Our flight out of Minneapolis got of to a slow start because of snow. Not falling snow, but a pile of snow. Our plane was a little late leaving the gate because of several minor issues. The pilot said that we could make up for the delay in the air.
The plane taxied for a short distance and then came to a sudden halt. The pilot came in and told us that if we looked out the left window, the outermost engine was in danger of hitting a snow bank if went forward.
The snow removal crews had left a snow pile that was too high for the very large 747 engine to clear. We were the first 747 to fly out today so they didn’t know that there was a problem until now.
The captain said that a tug would be sent out shortly to push us to a wider taxiway.
Because we were on an active taxiway, we had to stay seated with our seat backs up and no electronic devices. I ended up falling asleep. One of those uncomfortable ones where your head keeps bouncing up and down waking you up. Every time I woke up I’d look out the window and see the engine and the snow bank and know that we hadn’t moved.
After a total of two hours of waiting a tug pulled up to the front of the plane and pushed us to the larger taxiway. That’s two hours to spend in cramped coach seats and being no closer to out destination.
After the tug released us, we were finally on out way. As the plane made our final turning the taxiway to the runway, the speed quickened and the engines let out a deep throaty roar. It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a 747. I’ve gotten used to flying smaller regional jets that the airlines seem so fond of. And their engines produce more of a whine than anything else. I’ve forgotten the sheer guttural sound of the 747 as we powered into the sky. I’m near the very back of the plane so every little vibration seems exaggerated. Over the years I’ve been progressively less comfortable with turbulence and I’m not really sure why.
Our flight is taking us over Canada, Alaska, and then Russia before entering Japan. The captain mentioned that we’d be spending about two hours in Russian airspace. I guess the captain thought we’d be interested in the fact that we’d be flying in an airspace that once would get you shot down.
Unfortunately with the delay, we’re now due in around 6:12 pm Japan time which is 5 minutes after our flight to Bangkok is supposed to leave. Delta has about 11 hours to figure out if we’re going to make our next flight or be spending a night in Tokyo.
Well, we made it to Tokyo and whether by plan or convenience our Bangkok flight was delayed 45 minutes. By the time we made it to the gate we could hear our names being called out for boarding.
As I’m writing we’re approaching Bangkok arriving at 11:45pm Sunday night. Temperature outside is expected to be a balmy 85 degrees.