Sunday, November 1, 2009

Running through airports, sleeping on airplanes

Where to begin. Firstly, know that we are safe, we are in one piece, our bags arrived with us and our sense of humor is in tact. Praise God for all of those things.

The adventure began with a 6 pm flight from Chicago to London. Had dinner, comfortably snoozing, as comfortable as you can be in economy class on a 777, when the pilot announced, "is there a doctor or other medical personnel on board?"

Yikes. Quick prayer for someone as we didn't know. Fell asleep again. Woke up to the pilot's voice once again, "We're going to need to make an emergency landing in Shannon, Ireland because one of the passengers needs immediate medical assistance." More prayers offered for this passenger.

Lisa had never been to Ireland. Hadn't planned on it right now, but at 6 am local time (about 2 am Chicago time), we were touching down in Ireland. Paramedics boarded the plane, did what they needed to do and took the man out the back of the plane presumably to the hospital. We didn't leave Ireland for 90 minutes. Lisa has now officially been on Irish soil. Well kind of, her feet didn't touch the Emerald Isle.

Our original flight plans had us with three hours to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 at Heathrow. And everyone told us we needed that kind of time.

By the time we circled, and circled, and circled, and then landed, we had less than one hour. Of course we were in the back of the plane. And the plane was full.

When we finally made it out of the plane, the Olympic sprint began. Oh my, Heathrow has got to be the biggest, longest airport with the most switchbacks, corridors, stairwells and THEN A BUS! A ten-minute bus ride to terminal 5.

We made to the security check point to find out they had closed the boarding line two minutes before us. We were, hot, sweaty, hungry and thirsty and about to stand in line to find out that British Air was going to send us back on all of those switchbacks, corridors and stairwells and bus ride to Terminal 3.

There we encountered a security line which snaked for about 30 minutes. It's like we had left the airport and never been inside. Started that process again of taking out the macbook pro, taking off the belt, the jacket, the quart-sized baggie with liquids, but not the shoes.

The gal at American Airlines found out that we were on AA#86 and therefore knew all about the emergency. She was trying everything she knew to get us on a direct flight to Nairobi, but it was booked solid. Next option — Johannesburg then Nairobi. Don't think so. Last option was going to Cairo on Egyptian Air with a connecting flight to Nairobi.

The next leg of running through airports and sleeping on airplanes began.

Since we're getting ready for dinner we'll need to finish this story tomorrow.

The conference is awesome but Africa is even more awesome.

Two prayer requests:

Pray for the man who was taken to the hospital in Ireland.

Pray for me (Anna) as the first photography workshop is tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. That's incredible. I've never been to Ireland either. But I don't want to go because someone had a medical emergency.

    I'm glad you made it and you are in my prayers. Peace,