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The MD 80 Affair

I've never had a strong opinion about flying, one way or the other. As a kid, I loved to fly. I loved the novelty of it. As an adult, I'm grateful I don't have to drive to all of the school visits I do each year from coast to coast. But when I walk into the airport, I always send up a prayer to the gods of flight that I make it where I'm going more or less on time and in one piece.

Yesterday, American Airlines had the ear of the aeronautical gods. I was supposed to be on a flight to El Paso to speak at the New Mexico Library Association Conference in Las Cruces today. And I was speaking on my upcoming middle grade novel. I was totally psyched.

And then I watched the news. Hundreds of flights grounded. What about mine?

You guessed it, grounded too. A very patient customer sales person put me on a flight to Albuquerque, where I could get a one way rental car and drive the three hours to Las Cruces. Okay, I thought, I can do this.

Until I got to Dallas. Those pesky little flight gods hadn't held the magical wand over my head while I was flying. My connecting flight to Albuquerque had been canceled while I was en route.

Again, a reshuffle, a new flight. Hours in the airport. I have to say, I'm not the most patient traveler when it comes to waiting for a flight, but this time, it was almost like I was sitting back and watching all of this happen to me. Because of course that flight was delayed, delayed, and delayed, until finally it was so late, I wouldn't be able to pick up the rental car because the agency would be closed by the time I arrived. There was a will, but just no way to Las Cruces.

Apparently, the gods weren’t feeling entirely merciless as I pondered where to sleep in the Dallas airport – floor, chair, across two chairs. Just as I was getting comfy, AA cobbled together a late night flight to Tulsa for its many stranded passengers in Dallas. I got on at about midnight. By one-thirty in the morning, I was right back where I’d started, in Tulsa, tired but wiser (or so I told myself).

So what have I learned, me, author turned character in this latest (melo)drama? Always bring a really good book. Never lose your cool. And above all, make sure your cell phone is charged so you can get caught up on all of those calls you put off. All my friends now know what happened in Dallas. It's been dubbed the "MD 80 Affair." And then get out a pen and start using all that material...after you've slept of course! Which is where I'm headed...

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Hey, Sweetie

I hope your travel to California toward the end of the month will be a lot smoother. I don't know about you, but I've wanted to cry like a five year-old when my flight get canceled at 11PM and I am only 3 hours from home. The only reason I don't throw a fit is because I don't want to die in a jail cell like that poor, poor woman on her way to rehab. And count yourself lucky you weren't stuck in Las Vega with all the blinking lights on the one-arm bandit slot machines. Then it gets to be truly nightmarish. US Airways--the world's worst possible airline in the world.

I hope to see soon.

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Too True

You're right. It could have been much worse. I could have been stuck in Heathrow Airport. Truly nightmarish. Been there. Done that. Now avoid London airspace whenever possible.