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So been on runway for 2 hours trying to fly out. Get cleared to take off. @AmericanAir captain says that there are people who want to get off flight and we have to go back to the gate.

There’s 7 ppl who are going to miss their connection to Australia and are righteously pissed.
I’ve never even heard of that happening before. So many missed connections.
3 people got off. 2 because of the 1 who wanted off. The remaining hundred or so are well.... hoooooy boy.
Ever see the movie The Cain Mutiny?
Entire plane now deplaning. Oh man.
I’ve never see one person turn a plane around after it pushed off the gate because they wanted to get off. Maybe medical? But person walked off fine.

This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen and I fly a hell of a lot.
this is so wild. Nobody heckled the person who wanted to get off which kind of restored some faith in humanity. Even though everyone prob secretly and silently plotting murder.
Guy next to me was having a meltdown. Said “unbelievable” about 19 times in a row with increasing venom each time.

At what point does he find it believable?
Escalation. Flight crew just left!
@americanair has called in a platoon of reinforcements to the gate. These poor gate agents are getting the business.

C’mon not their fault. It was a weather delay and then the dominoes just started falling.
Ugly news. Defeat.

Connection officially missed and bag still under the plane.

Upside. Free to hit the bar!
not everyone taking this so well. I think I saw the first torch light
Delay is creeping on its 6th hour.
Wild cheers erupt as the new flight crew shows up.
all these angry people have got it all wrong. One good summer cocktail and mood goes from “how is this happening!?” to “hell delay it another hour, I just started over here.”
this has been a certifiable sociological experiment. I’m witnessing all the stages of grief at once.
One guy cursing under his breath and pacing. A furious debate amongst a family if they can break from the boarding area to stock up on snacks.

A snap support group of strangers has formed to my right and they are offering each other folksy platitudes for comfort.
“Well sometimes you rope the goat, and sometimes the goat ropes you.”

I’m not sure I understand but everyone seemed to nod in concurrence.
I will assume we are being roped by the goat
The people are organizing. There is a furious discussion with the flight crew and the gate agents.

One has been assigned to eavesdrop on them. Our infiltrator reports another 90 minute delay due to maintenance.
This news has sent ripples through the masses like a tidal wave.

Weather, maintenance, flight crew change, and passenger issues. It’s like some mystical flight-delay bingo and we hit every square
The latest. Passengers have been openly questioning their existence and a group of newly minted pagans just sacrificed a goat to appease whatever gods we have angered.

The support group has dissipated. We may have hit bottom. Gloom and despair have swept through the crowd.
Shocking dispatch from the front. Our infiltrator reports the crew is “looking for a new aircraft.”

They say it’s darkest before dawn.

I don’t know how to finish that thought.
The bar has closed.
People have started to sit on the floor. A sure sign of a vanquished soul.
Not all stories have happy endings
The sword has fallen my friends.
Everyone is too defeated to complain. @AmericanAir said canceled due to “operational decisions” but we all saw that maintenance crew on board as we were getting off! Our spy heard everything!
We now wait for our bags in crushed silence.
I now believe in chaos theory.

One person set off an explosive chain of events, the impact of which will ripple throughout history.
Bags are still missing. This isn’t over.
Because the flight was canceled, the bags stay on board and proceed to our final destination.

This seems to be a problem. Some folks have canceled their plans, some routing through different cities.
Ok. @americanair tells us they have to manually open the plane (is there any other way to open it?) and individually remove our bags.

This will take 2 hours minimum. The mind is willing but the body is weak.
Man. This just got sad. A guy has an important job interview tomorrow and his suit in his bag.

When he found out it’s another 2 hours on top of the now 7 hour delay, poor dude broke down and cried.
Stress broke him. I don’t even feel like making wisecracks anymore.
One person has a CPAP in the bag. They’re going to get their bag back. We think. We’ve been hurt before.

But they reiterate the two hour minimum before @americanair can open the plane and get the bag.

I think the person just wants to be sleeping with their CPAP right now.
11:06. We are sharing a drink they call loneliness.
Lonely DCA
Wait this can’t be real. Bag claim office is closing early due to construction.

“If the bags aren’t off by 1:18, the bags go to Dallas.”
There’s a guy chewing angrily on a cigar and I’ve got $10 bucks down that he just up and lights that bad boy.
Loud construction noise has started above us.
We debate storming the plane for our bags. We don’t know how we could access said bags, as they’re under the plane.

But a serious question about whether it’s worth the FBI arrest to save them from being sent to Dallas.
Have entered the “making deals with God phase”
Me: the military prepared me for times like these

friend: you were in the Air Force

me: dammit
Job interview guy seems to have composed himself and thought of a plan. A good development, was getting worried about him.

Your resilience will serve you well in your new career, my dude.
After walking by this luggage graveyard 17 times, I can confidently say our bags have not been pulled yet.
We approach midnight. 8th hour since arrival at DCA. The stragglers have formed a loose alliance.

I am teaching them what I remember of drill and ceremony and will graduate them to squad infantry tactics if events dictate.
Uh oh. New arrivals have clued in that bags will not deposit at the baggage claims. They go to the @AmericanAir desk and are give the *exact* same line we got an hour ago.

“2 hr wait or bag goes to final destination”

But we were given a 1:18am ultimatum!
For the first time, I suspect @AmericanAir may be plotting against us.
Positive development, construction noise us stopped!
A baggage claim buzzer went off and we all reacted to it like Pavlov’s dogs
It’s not our bags.
construction noise is back
Job Interview guy comes by and he is himself again.

He checked in with desk again and said he was told “it’s just as much of an inconvenience for us.”

Thought this would spur the group to violence but they seem too tired to be provoked.

Fatigue deters indignation, it seems.
12:18. An hour from our deadline. This is like an episode of 24.
Someone invoked the specter of One Who Will Not Be Named, the flight’s defector who made us push back to the gate.

“One person did this! ONE person!”

But I am convinced that we’re being watched in some sort of cosmic stress experiment, and cannot assign blame.
Hope springs eternal as 2 bag handlers push in 2 carts overflowing with luggage.

Imagine being a kid. It’s Christmas morning. You spring down the stairs and sprint to your living room and excitedly look beneath the tree. Only to find it barren

Not our bags. Our journey endures
Wild thoughts have crept into my brain with the fatigue and hunger. My latest theory is that Epstein faked his own death just so he could orchestrate a cruel prank on some unsuspecting citizens.

Prove me wrong.
The good people on American Air flight 4462 out of Jacksonville are all getting their bags off the conveyer and they all look so happy.

I was once happy.
I’m happy for them
45 minutes until the office closes early. Tensions are high.
A moment of candor. I ask them to “be real with us.” And that’s like a double dog dare. If I say be real, laws of the universe dictate that they must drop all pretense and assume a mantle of realness.

“Be real with us. Those bags are going to Dallas aren’t they.”

This spurs some confusion.

Our bags are back there on the plane? (yes)

But you can’t get them? (no)

But there are other bags coming off other planes? (yes)

But not ours? (no)

Can you get them? (no)

But there are other bags being unloaded? (yes)

Just not ours? (right)
we are 30 minutes away from the office closing. It’s like they cocked the hammer back on a gun.
If Morgan Freeman narrated all this it would’ve been next stop Oscar-ville
12:53am. We creep to hour 9. Our bags look increasingly like they’re going to get a free trip to Dallas, where I hope they can at least enjoy the soulful food, vibrant nightlife, and warm southern hospitality that we’ve all come to expect from the Lone Star State.
An automated message announces “the local time is 1am” as if it’s mocking me
Job Interview guy has surrendered and beat a hasty retreat to the taxi line. I wished him Godspeed and vengeance upon his enemies.
The survivors have developed an unspoken form of communication. When our blurry, baggy eyes meet, we shake our heads briefly to relay disbelief. Then we crawl back into the recesses of our own macabre thoughts
1:18am. The hour is upon us. The office remains open but the bags remaining at large.
1:18 was a weird time for an office to close anyway.
1:24am. Office still open but we steel ourselves for the worst.
Another airline employee materializes! Could this be it?
nevermind he left
employee collecting personal effects. It doesn’t look good.
I am studying their body language like I’m David Attenborough in a tropical rain forest
Office remains open. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst
A new employee arrives! In a yellow American Air vest!
There is an officious look to that yellow vest
I used officious wrong. I meant official. It’s 10 hours here and I’m tired. So going to stick with that excuse.
doors remain open and with it the doors to my heart remain open with hope
I can’t help but to flash back to those halcyon days... oh 6 hours ago or so... where we sitting on the runway 6 minutes from departure and 5 hours before our connection boarded.
we were crawling to the takeoff position!
2am. The ground crews are finished. The bags remain on the plane and go to Dallas. If any of you Texans seen a large checked bag with a VMI tag on it, say howdy to it for me.

Defeated but not broken, I head for home while my bag gets all an expense paid trip to Texas.
Some of ya’ll are ripping American Air. I dunno. Some of this was clearly not their fault, like weather and the passenger issue.

And some blaming the person who wanted to get off 6 minutes from takeoff. I have no idea why they needed off that plane so I can’t judge them for it.
As for the delay. And 9 delays after that...

All in, I’ve got it pretty good i think. So I’m grateful some annoying travel issues are the worst of my problems.

I’m not going to try to fleece @americanair over it. I wouldn’t hate seeing my bag again though.
Anyway, thank you for attending my TED talk. /fin
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