The crew had already given its safety demonstration, and the captain had just announced that the plane would be pushing away from the gate when the lights went out.
The cabin went deathly silent. I had a feeling this was not a good sign.
Minutes went by with no comment from the captain or crew. Finally, the lights returned, and the captain announced that we would experience a minor delay. He remained confident that we would take off soon and reach our destination on schedule.
As the minutes ticked away, though, that scenario became less likely. After a few more times with the lights going off and a few more reassuring announcements from the captain, the news we had been dreading finally came.
Our flight had been cancelled.
After leaving the plane, we stood in a long line surrounded by grumbling passengers but still confident we would reach our destination in time for an afternoon meeting.
“We were lucky,” one of my two colleagues said. “At least the power didn’t go out when we were in the air.”
When we finally reached the front of the line, the ticket agent advised
that the flight we needed to remain on schedule had only one seat remaining. She booked one of us on that flight and scheduled the others on standby.
The woman at the next counter, though, questioned that strategy.
“There is no chance you’re getting on this flight,” she said. “It’s completely full. I told her that when she called.”
And so back we went to the original counter only to learn that our only option was to take a flight out just before 6 o’clock that evening.
We would miss our afternoon meeting and dinner, and we wouldn’t get in until after 8 o’clock that night.