Sunday, December 20, 2009
Party in Pittsburgh
Watching the news this
morning and seeing all the passengers stranded at airports reminds me of a certain trip from New York to Chicago. I feel their
pain. Anyone who travels through Chicago is prepared for long delays, and I have been stuck overnight more times than I can
remember. But one incident did stay with me. It must have been in the late 70’s, and it was my first business trip.
The flight from LaGuardia to O’Hara was uneventful. The return trip, however, was another story.
10:53 am est
It was a Friday evening (big
mistake!!!) and the flight was delayed for many hours. The incoming flight was coming in from Dallas, and when it finally
arrived, the passengers already on board were about to mutiny. They had been traveling for about 10 hours already, and were
anxious for the plane to get on its way to NY. After take-off, I looked out the window and saw the Sears tower looming ever
larger and another plane rather close. The pilot pointed out that it wasn’t a near miss, but we did have other problems.
We were having engine trouble, and would land at the closest airport. We made it as far as Pittsburgh, where we would spend
was new to business travel, but I was no stranger to air travel. Behind me, though, were a woman and her young son from Iowa.
It was their first trip outside the state, and they were in a state of panic. We were “adopted” by more seasoned
travelers. After landing, we all checked in and ate at the local Howard Johnson’s, courtesy of TWA. We shared a table
with our adopted parents, and they suggested we spend the rest of our meal money at the local country western bar.
How appropriate it was when
we walked in and heard the band play “Take this job and shove it”! By the time the song ended, we had learned
the chorus, and all joined it. We drank Steelers beer, and had a great time. We didn’t get a lot of sleep that night,
as our flight out was very early in the morning, but we were in a great frame of mind. Strangers turned a bad experience into
a memorable one.
TWA (aka the worst airline) is long gone, but my memories of that special night in Pittsburgh
will never leave me.
I won a country music radio contest with this story. It was read by Jim Kerr when WYNY was country. The topic – What
event turned you on to country music!