Adventures in Planes and Golf Carts – Traveling to Mumbai

Ah, the internet.  What a wonderful invention.  And how wonderful that I have access to it so soon in the trip!

So here is a photo of pre-leaving Illinois:  all that stuff had to go into three bags.  Note: GTP mascot Maxx trying to look inconspicuous amongst the packing things…

129_1498  129_1499  129_1500

And all that stuff did fit into those three bags:


Both of our flights were delayed.  In Chicago, we left the gate 40 minutes late because of weather systems on the east coast.  We originally had 50 minutes to make our connecting flight.  Do the math – we were left with less than 10 minutes to make a 20 minute trek across Newark’s airport.  Thankfully, United Airlines recognized this and had one of those golf cart-like escort thingees waiting for connecting passengers.  Unfortunately, that cart filled up…and left  Sajji and I at the gate waiting doubtfully for another golf cart escort.  Well, the cart escort arrived lacking the one thing we really needed at that point as minutes melted away from us like snowflakes on a hot skillet: urgency.  The driver of the escort seemed not to want to take us — delaying us further by actually asking other passengers in the area if they needed help getting to baggage claim – not on the way to our gate, which, at this point, was holding the plane for us.  So after getting some verbal direction from me, the driver finally takes off for the waiting plane.  Now, it gets funny.   The cart’s horn is broken.  Not to worry: our otherwise unconcerned driver is resourceful and takes to — <wait for it> — quietly verbally cheeping at people.  With a cacophony of whispered ‘beep-beep’s that have no effect, we slowly weave in and out of startled people to make our way to…another gate to pick up traveler who is needing to get to yet another totally separate gate. We stop at various points in our journey: for the driver to retrieve a pen he has dropped; for the driver to scold other people on a passing cart; to deliver Passenger X to his gate.  Finally, Gate C138 looms before us, and Sajji and I cross the deserted gate area to board.  The plane and everyone on it have been waiting at this point for 30 minutes.  We scurry down the gangway into the unwelcoming glances of annoyed flight attendants and even more annoyed passengers.  Thank heavens we know self defense…

Once on the plane, and it quickly becomes clear: someone has oversold my seat.  More waiting for the flight attendants to sort things out.  A seat is found for me.  Room for my carry-on is found.  I take my seat, buckle my seat belt, and…nothing.  The same system that delayed our flight arriving from Chicago has backed up everything at this point, and is keeping everything on the ground.  An hour and a half later, we pull from the gate and the pilot cheerfully informs the angry mob, uh, I mean, passengers that we are 20th in line for departure.  Can he get a ‘woo-and-hoo’?  The plane stutters for another 30 minutes, inching ever forward into inky black night.  And then Flight 48 with service from Newark to Mumbai is first in line.  I hardly notice as the jet accelerates and dips off the end of the runway to catapult into the skies.   The first few minutes of the 16 hour flight have begun, and our adventure awaits.

Post a Comment