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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 43.2553, -79.0721
We worked at home in the morning, then drove to the airport. No traffic on the drive, and I was able to take a call during the drive. The parking garage was totally full – outdoor valet only. The airport was crowded, but no one was in Pre line, so we sailed through security. We went to the club for a quick email and coffee, then boarded the flight to Chicago. Paul and I were in exit row aisles, across from each other, as usual. The flight was fine – I worked on a report the whole time. We landed on time in Chicago. Paul and I went to the club for the two hours of our layover … we had some food there and drinks.
Then it was time to board the plane for Buffalo. Paul was in first class (with my upgrade), and I was in my usual exit row seat (or, rather, in Paul's usual exit row seat). Shortly after boarding, the pilot announced that, on his walk-around, he had spotted a pool of oil beneath the plane. Maintenance was checking on it. So we all sighed and waited. A few minutes later, we were told, "It's an easy fix, just tightening a valve; maintenance will have it ready to go soon." So we read happily. Then, “Well, folks, I was just informed by maintenance that there are two pumps, and the problem is with a different pump, which can't be fixed quickly. We have to get a new plane, which Operations is working on now. You'll all have to deboard but stay in the gate area, and we'll let you know the new plane.” So, then there was a lot (A LOT) of swearing around us. So we deplaned. It was really not more than five minutes before United had another plane coming from the hangar to another gate. We all rushed off to the new gate, which was silly because, of course, the new plane had yet to arrive, be checked out, and prepared for boarding. Eventually, nearing 10:45pm, the plane was ready to go. We were told to hurry, because the crew was close to timing out before arrival into Buffalo. I've never seen people board so quickly. We were soon ready and took off, arriving Buffalo around 1am.
And I thought, “I've never seen so many people so happy to get to Buffalo.”
We found our rental car and drove to Niagara on the Lake. There was no one at the border crossing (where we arrived at the 2am shift change), which was one advantage. The border agent was very skeptical that we came all the way from the west coast for a weekend just to see the Shaw. Philistine. Our room (at Annette Twining House) was waiting for us (a major relief!) and we went to bed right away.
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