06 August 2009


We’re sitting in T.F. Green Airport in Providence.


Because our airplane is broken.

And why is our airplane broken?

Because we didn’t switch seats with a guy and his little daughter so they could be near a mom and her two little girls. They had all just met in the gate area before boarding and thought it would be great fun to sit together.

Bad karma…that’s what it is. We’re responsible for the broken plane. If we had only just switched seats.

But here’s the thing - The guy is really obnoxious in the way he asks us to move… Mainly because he doesn’t actually “ask” he just says, “You don’t mind switching with us so we can sit together. You can take our seats up in row 7.”

A window and a middle seat in a three-seat row - compared to the Aisle-window combo in a two-seat row that we would be giving up and he would be taking. And then there are the 30 people already lined up behind us. It’s going to be a major pain the ass for us to head back ten rows to take two seats that we don’t want.

“You don’t mind, right?”

Then the flight attendant comes over to us to give it a try. At least she asks nicely, “Would you folks mind moving so these unaccompanied kids can sit with – huh? Oh, what?” she realizes that she hasn’t quite got the situation correct and addresses Guy with Daughter and Woman with Two Girls, “Oh, you are their parents? Oh” she smiles uncertainly and continues to use, “Well, it seems like they’d like to sit together so, would you mind moving?”

We don’t look like we’re going for it so she continues, “They’re closer to the front of the plane…better seats…away from all these kids…I’ll be happy to give you a complimentary drink.”

We kinda DO mind and finally say, “I think we’re going to stay where we are.”

“Are you sure? Free drink…”

It’s nine o’clock in the morning. Even if Chris and I were drinkers…that's just a little early to be tippling.

We’re all set.

The flight attendant looks defeated, gives up and moves to the back of the plane.

Chris turns to me and says, sotto voce, “Great. Now we’re the really uncooperative people.”

Guy with Daughter finally finds two people to switch seats with him and his daughter so that they're now sitting right behind Mom with Two Girls.

The captain makes his announcement about when we’re going to take off.

And then nothing happens. For quite some time.

We doze fitfully.

Turns out after 45 minutes of nothing happening that the heat-tubey-thingamajiggy is busted and can be fixed, but that they have to get the part, get a mechanic, blah blah blah.

So we return to the gate where we are unloaded and here we still are.

Five hours later…

Bad karma.

Chris stands in line (along with everyone else from the flight who is missing connecting flights) to chat with the gate agent about what happens next in terms of a new connecting flight.

While in line, Chris hops on his trusty iPhone to contact Northwest to see about a new connecting flight. Why waste time standing in line if they can take care of this over the phone? He notices as he is standing there woman Woman with Two Girls from our flight. She is struggling to keep them in the gate seats and get herself in line. So Chris kindly offers to hold her a place in line.

Quite some time later after Chris has made our arrangements via the iPhone he sees some folks he knows getting on another flight and explains that he is just holding a place in a line for another passenger.

Woman with Two Girls, who has also apparently made arrangements via phone, comes over to Chris and says, “Have you been in line all this time just for me?”

“Well, yeah,” he says.

She looks a little sick, “Oh! That was SO nice, but you didn’t have to.”

“Hey, you’ve got your two kids and we’re not going anywhere fast so it’s really not a problem.”

Turns out that she no longer needs the spot in line, gives her profuse thanks again and gathers up her children to track down the boarding passes she'll need for the US West flight on which she and the girls have been re-booked.

Karma restored…

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