Tag Archives: airplane

Farewell to Another Year

I snapped this in my backyard after a jet zoomed by. Note the prism!

I snapped this in my backyard after a jet zoomed by. Note the prism effect!

Happy trails to 2013! Stay safe!!

The Jinx Family Flies Again

Only we would be on a plane that needs to park on the runway.

Would someone please remove that “kick us, airplanes” sign from our backs? Our family really is tired of encountering problems every time we travel . . . which isn’t very often.

As my #2 son succinctly put it: “We suck on airplanes.”

Yep, sadly we do.

My #1 son texts on his iPhone 4 to pass the time.

Check out these previous posts for evidence of our past plane problems here, here, and here.

I wonder if the other passengers would have been trying to book other flights if only they had known about our reputation. As in, oh, oh, here comes the Jinx family.

My #2 son wishes we were back in Houston.

For awhile, I thought we actually were going to have a trip that was almost flawless when it came to air travel. Sure, the Mister and our #2 son were delayed about an hour leaving Houston for Columbus, Ohio, because the plane was waiting for passengers and then their luggage. But leaving from Columbus to return to Houston seemed easy-peasy. Almost too easy.

As we were on the small Continental Express jet, I watched the flight attendant give her safety spiel. I remember thinking, “Could we finally have a flight where nothing goes wrong?”

We started to taxi on the runway and prepared for takeoff. I settled back in my seat, anxious for the moment when I could turn back on my iPad, when the captain spoke to us.

“An alarm has gone off in the cockpit. We’re going to pull off to the side of the runway and check it out.”

Oh, oh! Not something someone who hates to fly likes to hear.

Long story short, we went back to the terminal, deplaned, and walked back inside. With express jets, passengers board outside up a flight of steps. We had to go back down those steps, grab our carry-on bags, go up the stairs, and sit and wait for another hour until a new plane could be brought in. And then we had to ride that same travel merry-go-round one more time.

This was much better than our six-hour delay in Kansas City last summer. But it just figured that the Jinx clan would get kicked one more time.

Next time we fly, I’m checking to make sure nothing’s been taped to our backs!

Up in the clouds . . . I think

My #1 son blocks my view of the great outdoors.

As I’ve posted before, I’m a huge cloud fan. I never can get enough of photographing the fluffy stuff, either snapping away on the ground or in the air.

Usually when we fly, I make sure I have the window seat so I can take photos. However, this time I was with my #1 son on our way to Ohio to meet his dad and brother, and I put his comfort ahead of my photographic needs. So, of course, he totally blocked my view, both with his head and by keeping the shade closed. Saddened me greatly.

The moon is visible.

But on the way back to Houston, I made sure that I got a window seat (my three guys all sat in single seats). With my Nikon D300 and Nikon 24-120mm lens at the ready, I intermittently snapped away while reading an iBook. At first, the skies were clear.

A double cloud layer

But before long the clouds started to roll in.

Patchy clouds

There’s just nothing like looking out the window and feeling like you’re in another world.

Fluffy clouds

Fluffy clouds are all you can see for miles and miles. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts without a care in the world.

Terra firma appears once again!

Fortunately, just when you’ve entered an alternate universe and begin to forget your identity, the clouds part, and Texas appears below.

That means that before long we’ll be on the ground and soon headed to our house . . . back to our rain-soaked yard and several loads of laundry. It’s just life’s way of hitting you with that reality 2 by 4 and saying, “Welcome home!”

Skedaddle to Seattle . . . Very Slowly

The *!@#* garment bag

The *!@#* garment bag

This is a sad tale of what happens when several dumb decisions plus poor timing multiplied by awful luck equal missing a flight to Seattle.

And it all centers around a garment bag.

Last Thursday we were supposed to be on the 8:55 a.m. flight from Houston’s Intercontinental Airport to Seattle. The main purpose of the four-day trip? My beloved #1 niece’s wedding. Oh, we made it to Seattle, but we had to wait until 2:20 p.m. to board the plane. Then again, who wouldn’t want to spend their first Pacific Northwest vacation in the airport for five and a half hours?!? The excitement, the thrills, the drama!

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The bottom line is that when you’re a little bit late getting out of the house and into the car, as we were by five or 10 minutes, every extra minute of delay seems to increase exponentially. There’s bound to be more traffic. And the shuttle bus driver is bound to pick up two more slow passengers. And then you’re going to make a fatal mistake: You’re not going to see curbside check-in when the line inside to check bags is really long.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The basic problem for us was that we rarely fly anywhere. That’s because we rarely go anywhere. But when we do fly, we carry everything on. Each of us has a wheeled carry-on case (love those wheels!) and a backpack. But because we were going to the wedding, we had to have our grown-up clothes with us. You know, fancy duds. Yep, I even had a dress! There’s no stuffing that kind of garb in a carry-on. Hence the too-big, too-heavy garment bag that needed to be checked.

The Mister reads.

The Mister reads.

Suffice it to say, by the time we got the garment bag to check-in, we had less than 30 minutes before our flight was to take off. Did you know that you can’t check in a bag for a flight that has less than 30 minutes before taking off? I didn’t before, but I sure know that now! Very stressful!! The check-in gal suggested that the guys make the 8:55 a.m. flight, while the garment bag and the old bag travel on the next one at 12:30 p.m. I gave the guys their boarding passes and told them to make like Usain Bolt and speed to gate 39. Which, of course, was the furthest one from the security checkpoint.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

I went back and leisurely finished checking in the garment bag and then went through security. Of course, by this time, which was almost 9 a.m., there were hardly any people around. Figures. My one thought was that as long as I don’t get a phone call from the Mister, all was well, and they’re on their way to Seattle.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

“When a Man Loves a Woman” started playing from my iPhone at 8:55 a.m. Oh, oh . . . that’s the Mister’s ring tone. Not a good sign. Sigh! They missed the flight. We didn’t realize that the gate had been changed from 39 to 31; by the time they got there, the doors were closed to them. And the Mister was very tired and winded. And, of course, unhappy.

Yay, we made it!

Yay, we made it!

So I gave up my 12:30 p.m. seat, and we were confirmed on the 2:20 p.m. plane. Which meant lots of time together in the airport. The highlight was probably seeing the Houston Dynamo soccer team’s players, who eventually were on our flight. I don’t think the Mister and I were ever so happy to get on a plane! And then to finally land in Seattle, where the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than in Houston. I loved that part the best!

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

That night we attended the Seattle Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field with our relatives and my niece Becky’s friends. The Mariners were playing the Texas Rangers.

Sidebar: Even though we live in Texas, we are not Rangers fans; we are Houston Astros fans! We prefer the National League. I’m originally from Chicago, and I’m a lifelong Cubs follower. I will never like the White Sox. Hope I’ve made that clear!

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

Of course, I had my Nikon D300 with me with the Nikon 105mm lens. We were in the upper deck near home plate, and I was able to get a few good photos from that vantage point.

The Rangers score their only run.

The Rangers score their only run.

It was great relaxing with my mom, her two sisters, and my oldest sister Fran (Becky’s mom). The Mariners managed to win the game 3-1, the boys got to see a major league baseball game in a park in a different state, and I was beginning to shed the airport-saga stress.

And the irony of the whole flight-missing tale? The garment bag made it to Seattle before we did! It was on the 12:30 p.m. plane and was waiting for us in the airport. Hope it had a good time!