Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This is a Buffalo bound local aeroplane

Our plane touched down in Charlotte twenty minutes late. Fearing another missed connection, I sprinted across the airport and made it to my gate just as the last few passengers were boarding. Taking my seat, I waited .... and waited... and ...

"We apologise for the delay. We're standing by for passengers from a Rochester flight that was cancelled."

That made sense. Buffalo is about an hours drive from Rochester so while undoubtedly irritating, it provided an easy alternative for stranded travellers. After a few minutes, a small gaggle of vexed Rochester-bound people boarded. From their conversation, it appeared that the flight had been too under-subscribed to fly. Still, at only 60 minutes away, there were trains, buses ...

"This flight will now be making a stop in Rochester before Buffalo."

... and apparently planes. Since when did flights make local stops like a weekend NYC subway? There was so much fury at this that one passenger had to be calmed down by the pilot. A young man in front of me was especially put out since he would actually have preferred to go to Rochester, but his bags had been checked through to Buffalo and couldn't be retrieved.

During this furore there was more waiting while we took on the extra fuel needed to make our spontaneous touch down. We were assured that the time on the ground in Rochester would be no more than 30 minutes and our flight time to Buffalo would be a staggering 15 minutes. This just left one very obvious question:


The total delay on the Buffalo flight was two hours. The driving time to Rochester would have been one hour and the fuel costs to bring a plane down and back up can't be low. Perhaps there was no way of getting a bus in Buffalo after midnight. Maybe all the car rental places were closed or only rented out two-seater sports cars. It could be that US Airways only ever thought about planes.

Or maybe the world has just gone completely mad.

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