flight to nowhere


Took my parents to the airport yesterday morning, sorted out check-in for them, watched them get through security and inside. Tracked their flight all afternoon, from the 1hr delay cos of thunderstorms, then finally en route.

At around 8-ish, the status changed to redirected. WTF. I did more digging and then it started showing diverted. It was difficult to interpret what was going on with the various flight tracking websites. The united site wasn’t any help. The 800-number was just voice recording.

Called my sis to see if she can get more info over there, cos it’s during office hours. She wasn’t able to get much more info than me. Then it showed 9.21pm landed at ORD and take off rescheduled to 11am. All signs pointed to the flight having turned back. Most importantly, for my peace of mind, it had landed. On the ground. Safely.

I was tempted to go to the airport to find out what was happening. I didn’t just in case my parents got in a taxi and they gave me back the keys. Finally almost 10pm Mum called. She didn’t have a US mobile or coins but was able to borrow someone’s cellphone. Turned out there were bathroom malfunctions and the flight couldn’t have continued without toilets. One of the sites tracked the flight to the middle of nowhere in Manitoba, so it was prudent to come back to Chicago as opposed to landing at a “nearby” airport.

They were waiting for the shuttle to take them to an airport overnight. To which I answered No Way. It’s only half an hour for me to go pick them up. Papa joked that it was the longest flight from Chicago to Chicago. Back to square one.

I think about this as being given more hours to spend with them. It was the right decision, to have them stay with me overnight. More comfortable, they could have breakfast. I took them back to the airport this morning and yes, I was crying as I drove away.