This trip almost got off to a rocky start.
I got to the departure gate in ATL with plenty of time to spare. Then a dreaded warning came on the PA system from the Delta gate agent, which essentially boiled down to this: Sorry but the pilot is MIA so unless we find a substitute in time your flight is delayed.
Airlines. Either they break your guitar, lose your luggage, or lose your pilot.
But alas there is an Airport God for the airline found a pair of subs to fly us to New Orleans. There won’t be any delays — it’s business as usual. I heard several customers breathe a sigh of relief and held their tongues from cursing Delta.
Thankfully (for passengers) it wasn’t a full flight, so everyone got to stow their bags in the bins plus enjoy some extra wingspan space of their own because many middle seats were unfilled. I had a nice setup at my seat: laptop on my tray and a drink on the middle tray. I was actually able to get some work done on the plane ride fairly comfortably.
As we were on our descent to New Orleans MSY, some passengers started rubbernecking for some reason. Then I realized that they were looking out the windows trying to catch a glimpse of the oil spill over the Gulf of Mexico. I sat at an aisle seat so personally I wasn’t able to see anything, but noting that no announcements were made by the pilot or the guys by the windows, I’m thinking that our flight path didn’t allow us a view of the spill.
Upon landing an attendant kindly reminded us to close the window shades and turn up — all the way up — the AC vents as not to bake the next batch of passengers. I thought to myself, the weather couldn’t possibly be more hot and humid than where I came from…
Boy, was I wrong.
Thanks to the Mighty Mississippi and the Gulf, the N’awlins air has plenty of moisture. Not an enjoyable combo with the summer heat, especially for the out-of-towners. It’s so hot and humid that taxis driving through the airport looking for customers would leave their van doors and trunks open to save on gas (turning on AC uses more gas). It was quite a sight seeing these vehicles pass by with open doors and popped trunks.
Little would I know that soon I’d be experiencing something similar first hand. You see, our shuttle bus (arrived after we’d waited in the simmering heat at the curbside for almost 30 minutes) had a busted door, so we all traveled from the airport to the French Quarter in a shuttle with an open door. On the freeway, on the streets, to the hotels. Heck, we didn’t care as long as the air conditioning worked!
But there is a saving grace — iced cold Southern sweet tea is served here. The perfect beverage for the Louisiana summer and to accompany the spicy cajun foods.