Better Safe than On-Time

I've been dreading today for a week. After last Monday's work trip to Seattle and the resulting back pain, today's trip was the test to see if I could survive a three hour flight. Although I was feeling better over the weekend, the pain increased Monday night into Tuesday. I attempted a bike ride at lunch to see if that would help, but there were no miracles. 

Tuesday Lunch Ride - Hazy from West Coast Fires

Mid-afternoon, I packed an extra pillow and headed to the airport. Upon arrival, I found Terry and a spot on the floor to lie down. We watched the end of the USA Pro Challenge and were even more emotional than yesterday seeing Brent Bookwalter take the Stage 2 win. The happiness continues for all those involved with the BMC Cycling Team. Terry and I both had flights this afternoon so it was nice to say goodbye at his gate before heading to mine.

Terry's Flight Buddy

We boarded early and I did my best to arrange all the pillows to support my back. The attendant announced our pushback and mentioned we would land early, and then before I could settle into my book, we returned to the gate. The pilot announced "We have an indication that the smoke alarm is not working". For some reason his exact wording didn't sink in until later, but what was the indication? Flames, smoke, smell? We were asked to leave our carry-ons and deplane as quickly as possible so they could have someone investigate. 

Everyone returned to the terminal and was immediately drawn to the windows as emergency vehicles surrounded our plane. My coworker who was sitting further in the back said she could smell burning plastic. Nobody was visible upset about the delay once we saw the seriousness of the situation. As we all discussed, it is much better to arrive safely than on-time.

Emergency Vehicles Surrounding Our Plane

After 30 minutes, we were told that the plane was unsafe to fly and they would locate another aircraft.   Fine by us. We went back on to retrieve our luggage and then headed off to dinner. Three hours later, we boarded the new plane with new pilots but the same crew. They were very apologetic but again, I didn't hear anyone complain and many of us thanked them for putting safety first.

The flight was painful no matter how I sat and the turbulence kept me in my seat. I focused on my book (The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo) and reminded myself that things could have turned out much worse on this dreaded travel day. We landed at 1:30a est and by the time we checked in, it was after 2a. Thanks to the back pain and prednisone, I'm nowhere near sleep. I've iced, caught up on USA Pro Challenge content, and now blogged. Luckily my meetings don't start until late morning.