Yeah... to call my air travels today an adventure is an understatement!
I got to Frankfurt, was already feeling kind of blah with a headache, so you can guess I wasn't in the right mood to fly and have to deal with folks today. Had a great chat with my boy Evan though... thanks for taking me to the airport bro! I grabbed a Coke Zero and found a nice secluded spot to relax at my gate. It was like, Africa hot in the airport though, and kind of muggy. Weird for an airport.
For those of ya'll who have never flown in Europe, there are some things that you kind of always think will happen. It is fortunate that the main one has never happened to me... until today! I got seated next to Stinky McStinkerton. There are two types of Europeans, those who employ nasal terrorism (overload of perfume or cologne) and then there are the dirty bombers (those who don't wear smell good, or deodorant, or wash before they travel, but instead go run a marathon then get on the plane). I got the dirty bomber. Luckily there were seats between everyone on the flight to Vienna. Even still, I was assaulted by the body-funk. It's bad when even the Europeans were rubbing their noses cause something was smelling ripe! I literally watched the pain peel off the seat & could hear the fabric of the seat cry out in agony! It was ferocious... luckily it was the short leg.
I got to Vienna, 25 minutes early (a shortcut is what the pilot said, but I know better, it was optimum vectors) but I still had to get to my gate pretty quickly... no breakfast for Chris. I get to the gate and it is packed. Really? All these people are going to the po-dunk town I am going to? Yep, but at least everyone smelled okay.
I get seated and there is a little boy across the aisle who is already throwing a fit. So, it's going to be one of those flights, huh? We take off and immediately the boy starts throwing toys at his mother, hitting her in the face, kicking the seat of the poor gentleman in front of him, you name it. Every bad behavior you could think of a kid doing on a plane, he was doing it. The flight goes on like this, all hour and 55 minutes of it. As we begin our descent, the boy is sitting on the floor, still throwing toys at his mother, when the flight attendant comes to her and says he needs to get in his seat and put on his seat belt. For about 20 minutes the boy is screaming bloody murder. Everyone was cutting nasty looks at the little boy & his mom. After some turns in holding (basically the pilot had to turn circles in the sky till the 2 flight attendants, co-pilot, and his mother had to restrain the kid) they finally got him buckled as tightly as possible in the seat and we were able to continue our approach into the airport (a very poorly maintained airport at that). This is when the rodeo began!
Everyone was still frustrated with the little boy & I didn't have to understand the language they were speaking to get this message loud & clear! As we touched down, there was a loud bang and the sound of metal... oh goodness I thought. I'm about to orphan this poor child twice. The pilot keyed up and said, pretty calmly I might add, "Hold on." I grabbed the seat back in front of me and pushed my self backwards as hard as possible, preparing for the worst. The plane shuddered, the oxygen masks fell and we finally came to a stop. I could smell burning rubber really strong in the cabin. From my years of working in the tower, it was easy to realize that we had blown a tire. 40 minutes later, we were limping to parking on what is called a skate, a device that goes under a wheel to move a disabled aircraft. It took us another 20 minutes to get to parking due to the speed we were required to be towed at. When I got off the plane, I looked and sure enough, blown tire... in fact, both of the tired on the "driver's side" of the plane had blown. The rim was all chewed up and I could see guys out walking on the runway, throwing strips of rubber into the bed of truck. Horrifying, yes, blessed that I came through it okay, ABSOLUTELY! In 17 years of flying, I have never been involved in an emergency. Please, Lord, let this be my only one!
I got to the apartment, paid the driver, got the keys, emailed Maria, and went to Karavan to get some dinner. It wasn't the same without my bride with me... I miss my family. Tomorrow starts the paper chase. Hopefully it will go by quickly & I can get out of here & get our lives started with our new normal!
See ya'll tomorrow!