Flight Cancelled? No Problem If You Are A Pilot

Last week I had an appointment in Vail, Colorado. I took that opportunity to get a few nice hikes and some great dinners in. If you find yourself in Vail, dining at Fall Line is an absolute must.

My flight home from DEN had empty seats and was on time, until a nasty thunderstorm parked on top of the Denver Airport and closed the ramp for an hour. My destination, ORF, is currently undergoing runway construction at night and thus has a hard curfew of 12:15 pm, meaning nobody can land after that time as that is when they are working on the runway. It became obvious that the flight would not make it to ORF before the curfew, so it was cancelled.

While all of the passengers were stuck for the night, I made a quick call to FedEx and listed for their jumpseat. I waited around two hours, got to the cargo side of DEN and then got on a flight to MEM. From there I waited another two hours and got on a flight to ORF. Now to be clear, this took all night, we landed in ORF at 6:30 am instead of midnight like I was supposed to, but I still made it home in time to get my youngest before my wife went to work and then pick up my other kids on time. None of the passengers made it home until the next afternoon. The FedEx pilots are always very helpful and accommodating with their jumpseat.

As an aside to this story, FedEx parks on the other side of the airport from the passenger terminal at ORF, like they do most places. Typically other FedEx jumpseaters have their cars parked at the cargo terminal and give us a ride to the passenger terminal (where my car was), this is a courtesy that they always seem to offer us as they know that otherwise we are stranded at the cargo terminal. Well that morning I was all alone on the jumpseat. I tried to call a cab, no answer. Tried Uber, but the obnoxious restrictions that the ORF Airport Authority places on Uber prevents them from picking up anywhere at the airport except the passenger terminal. I saw a Police Officer, who did not offer me a ride. So I started walking, with my luggage, down a rather busy street with no sidewalk. I got a little past halfway there when a car pulled over, window rolled down and this very nice lady said: “You look like you need a ride!” I gladly accepted her offer and hopped into her car. She told me that she could tell by my dark colored pants, black leather shoes and standard issue pilot suitcase that I was a crew member as she was a Flight Attendant herself. This nice lady did not know me at all, but the aviation community is so tightly knit that she felt safe offering me a ride. She drove me right to my car, first class service from a very kind fellow crew member.