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Delta: The flight from hell.

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I've never really liked Delta, but I've never really hated the airline either...until now. Sure, I've flown them countless times, but it may just be a while before I fly on one of their planes again. Perhaps, however, I am being too hard. To be sure, it is the Atlanta International Airport which maintains a bulk of the blame. Having been in Atlanta's airport way too much this summer, I am well acquainted with the refuse that this airport is. Delta and its hub Atlanta form a marriage of frustration in incompetence on a master level. Yesterday, Katie and I (with Pooh Bear) left the beach house on St. George's Plantation, appropriately on St. George's Island, at 3:00pm / 2:00 Dallas time. We drove to the airport in Panama City Beach (Yes, Tallahassee would have been much better, but we flew in and out of PCB because Katie and I spent the first weekend of our vacation in Rosemary Beach, which is west of Panama City.) We turned in our rental car and checked in...where we were told that our initial flight to Atlanta was delayed...and delayed...and delayed. When time had elapsed so that we already missed our flight from Atlanta to Dallas, we finally boarded a plane for Atlanta. We flew. We landed. We were informed that somehow we had landed without being assigned a gate to arrive at. We sat. The good news was that, having already missed our original flight to Dallas, Katie and I were booked on a second flight bound home. The problem was that due to the amazingly poor communication between Delta and Atlanta, we were about to also miss this second flight as we were sitting helpless on a runway without a gate. So, we sat some more. Finally, the plane moved and parked somewhere - though we didn't know where since the pilot never told the passengers what gate we had come to. Being that this was a little connection plane, we walked out of the plane on stairs, outside the airport. Everyone was rushing inside, all wondering where we were and how far from next our departing gate. We entered the terminal to discover we were at D and needed to get to A. We took the little train, got to the gate, and ... yes, we made it - walked onto the plane. We were late, but we had just made it. We were going home. Happy but hungry (we had no dinner because the tardiness of our flight from PCB left us without any time to eat), we sat on the plane and snaked on Nutrigrain bars. To make things better, we were on an exit seat - which is something very blessed when you're tall and have long legs. As we waited to depart, we were happy to finally be going home. So we waited. And waited. After a seemingly long time, the captain told us that there was a malfunction with the landing gear, which required some checking out. So we waited some more. And some more. After a while, a mechanic came up and announced that the plane was unable to fly (though, I thought that it could fly but simply couldn't land - still, there wasn't any point to argue semantics with the man). He then explained what would happen and told us we all need to evacuate the plane. We evacuated, but no one knew what he said would happen. Oh, he told us, to be sure...but there was another problem - perhaps most annoying of all. You see, our flight contained a rather large group who had attended the T.D. Jakes conference in Atlanta. When the mechanic was explaining the situation, several of these people started yelling and prophesying so loudly that no one was able to hear what the nice man said. So, we waited now at the gate while passengers confusingly asked if anybody heard what the nice mechanic said we were to do. After a while of this, we received an announcement over the speaker that our flight would continue, yet on another plane at another gate. So the herd walked. As we walked, I passed by all the wonderful places to grab a bite to eat that were now recently closed (you see, I had no time to stop on the way to the plane because we were so late, and while we were waiting inside the plane, all of the restaurants closed). The herd arrived at the new gate, with the new plane, but still had to wait because of the three security checks which were necessary. So we waited. And waited. I went to the restroom. And more waiting. Finally, we got on the plane. Here, we waited some more. Then, something exciting happened. No, we didn't move. The air came on inside the plane. This is not unusual, except that it was humid outside, making the air flowing out the cabin vents look like smoke. This is actually not that unusual, unless you are a novice flier...which is evidently indicative of the T.D. Jakes group. "OH LORD HAVE MERCY! IT'S A FIRE! SWEET JESUS, THERE'S SMOKE! WATER, LORD JESUS I NEED WATER! OH MERCY! HALLELUJAH!" And so on. There was much screaming and prophesying of Jesus coming to deliver us from the devil man's airplane or something. This caused, funny enough, the pilot to make an announcement detailing the scientific properties of humidity. The commotion subsiding, we waited some more...until finally...we moved. Mark the time:

We took off, and outside of a few disturbances by the Jakes team, had a wonderful flight. Having left the beach house at 2:00pm Dallas time, we arrived home at 2:00am. Needless to say, we didn't even arrive home the same day we were supposed to. Still, we're home, and I'm very thankful for a safe flight and the patience of the flight staff and crew. Oh, and thanks to Judd for the ride home.

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