Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)
TITLE: Last Flight Out
By Irene MacBain
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Arriving in Newark I was beginning to wilt. I had a fairly long time to wait for my last flight home. Looking at the departure screen to check the time of the flight and gate number, I realised that a huge number of flights to Texas, Chicago and similar areas were cancelled due to bad weather. Praising the Lord for having made it to Newark I crawled round looking at shops and stopping for coffee before going to the Gate in time to pre-board. I had just taken my medication before boarding the plane and was ready to sleep the next few hours away.
I was struggling to get my forty winks when just over an hour into the flight a call came over the tannoy,
“Is there a doctor on board?” The voice asked, “If so can you please make yourself known to one of the stewards or stewardesses as soon as possible.”
“Uh, oh!” I thought somehow knowing the night was not going to go to plan.
A few minutes later the voice came over the tannoy again asking for a doctor, then for a nurse. Thankfully there was only one request for a nurse and it wasn’t long before a stewardess and one of the passengers were moving quickly up towards the back of the plane.
“This is your Captain,” announced the tannoy a short while later. “Due to a medical emergency we need to land at Halifax Airport in Canada. We apologise for this diversion and will be as quick as we can.”
Little did we all know that it was to be a long night! First the passenger was taken to hospital, and then the paperwork needed to be done. Just as we were due to take off the ground crew saw one of the landing springs had broken on landing. This meant we couldn’t take off till it was fixed. We would have to wait for a plane to come from Newark with a replacement spring. In the meantime dinner was served and cleared up when the Captain spoke to us again. They couldn’t find a plane in Newark to send up to Halifax with a spring. Finally after being in Halifax Airport for several hours we had to deplane and go through Canadian Customs. Each of us was given a voucher for a hotel room and breakfast the next morning. I had requested wheelchair assistance so I waited as everyone deplaned. I was still waiting when the crew began to come off the plane. The Pilot, Co-Pilot and several stewardesses stood with me as each explained in turn what I was waiting for. Finally the Captain went up the gangway to find out what was happening about my wheelchair.
Ten minutes passed before the Captain returned to the plane with the chair. This caused no end of hilarity and photographs were taken to prove that the he had actually gone the extra mile for a passenger. I will always remember being wheeled up that gangway by the same man who had been flying the plane! I felt so privileged but also sad that I wouldn’t make it home in time to help with putting up the decorations.
Once in the hotel I had a sleep, a shower and breakfast and called home to update my friends there. We were to leave at two pm so everyone was at the gate by thirty minutes beforehand. As the crew walked up to the Gate all the passengers stood up and applauded them. In return the whole crew returned the applause to the passengers. The trials of the previous night had brought all of us – compete strangers – together in some way. For the rest of the flight passengers and crew alike enjoyed a feeling of unity and respect. More importantly I got home in plenty of time for Christmas!
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