A Bad Trip..
A Bad trip….
My latest trip was by far not one of my favorites. From beginning to end I felt like I was jumping over hurdles and moving around obstacles just to get through it.
When I received my first phone call regarding this trip, I heard a few favorable words like – “New York” and ” catering is taken care of, you just have to show up”! So I thought to myself- ” nice, a cake trip to my favorite place”.. Too good to be true? Of course.
Hour one starts like this; i was called the morning of my trip with the information that I will be flying out of a different airport, with pilots I have never met, a plane i have never been on, and 3 hours earlier show time than planned. Quickly pack, shower, bring Chloe to doggie care, etc etc and drive to the airport. I arrive at my plane and random people are on it,keeping me from my prep duties almost until my pax show up. Which irritates me to no end and seta me in a bad mood that I know I must get myself out of ASAP! Oh, did I mention my pilots look like they are 12..?
The flight itself goes ok, despite the fact that the catering forgot my order of 6 bottles of wine…. and as luck would have it, the only beverage my pax asked for .. Was WINE! Fortunately they were nice people, and easily forgave me for not having the wine they ordered.
We arrive in NY around midnight, And I was all set to go to my nice hotel, take a bath, relax…Yet, the universe has another plan.. (By the way, did anyone read my last blog where I go on and on about nice hotels, and important it is for me to have certain hotel criteria met?). I am formally making an add on to that blog by saying that i have now stayed in the worst hotel of my career. Apparently, there was a change of plan due to lack of rooms available, and our reservations had been changed. We were now going to.. New jerseys version of the Bates Hotel. And i dont want to mention the name in fear q I will be sued for slander… Let’s just say sleeping under a bridge in central park may have been a better choice, or at least comparable. It had 3 floors, of which I was on the first with a lovely window facing the parking lot.. I was sure my bed was older than I am, and my bathroom didn’t even have soap! Let Alone the lush lotions and toiletries I have grown accustomed to. The silver lining was that I was only there for one night.. And I was so tired that I knew I would be asleep before I could spend more time dwelling on the bates moteI was in..
The next day, I got up, showered in my soapless bathroom, dressed, and got out of the hotel as fast as possible. after a few hours of running preflight errands, I arrived at my FBO to start my new work day. I carefully checked through my catering to make sure everything was present( hoping to not repeat the wine fiasco from the night before.)This was a major client group coming onboard, the kind that actually give me a bit of anxiety for the first 30 minutes or so. I needed everything to be perfect…
I had arrived before my 12 yr old pilots ( who were probably out late partying or what ever it is young kids do these days ).
It was pouring rain out and humid as hell, which does not make for a good hair day and first impressions…More,important though, it meant a departure delay was a sure bet. Now, unlike the big airports with commercial airliners,the delays are not as long. but still, to millionaires, who do not comprehend that private aviation is not exempt from weather delays, it is always a bad way to start the day.
The pax eventually arrive by limo caravans, and are escorted up the steps of the plane by people holding umbrellas for them..( which really is a funny sight to see.).
On the taxi out to the runway, I can see the long line of jets ahead of us tail to tail ( see picture below! ). Typically air traffic alots 2 to 3 min between each take off,so 10 planes can be about a 30 min delay..which is what we had..
Once we finally take off, this is where the real fun began…if Heavy turbulence and low visibility wasn’t bad enough, a red warning light comes on it the cockpit. this particular light is probably considered one of the top 3 most dangerous warning lights to come on..and my 12 yr old pilots are now freaking out… Opening there manuals, and scanning for Trouble shooting ideas,w they try and figure out what to do. At this point iam a little nervous…these guys apparently have no idea what to do, and are scared shitless. The co- pilot grabs the phone, hands shaking, and calls ground maintenance for assistance. Utilizing the wifi onboard, I email a pilot friend and ask his opinion. I can tell by his reaction and response that we are dealing with a serious problem. Apparently, the only way to solve this issue, if the light does not go off, is to shut down engines in flight…no shit.
My pilots make the decision to return back to the airport we took off from..All the while, I am sitting in the cockpit biting my nails and trying to gather some inner calmness that will help me tell the pax we are returning to NY.. In case you are wondering, Then pilots have the lovely responsibility of informing the pax, and all I would do is prepare for an emergency.
In this situation, by the real grace of God, the air starts to smooth out, and the scary red light goes off….something to do with the moisture and altitude, it was a false alarm…So I quietly thank God for this, and begin my cabin service as if nothing ever happened..
a few hours later, we arrive at our destination, and I have 2 hours to clean a plane, grab a car service to the main airport downtown, and catch a Delta flight back to LA..
5 hours later, I am in LA,and it’s midnight. At baggage claim, I see my driver holding up a sign that has my name on it.. Small perk of my job at times like this, is to have a car and driver at my disposal. But, of course, to finalize my day and trip from hell, i end up with a driver that for an hour and a half, complains about his life and lack of happiness..
Does he not know how unprofessional and wrong it is to make me listen to this? So, being the humanitarian I am, I engage in this conversation and tip him an extra 40 bucks because I feel so bad.
He takes me to pick up my little fur child from her nanny, and drives me home… Where at 2 am, I climb into bed , physically and mentally exhausted…..