The Flights

January 26, 2017

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It was a rather…long…process getting here, but I have finally arrived, jet-lagged but still ready to have a good time! I haven’t written anything on this blog since before my first flight, so it might make sense to cover that entire duration.

My flight to Atlanta went off without a hitch. I got on the plane with a bunch of Goodyear employees who were apparently going to a conference in Orlando (I was super excited to tell Trish about this!). I don’t know––many of them were incredibly annoying and loud. However, the plane was loud too. Therefore, not a terrible plane ride. Music came in handy as did the coffee that the wonderful flight attendant handed to me. Atlanta was a bit chillier than expected, but it was still nice to stop in the city that I’ll be staying in this summer. I then grabbed a burrito from some Qdoba and boarded the plane for Paris.

Yeah, that didn’t last that long. Because I’m a moron who can’t watch a movie or listen to music on a plane like a normal human, I stared at the flight tracker screen for a good portion of the beginning of the ATL → CDG flight. Around 2 hours into the flight I noticed something strange. We had flown past NYC and were nearing Boston when the plane made a 180 degree turn…“huh, that’s weird,” I thought to myself. I figured the pilots knew what they were doing so I just let it happen. However, after we were almost halfway to JFK, I asked a flight attendant what was going on and she shrugged like that little UNICODE shrug guy ( this one → ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). So, she got on her little airplane phone and dialed up the pilot. I only heard one side of the conversation, but I like to imagine that the conversation went something like…

FA: “Erm, sir, we have a passenger wondering about the flight path. It appears we’ve turned around. Is this true?”
Pilot: “Uh, yeah, we have.”
FA: “Well, can you tell me why?”
Pilot: “I sure can!”
FA: “Well, go ahead then…”
Pilot: “Well, it seems that we, uh, have a problem.”
FA: “I figured that much! What’s wrong with the plane?”

At this point, all of the passengers start looking at the flight attendant and get really quiet.

FA: “Why don’t you just make an announcement, sir.”
Pilot: “Okee dokee, artichokey.”

About 10 seconds later everyone on the plane had their earbuds go quiet and the words “Announcement in progress…” appeared on their screens.

Pilot over loudspeaker: “indistinguishable mumbling on the loudspeaker

All of the passengers looked at each other in confusion and fear. I was practically on the edge of my seat ready to call the pilot on the phone myself.

The flight attendant called him back and urged him to make the announcement again, but in a clearer voice this time. He did. He said,

“Ah hem, excuse me passengers on Delta Flight 82. A hydraulic leak has caused us to divert our path and we will be landing at JFK in about 45 minutes.”

At this point, I'm sitting there thinking about my itinerary. I was already going to have a really short layover in Paris to try to catch my plane to Bremen, so I'm freaking out. I had to arrive before 10am so I could catch the bus to Jacobs. In that short 45 minutes, my brain went into hyper-mode trying to analyze all of my different options. Meanwhile, this pregnant lady sitting next to me––who couldn't have been older than 25 but had already had 2 children and this was her third––started crying! Only. Person. On. The. Flight. To. Cry. About. A. Simple. Hydraulic. Leak. Is. Sitting. Next. To. My. Emotionless. Ass. So, I start to feel bad about not feeling bad for her and try to comfort her with quick low-effort statements, such as "it'll be ok" and "I'm sure we'll be fine". Looking back, my comments probably only made things worse for her.

Anyway, we land in New York safely (see pregnant lady, I wasn't lying!) and all file off of the plane in a rather slow fashion. Typical. We head to our next terminal for our future plane to Paris and they have all sorts of food laid out for us to try to appease us all. As 250 people descend upon this gate, people are trying to leave the jetway and it begins a major cluster of confusion. People (not people from our flight) are taking our free-Delta-food all over the place. Lol.

Here you can see the food (to the left) and the upset people (e'rywhere).

So, we then wait another 2 hours for them to fuel the plane, clean the plane, get the catering aboard and transfer our luggage. At this point, there's no freaking way that I'm making my plane in Paris to Bremen. So, I have to ask the ladies at the helpdesk to get me new flights because my whole schedule was messed up. The lady that helped me was super nice, but there were some really super crappy people there. Eventually, I finish my new itinerary which had me arriving in Bremen at 5 which wasn't terrible, so I email Yuliya (the international advisor for Jacobs) and tell her I need someone to pick me up at 5 instead of 10, sort of hoping that this would happen without much more correspondence while I was on a plane for 8 hours. It did, which was super nice.

Quite a bit later we all board the plane and we're all grumpy as hell. The Delta people gave us all wraps, though, so that quenched our desire to pout a little bit. I hate sleeping on planes, so the next few hours were pretty miserable for me getting absolutely no sleep, waking up from food carts running over my feet because I have to put my feet in the aisle because my legs are too long to fit in the seats on airplanes, and having random idiots opening their windows when it was light outside but we were all supposed to be sleeping and adjusting to a new time. Gah.

Landing in CDG wasn't terrible. It was too far from Paris that I didn't get to see anything during my 4 hour layover (or whilst flying by), so I just kind of chilled in the airport and browsed Reddit. I woke up late the day I originally boarded the plane, so I didn't get to take a shower before the flight. Therefore, at this point I'm starting to smell myself. That wasn't fun. Even less fun was remembering that I didn't have toiletries... I couldn't brush my teeth. I couldn't just put some deodorant on to mask the smell. Naw, I had to marinate in my stench. In fact, I didn't have toothpaste/brush until about 2 hours ago, so I went that long without brushing my teeth and felt ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. Whatever.

At some point I started to get hungry and ate one of the candy bars my Nana gave me for the plane ride (shout out to Nana, you da real MVP!) and then decided to get some really overpriced Caesar wrap thing at the only restaurant in our secluded AirFrance terminal thing. That sucked. I sat down to eat it and hear some old German couple look up at the departure screen and start talking about which flight they were on... eventually I heard "fünfzehn vierundzwanzig"... THAT WAS MY FLIGHT. This was when I was first excited that I knew some German––I'm now pretty upset with how little I actually know!

Not too long later we board the flight. It was fun. It was a little plane and we got to enter from stairs out on the tarmac instead of via jetway. Very few people on the plane spoke English, but the flight attendant knew the words I was spitting out. This was my first re-encounter with the question "sparkling or still" when asking for water. Damn you Europe and your terrible taste in having sparkling water (needless to mention the fact that water costs money in Europe too!).

As we approached Bremen, I noticed that 10 minutes before landing the skies became incredibly overcast––I don't know how Northern Germans stay so upbeat with how crappy the weather is! We landed, I got off of the plane, and grabbed my luggage seamlessly. I'm so glad my luggage didn't get lost in the diversion tragedy the day prior. I then walked towards arrivals to meet my student advisor, ready to take on Bremen...