Saturday, February 6

Returning from London

We all know I travel... a lot. I'm a good traveler for the most part, though I can get annoyed in airport lines with people who don't travel as much, not their fault, I know, but still. I've gotten more zen about it recently, really!

I don't pay much attention to flights while I'm on them. I book early, reserve my seat up front, normally a window on shorter flights, aisle on longer flights. I've started carrying my water bottle and have the flight attendants fill it on their first pass through, so that I have water for most of the flight - plus I'm not adding to the many plastic glasses that are used and disposed of.

All this is neither here nor there though, with this story. This story is about my return from London. Remember, the Bone Tired, crazy stressful, deciding the next several years of my life weekend?

I was reading a book, mostly ignoring the women next to me. It's clear skies for most of the flight, though we're heading into night, so soon it doesn't matter. However, I notice as we approach Moscow, that we're above dense clouds. As we get ready for landing, we head into the clouds and it's a bit turbulent. I tend not to mind this, though am a bit more aware as we're on Aeroflot - remember the company with drunk pilots?

We break through the clouds and now I can see the snow covered runway. Landing gear is down and we're close to touching down. Suddenly, the engines rev and the plane is pointing steeply back up into the air. We're back into the clouds, landing gear is raised. We're back in turbulent air for about 10 minutes before anything is said. Apparently it's snowy and icy down there. We circle before trying again. Pilot doesn't even get near the runway this time before pulling up again. It's nerve wracking. I'm not near the people I'm flying with. The Russian woman next to me says, "No worry. Aeroflot good company. Drivers good." Right.

Eventually the pilot comes on and says that they've closed the airport that we're supposed to land in and instead we're heading to one of the other 4 Moscow airports. At this point, I was thinking that they might take us to St. Pete, so still landing in Moscow was a bit frightening. We made it though (obviously) and while frightened in air, once on the ground again, my mind was already skipping ahead to the pain it was going to be getting home from this further airport. Thankfully, the ladies I was traveling with invited me to share their cab (I love my boss!).

What happened to the other half of the flight, headed for Beijing, most of whom spoke no English or Russian, I can't imagine. But I'm sure it wasn't easy as this country isn't really known for their customer service...

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