Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Travel Tales

by Maggie Sefton

DEADLY POLITICS is the first in my new Molly Malone Suspense series which will be out this August 8th.   Please check my updated website for plot description, reviews, an excerpt, and other info.  www.maggiesefton.com.   DEADLY POLITICS was just reviewed by Mystery Scene magazine, and you can read the review here: 

For those of you who travel on airlines a lot like I do, you're familiar with delayed flights due to weather.  This happens more frequently in the summer, because of the regular appearance of summer thunderstorms with heavy rains and lightning.  Airplanes don't like lightning.  It tends to mess with their sophisticated computer controls.  And---most of us who are passengers certainly do not want to be 30,000+ feet in the air caught in the midst of an electrical storm.  Shudder. . .  so, we completely understand when airlines have to delay our flights because connecting planes can't fly and arrive in the airports where we're all sitting. . .and sitting. . .and sitting. . .and waiting for updates.

I always have plenty of work to do if those circumstances arrive, so I pop open my laptop and work on the manuscript in progress or my iPad and check email.  It's the chance to actually sit in an airport restaurant and have a real meal with wine or a drink instead of the faster food choices that are everywhere in the concourses.  That being said, however, delays can turn from annoying to a royal pain in the you-know-where when they begin to multiply.

That happened on Sunday when I was returning from New York City after attending the ThrillerFest conference there.  I'd never been to that mystery/thriller/suspense conference before, and I was really impressed with the quality of the panel sessions and guest speakers.  I met some great people--readers, fellow writers, and invited experts who spoke during the two days.  I also got to visit my daughter Melissa who lives and works in Manhattan.  Sunday afternoon, I headed to JFK airport on the shuttle, checked in, was assured that the flights was scheduled on time, etc, etc.  So---I worked on email until I thought I heard thunder.  Uh, oh.  I checked the flight board and saw that the 7:30pm departure was changed to 8:20pm.  I did a quick calculation and determined that I'd still make my reserved 11:30pm shuttle ride back to Fort Collins after I arrived at DIA.  That's what I thought.  Until I checked the flight board again later.  Departure time was now 8:55pm.  I still had a shot at the return home shuttle.  Until I checked the flight board again later on.  Now, it was scheduled departure of 10:20pm.

Forget the 11:30pm shuttle back to Fort Collins.  I'd be lucky to make the very last shuttle run of 1:00am !!   Consternation set in, of course, and. . .well, you already guessed. . .yes, the flight was delayed YET AGAIN because of thunderstorms and lightning in New England.  Now, it was 11:20pm.   By that time, I'd resigned myself to finding an airport hotel to grab some sleep before I could catch a morning shuttle home.  What time did we finally board?  Midnight.  What time did we finally take off?  About 1:20am.   Naturally, there were scores of other delayed aircraft who'd been waiting in line ahead of us.  Thankfully, I had a funny and charming seat partner and we kept finding things to talk and laugh about so we wouldn't sink into a blue funk at the delays.

Once airborne, I tried sleeping but could only doze so by the time we landed in Denver it was after 2:30am Denver time, 4:30am New York time.  We were all too exhausted to be aggravated by then.  We all just headed for the baggage claim.  I was fortunate to find a Holiday Inn with shuttle so by 3:45 I was finally in a hotel and fell into bed for nearly four hours sleep.  Not a lot but enough to last.  The morning shuttle brought me home to FC and I jumped into my car and rushed out to the doggie ranch to pick up Katy and Max and finally back home.  And then, I did something I rarely do.  I took a nap.  Wow.  That felt really good.  :)