- They closed the runways. Any lightning strike within a three-mile radius automatically closes the runways and all activity outside. Trucks pull in. Baggage handlers scatter. Silently I’m breathing a little easier since I’m inside on terra firma and not stuck in a plane trying to take off.
- The aircraft for our flight is circling in the sky above the storm waiting for the green light to land.
- The storm passes briefly allowing a few planes to take off and land. Our flight is not one of them.
- The storm picks up force and there are more lightning strikes, which closes the airport again. Our flight has been circling too long and is now forced to land in Norfolk, Va. Three other flights are also diverted because they had been circling too long.
- At 5:00 p.m. our flight still hasn’t left Norfolk, VA but the airport is open and the 5:55 flight to Boston is scheduled to be on-time. I put our names on the stand-by list figuring it’s a fat chance in hell, but at least it’s an option.
- At 5:15 the Southwest gate attendant announces for stand-by passengers to come see her at the desk. While I’m waiting to talk to her, she also announces that our Providence flight has left Norfolk, and should be arriving around 6:45 and they’ll get everyone on board and shipped off as quickly as possible. What to do? Take the Boston flight that is boarding now, or wait for another hour for the Providence flight and hope nothing else goes wrong?
- I took the one bird in my hand instead of the two in the bush, and yelled at the kids to gather their belongings; we were shipping out to Boston. Even if it meant that all our luggage would still end up in Providence. I needed to be home and free of this day.
- We board the plane; me sticking my children in a row together, while I sat across the isle from them by myself. It was actually a beautiful set up.
“Hello ladies and gentlemen. Our co-pilot just got here, and well… he noticed that one of the tires on the plane is flat. So it’ll be just a minute as we jack-up the plane and change that tire. Thanks for your patience folks.”