GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - While I sat on the tarmac at Memphis International Airport Tuesday night, several different thoughts flashed through my head.
I kept wondering if I made a mistake by passing on the chance to get bumped off the flight, take the $200 credit, spend the night (for free) in Memphis, and fly home on Wednesday.
I thought about those Minnesota passengers who got stuck on their regional jet for more than six hours. That couldn't happen to me, could it?
Just then, a newborn began to cry. His mother did everything she could think of to calm down her bundle of joy. But nothing worked. Mom was traveling with a newborn and a toddler. The young girl was so cute. I overheard her tell Mom she couldn't look out the window until we got into the air. Mom peeked. The little girl scolded her. Once airborne, they both smiled. And the baby fell asleep.
The silence lasted for about a second. Suddenly, the man sitting across from me started to snore, just loud enough for the people around him to notice. I'm told that I snore. So, I could emphasize with the man taking his nap.
Despite the noise, the flight was smooth. In fact, the 51 minute trip from Memphis to Gulfport took off and landed on time.
As many of you know, smaller regional jets have no overhead space. So, larger carry-on bags must be left at the plane's entrance. To pick up that luggage, you must stand at the foot of the ramp, and wait for the crew outside to offload those bags, carry them up some steps, and place them inside the ramp.
It was almost 9:00 p.m. We were all ready to get our bags, and leave the airport.
And then it happened. Our worst fears about being trapped on our plane were coming true. The door that goes from the ramp to the terminal was closed. And nobody could unlock it. The passengers who got off first yelled back to the group waiting for our bags. "Tell somebody we can't get out," a pilot said.
Two thoughts quickly flashed through my head. Would we ever escape this calamity? And did the plane's lavatory work?
The panic at the end of flight 2415 lasted about two minutes. One of the guys out on the tarmac dashed inside. He weaved his way through a maze of people. And then, with the magic of a magnetic card, he opened the locked door.
We were free. We were all going home.
As I walked toward the front of the terminal to wait for my wife, I couldn't get one thought out of my head. I should have taken the $200 credit they offered me back in Memphis?