Sunday, February 11, 2007


We hit nary a bump in our flight from Homer to Anchorage, but I thought we were going to die, nonetheless.
It had been foggy the entire time we'd been in the cosmic hamlet by the sea, and it didn't let up for our last day. When we got to the airport, the Era employees told us that our 7:00 flight was delayed.
Ten minutes later, they announced it was cancelled. The 9:00 flight was booked--our only option with Era was to catch the 11:20 flight the next morning.
Greg wasn't down with that.
So, he talked to the lone Grant Air employee who was hanging around the ticket counter.
"Yep," the man drawled. "Only got two passengers booked on this flight, so if our pilot can land the plane, he can fly you out."

Hmmm. I couldn't help but notice that none of the other passengers from our cancelled Era flight were even considering the Grant Air option. They all chose to spend the night in Homer.

What did they know that we didn't?

I called Danielle and Krispin and begged them to pray that we wouldn't crash and die.
She promised they would, but I don't think she had a clue as to what we'd gotten ourselves into this time.
And neither did we.
Not only was the plane more than half-empty, the co-pilot was non-existent. Our pilot, a rather tense young man, breezed through the safety instructions and then turned his back on us, not making any mention of the fact that all but one of us were sitting on the same side of the airplane. I've flown in small aircraft enough to know that when they ask your weight at the ticket counter, they aren't just trying to humiliate you. They want to make sure the weight is evenly distributed aboard the aircraft.
Apparently the pilot really didn't care, but I quickly buckled into a seat across the aisle.
Off we went, into the foggy night.

I breathed a sigh of relief once we broke through the cloud cover and visibility was great. I spent the next 45 minutes praying, writing blogs in my head, and trying not to notice the really bad smell on the plane ( an unpleasant mixture of barf, tabacco, and dirty clothes).
After we'd been in the air for more than an hour, I began to get a bit nervous. The flight to Anchorage is normally about 45 minutes. I peered out the window into the darkness and realized that we were flying in circles. At one point, the pilot seemed to change him mind about landing in Anchorage and I wondered if we were headed back to Homer. But then the circling started again.

The pilot was flipping furiously through maps or something up front and I wondered if he was afraid to descend through the fog.

Were going to run out of fuel?

Could we be lost?

I started praying fervently for the pilot . . .

After what seemed like a million years, the plane began to descend. To our pilot's credit,
the landing was without incident. He seemed as glad to be on the ground as we were, and I noticed that the next incoming Grant Air flight had been cancelled . . . .