers day with her mother and younger sister. She was set to return from Dayton to Chicago to Winnipeg, arriving about 10 pm.

Kyle and I drove in from Steinbach, arriving just before 10. The board showed that her flight was delayed (en retard) until midnight. I am grateful to Kyle for accompanying me. We spent the next hour and a half cruising around Winnipeg: Grant park to Corydon to Osborne Village (sort of a miniature Greenwich Village, I'm told), on to Broadway, Portage, and north to Red River College, and finally back to the airport.

The board was unchanged, and at midnight around 100 passengers emerged noisily to the waiting crowd. Passengers from international flights come in to the lower level at the Winnipeg airport, go through Immigration and Customs, then pass through opaque doors to those waiting for them. The trouble was that no one from this noisy crowd was from Chicago. They had arrived from Minneapolis. The flight from Chicago was still "en retard", with no clear idea of when it would arrive.

We learned later that Lois boarded her flight on schedule in Dayton, then sat in the aircraft on the runway for about three hours because of stormy weather in Chicago. The controllers refused to let the plane take off when they knew it could not land in Chicago; so they waited. And waited some more. About the time Kyle and I first checked the board in Winnipeg (10pm), Lois was landing in Chicago.

An hour later she was on her way to Winnipeg, while we waited in the terminal. Kyle was cheerful, enjoying the random responses of the few others who were still waiting for the Chicago flight. I was less calm, walking up to the observation deck and back to burn off the energy that comes from frustration and annoyance. I talked with another man waiting for one of the passengers, and we agreed that we were needed to hold up the central pillar of the waiting area. So we leaned against it. Then I talked with another woman who turned out to come from near Johannesburg. Her husband is (if I remember the story right) planning to bringing the King Pie franchise from South Africa to Winnipeg. So perhaps I can get some good meat pies now in Winnipeg!

The board gave no new information, and no one from the airlines or airport was left around to give information. There were security personnel, and two of them did some checking for us, finally telling us that the flight had now landed. But no one came out: another delay, waiting for baggage. Then everyone else came through the automatic opaque doors, but no Lois.

As people went through the doors, we could see others waiting at the baggage carousel. Lois and I saw each other, and she gave a gesture of helplessness, waiting for bags that never came. Finally at about 1:30 am she too emerged, baggage-less, but with a form that promised she would get her bags the next day, sent out by bus to Steinbach. So today she has to go to the bus terminal and pick up her luggage. We hope it's there.

We got home about 3, and to bed and sleep around 4 am. A late night, and today has enough to do. But she arrived safely, and I am grateful. And the visit with mother and Janet was good, and I am grateful. Waiting isn't so bad, even if I do dislike it. At least, when we're together again, the waiting doesn't seem as bad. For the longer separation .... We'll cross that bridge when we come to the river.


KGMom said...

I don't know who merits more sympathy--you or Lois. Kyle seems to have fared well.
You were all experiencing a GRRRRR moment. Flying is no longer enjoyable, as it might have once been.
But, as you note, you are grateful for a safe return, a good time. If only there were some way. . .
Actually, Carlin goes on line and checks on flight status before he leaves for the airport. On my most recent trip, he sent me text messages to update me on MY flight status!

Climenheise said...

Not going online was my fault. I know to do that and have done it before. Text messaging? Kyle keeps talking about getting a cell phone for TMS, which he is used to doing from Zimbabwe. But Lois and I (and so far I think also Vaughn and Nevin) have resisted as part of a desire to remained occasionally disconnected! Airport pickup is one time that I would like to have a cell phone: one of the only times. The rest of the time a latent Luddite strain shows itself.

More sympathy? Well, Lois sat in the plane for three hours in Dayton and she ran from one end of O'Hare to the other: she ges my vote! I just drove around Winnipeg and fumed in the airport. And got lots of exercise walking up to the observation deck and back. My thighs were sore the next day!

Denise said...

I am not a fan of flying. I guess it sometimes a necessary evil. :) I'm glad Lois was able to spend some time with her Mom and Janet. That is wonderful. Glad she made it home okay, even with all the negatives. I can't imagine sitting in a plane for 3 hours. I would have gone buggy - I do believe patience would be in order. Mental note - take a good book just in case.

Climenheise said...

Lois was reading Chuck Colson's "Born Again", and said that reading was the one thing that made it bearable. She said also that some passengers disembarked to try again later. She decided to do the same, but made her decision too late and had to stay on. Fortunately for me. Otherwise I would not have seen her until the next day!