First World problems . . .
Big excitement in small town Alaska . . . a United Airlines jet had to land in Kenai because of weather problems in Anchorage. Kenai does not see many large planes, but is a designated landing zone when there are problems in Anchorage. Our landing strip accommodates the BIG planes from Elmendorf on a sometimes daily basis as they practice touch and go landings. We also host large fish cargo planes every summer.
The excitement comes because some of the passengers contacted the Anchorage news station to tell them the pilot had left them on the tarmac for hours before they were allowed to deplane. THEN? The pilot left them at the airport and went to a hotel. They were not allowed to take their luggage off the plane. That is most likely because we do not have TSA at our little port so bags cannot be scanned.
I was recently in Juneau and my flight home was grounded for mechanical reasons. I was given a voucher for a night at a hotel near the airport. This only happened because the problem was mechanical – if it had been a weather related incident we all would have been on our own. Also, we would not have been able to stay in the airport overnight as that is not allowed. We would have had to find a hotel and pay for it on our own.
The folks here last night could have gotten rooms in one of four local hotels – one within walking distance and the other three a short taxi ride. It would have been on their nickel, unfortunately. Many/all decided to stay in the airport. Airport personnel went to Walmart and purchased blankets for them to use. They didn’t have to do that, but that is what small town Alaskans do.
This morning the restaurant onsite opened up and fed them all. This, we are told, was paid for by United, which was generous.
The plane left Kenai shortly after 2 p.m. I’m sure there were cheers both on take-off and on landing in Anchorage. Feelings and clothes might have been a bit rumpled, but folks were safe, the pilot was rested, the experience was behind them.
Life can be experienced in many ways. We can be joyous. We can be grumblers. We can “make our own fun,” as my motto says. I choose joy. I choose to make my own fun. I always pack extra underwear in my carry-on and a toothbrush. I also carry a credit card when I travel. I’ve never purchased flight insurance, but I may reconsider that the next time I fly.
Anything can happen. But we are such whiners. In the midst of all this – our first world problems – the family members of 200+ people are wondering if their loved ones have crashed somewhere or if they are being held prisoner by some lunatic somewhere . . . simply because they were on a plane – in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sort of puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?