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The post 9/11 Flight from Hell

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Flopitbaby, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Flopitbaby

    Flopitbaby Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    First time posting since instead of flying out today to Vegas I sit here typing and thinking of what might have been.
    This trip was the March after 9/11 where I and old high school friends have been attending March Madness in Vegas for 40 years. One of my friends I will call psycho for purposes of what transpired told me at flew out of Rockford IL airport on Trans Meridian for $99 each way which was a huge bargain non stop. He indicated that they flew large planes with plenty of leg room and had never had an issue. So I booked my ticket despite the 2+ hour drive.
    Travel day I hop in my car and make the journey to the airport and am pleasantly pleased that the airport has free parking (At that time anyway). So I meet psycho at the airport and get ready for another memorable trip to the holy land.
    A little back ground on Psycho he had in the last year been hit by a lumber truck that broad sided him in his drivers side door. He was very lucky that he did not have his seat belt on that day or he would not have been making any more trips with us. The impact pinned him on the floor board of the passengers side of the vehicle with the drivers side completely destroyed. He has been through many operations and is on heavy pain medication for his injuries.
    So Psycho is all medicated up and continues to tell me all of the great things about this airline. We board the plane with Psycho and I sitting together and a third friend sitting farther behind us. The first thing I rib Psycho about is that my knees are in my chest from no leg room. He indicates this is not their normal plane. Before takeoff I hear the stewardess tell another passenger that we would need to stop and refuel due to the strong winds and excess weight. I elbow psycho and say I thought this was a non stop flight. He indicates that the stewardess does not know what she is talking about.
    So we are in the air about 2 hours when the pilot says we are stopping for fuel. I look out the window and having no idea how best to describe it I gave it the name Sage Brush Kansas as there was no town just a runway with hangers and a fuel truck.
    So we land and the pilot opens the door and walks down the steps and comes around to our side of the plane where the operator of the fuel truck has pulled up. I see the pilot hand a credit card to this guy and the fuel guy is shaking his head NO ! I am elbowing Psycho who is still heavily medicated and not responding to my taunts saying "what have you gotten me into". Many phone calls are made by both the fuel guy and the pilot and after at least 30 minutes we finally begin fueling. But oh know that is not all after fueling the fuel guy brings the pilot two brown paper bags that I surmise that liquor is in the bags. The pilot comes up the steps and takes the bottles in the cockpit with him.
    All fueled up we are ready for takeoff and barreling down the runway and I look up towards the cockpit and the pilots door is swinging open ! The stewardess in her seat is using her leg to try to keep it shut. No need to say but I am elbowing psycho and am in disbelief. As indicated this is March after 9/11.
    Thank the lord we land in Vegas but before getting off the plane they announce that due to weight they were not able to get all of the luggage on. Yes I was one of the lucky winners.
    So I get up to get off the plane and am waiting for Psycho and our other friend in the seating area. Our other friend comes out and says where is Psycho ? I said he was right next to me and I have no idea. At that moment we both look out the window to see Psycho in the cockpit just berating the pilots. It appears his medication had worn off and we both are laughing our butts off.
    Psycho finally gets off the plane and we can't wait to hear what happened. He says he was giving the pilots an ass full about everything you just read. At one point the pilot asked if he needed to call security to which Psycho replied "I don't know but you might". The pilot explained that when they fuel up in Sage Brush Kansas they either get steaks or bottles of booze and with no where to keep the steaks cold they took the booze. The pilot even offered to give the booze to Psycho to help calm him down.
    So that was the start of another memorable Vegas trip and thank the lord within the year Trans Meridian went bankrupt and stranded passengers where ever they were.

    Everyone stay safe out there and hopefully our beloved play ground will be reopen very soon.
     
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  2. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Great story. So glad I'm not the one who lived through it. :eek:
     
    Hoping the World is open by then.
    Nice hotel, crappy TV
  3. MinRaiser66

    MinRaiser66 Low-Roller

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    upload_2020-3-25_15-8-7.jpeg
     
    • Wow! Wow! x 1
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Low budget airline = low budget flight, lol
     
  5. JaDubya

    JaDubya High Roller? Nah...just a Roller

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  6. Flopitbaby

    Flopitbaby Low-Roller

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    This is true. However about 5 years earlier this same airport had Hooters airline $99 each way with 2 quality Hooters girls in restaurant dress that made the 3 hour and 50 minute flight fly by.
     
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  7. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    Kinda reminds me of the long-defunct PBA Airlines. PBA would make Allegiant or Spirit or Trans Meridian look like full-service airlines!

    Back when I was in college they offered incredibly cheap weekend flights from Boston out to Cape Cod for $15-$19 or so. It was maybe a 15 minute or so flight to Provincetown, slightly longer down to Hyannis. No reservations, you just stepped up to the ticket counter, paid your fare, and jumped on the plane.

    They had a unique business model. In the summer their larger planes served Cape Cod. In the winter their larger planes served the Miami to Key West route.

    Their larger planes were something else. Older second-hand (third? fourth?) 1940s-1950s vintage prop airliners, those where the stairs folded up into the plane and when boarding the center aisle was an uphill climb!

    We were young and oblivious to safety back then. It was cheap enough that poor starving college studii could easily afford it and very convenient.

    Fast-forward several years ...

    I had all but forgotten about PBA Airlines until sometime in the mid 1980s when I was watching the national news on TV. They were reporting that PBA airlines had their FAA license to fly revoked following a string of safety violations and not one, but two, planes crashing into the Florida swamps, with fatalities both times. :( The reported stated that PBA Airlines had long been regarded the most dangerous US airline to fly!
     
  8. NittyOne

    NittyOne High-Roller

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    Ha great story, thanks for sharing.
     
  9. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Wow, great story!
     
  10. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    Oh my! I am not a nervous flier but that might have done me in!
     
  11. vegaskid74

    vegaskid74 High-Roller

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    Holy crap, you're right. I've flown Allegiant and Spirit a few times each and have always felt like I was flying the "Greyhound of the Skies", but I had no idea there were airlines that operated like this. Having to refuel due to "strong winds"? The pilot paying for fuel with a credit card? That's some bush league stuff right there.