An Idaho Odyssey (21/30)
Some plane observations
I’m currently on the last leg of what has turned into quite a long journey. A few friends and I are headed to Montana for a music festival, and a series of issues at our connecting airport led to the first flight lasting about six hours instead of the expected three.
Flight delays are a special kind of hell; they’re made exponentially worse when the entirety of the delay is spent on the plane itself rather than in an airport. My first flight today was forced to divert just before landing when a series of storms caused a plane to get stranded on the runway of our destination, shutting down the entire tarmac to all incoming flights. We took a detour to Twin Falls, Idaho to refuel and wait for the go-ahead from air traffic control.
These kinds of situations often bring out the worst in people. The combination of being stuck in tight quarters with a bunch of equally hungry and dehydrated strangers and having your travel plans turned upside down is a perfect recipe for interpersonal disaster. Even the best of us can become downright intolerable after sitting in the middle seat of an idle plane for hours on end.
And yet, for some reason, today was different. Even though we had connecting flights that we had a chance of missing, friends and family who would be waiting at the airport for some unknown period of time, and arrivals that would extend well into the morning, just about everyone on the plane handled the whole thing shockingly well. It was a sight to behold. People spent the idle time getting to know one another, exchanging stories, and laughing at the plight of a plane that, having been so close to beginning its descent, was forced to change course and park in a town likely had more cows than people.
I’m far too tired to examine why this was the case. But in a post-pandemic era where people seem to be increasingly rude and averse to polite social interaction, it was really, really refreshing.