Saturday, August 15, 2009

Noramlyed, un-Noramlyed and then...guess.

My flight was Charlottesville to Dulles Airport (Washington DC), then Newark (NY - well New Jersey actually), then Stockholm and home.

The first flight was fine. Arrived in Dulles early. Found gate, plugged in and did some writing. Then comes announcement: delay because of weather over Newark. Doubt over what time would be taking off. Start worrying. Departure time keeps on changing. I have a three and a half hour layover in Newark, and it starts being eaten up... I know that when I get to Newark, I have to change terminals, get a boarding pass for my Malaysian Airlines flight and pass through security. No joke.

At 6.30 (when I should have been landing in Newark), there's an announcement - change in Gate number. Get over there quick, and the plane will leave as soon as you do. So we all rush off. When we get there, someone tells us the plane is not there yet. Then a pilot comes rushing past, glances at the gate info and does a double take. 'Whoa," he says, "that's my flight. How come it's here?" He was on his way to the gate we had just left.

Right. Anyway, he gets that sorted out, and yes, we are supposed to be leaving from this gate. We also hear that yes, there had been bad weather in Newark, but the plane had been taken for some kind of repair anyway...

We hang around for a bit longer. Finally plane arrives and we get to board. Then we don't move. Seems there's something wrong with the onboard computer. "Not to worry," says captain, "happens all the time. We have to get the technician to come and reboot the cockpit."

Oops. We passengers start laughing. Nothing else to do. It is now way after 7.30.

Technician arrives, fiddles around, lights go on on the cockpit console (hey this is a small plane, ok?). Technician gets off, we start taxiing, wondering all the time what can go wrong next.

After a strangely long time wandering all over Dulles airport taxi runways, we finally stop. "Sorry," says pilot. "We were directed to another runway. Now we have to wait." (I assume because we had lost our slot in the take off line.) We sit, and sit and sit.

Plane finally gets into the air at 8.15. We almost applaud. Great anvil black clouds on our left as we fly on into Newark. Land at 8.55. Off plane and in terminal at 9.05. No signs telling me how to get to the terminal I need. Ask questions.

Start running. Finally find airtrain to right terminal. Then rush to check-in counters. MAS counter not there. It's 2 floors down on the arrivals floor. Rush down. Counters still open. Wow. Thanks MAS. Have to wait for another person to be attended to - same problem, her flight also delayed because of weather. (Find out later that she lives just a few streets away from me in Malaysia, in the neighbouring sub-division.) I am dishevelled, perspiring, panting.

Girl behind counter deals with me, records my luggage details (it had been booked, in Charlottesville, straight through to K.L.), hands me the boarding pass. Offhandedly she says, "We have upgraded you to business."

I almost jump over the counter to hug her. But no time. Rush off to find gate. Have to pass through security. Take shoes off. Take out plastic bag of liquids. Take out computer. Put it all back again. Find gate.

And I am finally on the plane, sinking into the lap of luxury, fabulous service, good food, excellent wine, personal entertainment, a chair that becomes a bed. Meals are a dream. The cutlery is metal, not plastic that wouldn't cut icecream. And it tastes delicious. The coffee tastes like coffee should. There is even a buttonhole embroidered into the spotless white napkin, for gossake. Oh, wow, if only plane travel was all like this. MAS business class: I love you. Just tell me what I have to do to get upgraded again.

I am in Kuala Lumpur, on time, well-fed and rested.

Was that the end of the story? Of course not. I am a member of the Noramly family, don't forget.

My luggage is still in New Jersey.

.

9 comments:

Satima Flavell said...

Upgraded to BC! (My dream!) Oh joy - that makes it worthwhile being Noramlyed! I hope it was a really enjoyable journey!

Deb said...

Glad you got to relax in business class. I'm exhausted just reading about your journey!

karenmiller said...

Glad you're home safe and sound. Business is indeed da bomb! Hope your luggage follows soon.

Tropical Dragon said...

I'm cursing that I didn't pay for the upgrade from Heathrow to Chicago - if it ever happens again I will take it. It might have included all the way to Philly, but I doubt it!

But lucky you, being upgraded like that - awesome.

Btw, they are now looking at promoting the fact that over 50% of Australian birds are in the top half, specifically the tropics - good excuse for you to come to Cairns (and yes, that is a hint/plead/beg)

Jo said...

One thing about all that rushing around, I have to have wheel chair service these days, so Matt would be the exhausted one. I would have hated it even when I could walk all those distances. So glad you got upgraded, gave you a chance to relax and enjoy yourself. Who the hell worries about luggage!!!!!!

Imagine me said...

At least you're home safe. I was upgraded to business class once - total bliss.
Like Jo I have to have wheelchair assistance too these days - I'm fine for short distances but not otherwise. I usually travel alone and you're helped every step of the way straight through flights but I wonder what happens if you have all these complicated connections? Scary.

Jo said...

I'm the same, Imagine Me, short distance only. As for what can happen when you have to change planes, a friend's mother was flying back to Roumania, from Canada, with a broken leg. She, and several others, got parked in Heath Row, London, for 12 hours and were forgotten about. Don't know about the others, but the mother couldn't speak English. Not funny. Luckily I have hubby around and as I said, I can walk a short distance so I can get assistance.

glenda larke said...

My sister-in-law broke her ankle in South Africa, while on tour with a group of friends. On the way back, she, plus a friend to attend to her, were upgraded. Her friends were fighting over who got to be her aide!

Folks, it is hard to beat MAS's treatment of their passengers.

I can't even say that the fact that my luggage is in New Jersey is their fault!

Anonymous said...

Glad you made it back. Matthew and I were upgraded for no apparent reason from New York to LA to premium economy. God we loved it. Made sitting in cattle class LA to Brisbane a tad sad though but we had the memory of real coffee and cutlery. Hugs to you and sorry I missed you. I guess I should be more organised and read your blog more. Donna