Expat Magazine

The Usual Drama

By Expatmum @tonihargis
So I flew over to London from Chicago on Tuesday night, and - wouldn't you know it - we had some drama. (Come on, when isn't there drama?)
I almost kissed the check-in lady when she revealed that I had been upgraded to business class. My bad back means I can barely sit in a chair for half an hour at the moment without seizing up. Now I could relax the chair back to flat if I wanted to. All was well with the world.  The business class ticket also gave me entrance to United Airline's Red Carpet Club so I took myself along to that quiet enclave and got myself a pinot grigio. For my nerves, you understand.
I hadn't even drunk half the glass when the bar staff all came rushing out from behind the bar, shouting that we all had to leave. Immediately I knew what it was, given that the skies had been getting unusually black before their usual time. A bloody tornado! Argh!
Now before you all sit up and worry on my behalf, it was a tornado warning, which means that there's one in the area and it's headed this way but it might not have actually touched down and it may well head off in a different direction. (We tend to get a bit laid back in the mid-west when it comes to tornaodes. One woman on Twitter was wondering whether she should get the kids out of bed and take them to the basement, despite the warnings on TV advising everyone to do just that!) Anyway, given the liability of several thousand people in a glass structure, the airport powers-that-be decided we all had to go to the underground walk-way in our Terminal.
Now, as well as my fear of flying, I can also be a bit claustrophobic when it comes to tunnels. (I promise I have no more quoibles.) This fear was not so ridiculous given the idiots at the bottom of the escalator who weren't moving further into the tunnel. Just as I foresaw muself being crushed to death by hordes of sweaty travellers, the airport workers turned up to keep everyone moving along.
After about an hour of sitting doing nothing (no reception down there), we were allowed back up. This of course, took a lot longer than getting down there but, since no planes were going anywhere fast, people were polite and patient.
It's probably just as well we were underground because most of the planes were battered around and some had been blown about 30 feet from their gate. A friend's sister was actually sitting on a plane during this time and reported the whole event as being quite scary.
I'm happy to report that, contra to my usual luck, our plane was one of the few that actually got out that night.
And here I am.

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