As promised, here is the story of what followed our beautiful and relaxing vacation in Turks and Caicos.
After eating lunch with our friends, soaking up the gorgeous view of the beach in front of us, Adam and I took a taxi to the airport. We were taking a less than three hour plane on American Airlines to Charlotte, and after a small layover, hopping on a flight back to Baltimore. We would land in Baltimore just before midnight, drive home, and then pick the kids up from Adam’s parents when we woke up.
The airport in TC was pretty small, and prices for food were huge. Island prices PLUS airport prices are how you find a $7 bag of Combos. So we decided to wait until we landed in Charlotte to grab something to eat. I figured I would buy some snacks on the flight if I got really hungry. But once we were in the air and the flight attendants were coming around with drinks, we found out that they hadn’t stocked the plane with food, even though they advertise flights longer than two hours as having snacks available for purchase. They didn’t even have pretzels or anything that were given to us on our flights out. Alright, we would just wait until we landed.
As we approached Charlotte, our pilot told us we were having some “weather,” and were waiting to get clearance to land. We circled the airport for over an hour. Then, because we were running low on fuel, we were redirected to Charleston. We would refuel, then head back to Charlotte.
After we landed in Charleston, we waited. And waited. Adam finished his book. I finished my book. I started reading Adam’s book. Airplane wifi and inflight entertainment don’t work when you’re not up in the air. We were in line to get fuel, because apparently a few other flights had been sent here for the same reason. So we waited some more. And waited. It was late at night, we had more than missed our connecting flight, so I called the airline to make sure we would have a hotel room covered when we finally deplaned. I was told we would be given vouchers at the ticket desk. Fine.
After four hours (FOUR HOURS) sitting on the tarmac, we were told that there was a limit to how long an airplane can be used before it needs to take a break. So we were finally let off the plane after over eight hours of sitting on a less than three hour flight. Legally, an airline is not allowed to hold you on a plan that is going nowhere for more than three hours. And after two hours, they have to provide adequate food and drink. During that time, we didn’t receive food or water, and the bathrooms ran out of toilet paper. Shortly before we moved to the gate, we received small cups of water and a little cookie “from the emergency cookie stash.” My eyes were rolling so aggressively that they almost left my head and rolled down the aisle.