Endless flight makes gulliver’s travels seem short - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Endless flight makes gulliver’s travels seem short

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe
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    Woman suffers minor injuries after car rolls on I-77 in Raleigh County

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:13:55 GMT
    Car rolled multiple times on I-77 North in Raleigh County.Car rolled multiple times on I-77 North in Raleigh County.
    In Raleigh County, a woman is miraculously not seriously injured, after her car rolls over on I-77 around 6:30 Wednesday night.An eyewitness tells us the woman was driving in the left lane on the northbound side. She suddenly veered off the road, over corrected,then slammed into the side of a tractor trailer. The car rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on it's roof.The witness says two small dogs ran out of the car. Moments later, the woman crawled out and ran after one of the dogs....
    In Raleigh County, a woman is miraculously not seriously injured, after her car rolls over on I-77 around 6:30 Wednesday night.An eyewitness tells us the woman was driving in the left lane on the northbound side. She suddenly veered off the road, over corrected,then slammed into the side of a tractor trailer. The car rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on it's roof.The witness says two small dogs ran out of the car. Moments later, the woman crawled out and ran after one of the dogs....
  • UPDATE: Suspect in custody in connection with Montcalm shooting

    UPDATE: Suspect in custody in connection with Montcalm shooting

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:16 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:16:53 GMT
     Emotions were high in Montcalm on Thursday following a shooting. Neighbors were not surprised to hear of the shooting in their area, because they say, violence is unfortunately all too common in their neighborhood.
    Emotions were high in Montcalm on Thursday following a shooting. Neighbors were not surprised to hear of the shooting in their area, because they say, violence is unfortunately all too common in their neighborhood.
  • Environmentalists talk about Mountain Top Removal as Coal Miners Protest in Pittsburgh

    Environmentalists talk about Mountain Top Removal as Coal Miners Protest in Pittsburgh

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:59:03 GMT
    As hundreds of coal miners protest in Pittsburgh over the hearing on E-P-A regulations, 59News talks to an Environmental group to get both sides of the controversy."Coal River Mountain Watch" is a non-profit organization organization, out of Whitesville, Raleigh County.The organizations mission is to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountain top removal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area and to help rebuild sustainable communities.Mike Roselle a membe...
    As hundreds of coal miners protest in Pittsburgh over the hearing on E-P-A regulations, 59News talks to an Environmental group to get both sides of the controversy."Coal River Mountain Watch" is a non-profit organization organization, out of Whitesville, Raleigh County.The organizations mission is to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountain top removal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area and to help rebuild sustainable communities.Mike Roselle a membe...
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  • When you think you know everything, check online

    When you think you know everything, check online

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:00:22 GMT
    So, I’m strolling down Capitol Street in Charleston, taking in the joyous FestivALL celebration when I notice a pair of young boys smirking at my T-shirt.
    So, I’m strolling down Capitol Street in Charleston, taking in the joyous FestivALL celebration when I notice a pair of young boys smirking at my T-shirt.
  • Solving those devil-dog, double-word problems

    Solving those devil-dog, double-word problems

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:00:23 GMT
    Let’s play a word game. You will find the answers at the end, but if you cheat when playing Scrabble (as I do), you might cheat now. Of course, then, you would miss the fun of playing.
    Let’s play a word game. You will find the answers at the end, but if you cheat when playing Scrabble (as I do), you might cheat now. Of course, then, you would miss the fun of playing.
  • When not to resist the temptation of a ‘do not touch’ warning

    When not to resist the temptation of a ‘do not touch’ warning

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-28 10:00:27 GMT
    There is a button on my computer that the salesman told me never to push. It is there to “revert back to factory settings.”
    There is a button on my computer that the salesman told me never to push. It is there to “revert back to factory settings.”

Lynne D. Schwabe is the director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at schwabestatejournal@gmail.com.

Really, you couldn’t make this up.

I began on a Monday at 10 a.m., taking a shuttle to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to catch my 1:10 p.m. flight to Charleston. En route, I got a message saying that my flight had been cancelled and that I was rescheduled on a 6 p.m. flight. Not convenient, but I could deal with it.

About mid-afternoon, violent thunderstorms began to sweep across Chicago. I kept getting texts from the airline saying the flight was delayed due to weather. After about five such messages, I figured I needed a back-up plan, so I called a friend at the airline to ask for help. She booked me on a flight Tuesday morning just in case, and I heaved a sigh of relief, feeling only slightly smug for having this airline ace in my pocket.

The delay messages continued, long past the scheduled 6 p.m. departure time of the flight — 10 p.m., 11 p.m., midnight, 1 a.m. Finally at 1:30 a.m., the flight was cancelled because they didn’t have a crew. This was confusing, because we had been told previously that our aircraft had arrived and that a crew was on the way from Gate F12.

It must just be me. I’m sure running a huge airline is very complicated work, requiring many people who get the big bucks for making it work. But, really. You have a plane that is scheduled to fly; you need someone to fly it, right? Seems to me that these kinds of needs could be anticipated.

It was 1:30 a.m. The airline clubs and restaurants were closed; customer service people had retired hours ago. By this time, a not-so-merry band had formed, consisting of the people on the flight to Charleston. Using great logic, we decided that spending the night in the airport was our best alternative because: there was an hour wait for a taxi; hotels nearby were sold out; and we would have to be back at the airport at 6 a.m. anyway in order to check in for the new flight and go through security.

Have you spent the night at an airport recently? There are no places where you can stretch out … except the floor. Even the airport chairs for waiting customers are configured as such that there are arms in between each seat. You would have to be a caterpillar to physically drape yourself over these humps. People began settling in corners in interesting configurations of suitcases under heads, knees against walls, jackets used as blankets. Every charging station was occupied, as people attempted to recharge phones and computers.

The night passed … very … very … slowly.

When the rosy fingers of dawn began poking through the airport windows, we raced to get boarding passes printed for our next flight. This is when I discovered that my ace-in-the-hole ticket had been booked for March of 2015 instead of May of 2014. Luckily, I was able to get a seat on a plane from O’Hare to Washington Dulles International Airport, with a connection to Charleston.

We finally boarded the plane, which actually flew on time, to its destination. There was one dismaying incident: a Swedish exchange student got very ill, and in her mad dash to the bathroom to throw up, she made an intermediary stop beside my seat, threw up in the aisle, and all over my shoes and carry-on. A few handiwipes later, we had recovered and had gained a second burst of energy.

This was fortuitous because our plane landed at 12:01 and our connection took off at 12:33. I said to the airline attendant when she was rebooking us that we’d never make it.

“Oh no,” the attendant said, giving a dismissive wave of her well-manicured hand. “There are so many of you on the plane they’ll hold the flight for you.”

Sure. Huffing and puffing, after racing from as far as one could possibly be at Dulles to our new gate — in another terminal! — we arrived five minutes after scheduled departure time. The plane was gone and the gate agent snorted, “We don’t hold flights.”

At this point I began thinking this airline needed more communications training for its employees. At the very least, they should make sure the lies they tell are confirmed by their fellow employees. But I digress. We all scurried to customer service and were booked on a 6 p.m. flight to Charleston. Great. A bit more time sitting in an airport, but a light at the end of the tunnel. Life was good.

Until the thunderstorms began to roll in and the airport was closed down. Again with the delays, due to weather. I counted and over the course of two traveling days, I got 19 messages from the airline, saying my flights had been delayed or in three instances cancelled. The missed flight, I guess, was our fault for not being Olympic distance runners. As the 6 p.m. flight was pushed farther and farther back, people were beginning to lose whatever self control they might have formerly had. Loud curses were heard; tempers were lost. From the “long story short” department, we finally took off at about 12:45 a.m. and arrived in Charleston at 1:45 a.m. The luggage didn’t arrive, but we did. Finally.

By this time, I had been awake for more than 40 hours. My teeth had moss growing on them, and I had not had a shower or changed clothes in two days. Let’s just say, I was not my most fetching self.

All in all, I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. They’re wonderful things for other people to go on.