As we circled Logan International Airport this morning in a thick fog, the flutter of turbulence compelling us to fasten our seatbelts, it seemed to be taking a little longer to land than we had expected.
Our 17-month-old son was growing antsy.
Then the pilot of our JetBlue flight from West Palm Beach came over the intercom and told us he had waited as long as he could. After about a half-hour over Boston, with visibility limited and strong winds, he had to find another place to land.
“We’re heading to Atlantic City,” he told us, explaining there was no space in Hartford or Providence.
We were among the thousands stranded over the past few days as flights across the country were canceled due to last week’s storm. We were not complaining, especially as the weather in Florida was sunny and in the 70s, while the weather at home was, well, colder.
But after waking at 5 a.m. today for a new flight, and with our son now howling, we were ready to get home.
The half-hour flight to Atlantic City was lengthened as we circled for a prolonged period there as well. We were caught in the cascade of delays that ripples through the system with bad weather.
Mercifully, Wolfy, our son, had fallen asleep, after overdosing on Llama Llama books and iPhone apps.
When we landed, the woman sitting beside me shared an e-mail her husband, a pilot, sent to her. It had a picture of our flight path, which zigzagged and looked like a trip inspired by hallucinogens.
She said she had already rented a car and planned to drive home, thinking it would be hours or longer before we got out. “It’s a bad sign if they tell us to get off the plane,” she said.
A few minutes later, a flight attendant came on the intercom and asked us all to deplane. He had no idea when we would be able to get back on.
Wolfy, now wide awake and eager to move, would make us the last of the passengers to get off. He preferred to roam around the plane, looking for fun things to grab that people had left behind.
When we finally ushered him off, there were firefighters and police at the gate. I thought they might be there to calm panicked, frustrated passengers.
It turned out a fuse had blown on the braking system of our plane when we landed, shooting sparks from the bottom of the craft, a New Jersey state trooper told me.
A rental car began to seem appealing.
As we waited at the gate, our son befriended several dogs that were stranded with us. He showed off his new acrobatic skills, climbing on seats and anything else that seemed inviting.
Within an hour, as we struggled to entertain him, we were called back to the plane.
Wolfy wasn’t happy to be back, especially as it took quite some time to get off the ground. But he now had friends onboard, including the same flight attendants, who plied him with animal crackers, perhaps the first time he had ever eaten cookies.
It was a quick flight back. As we descended into the fog and felt the strong winds again, we did not rue all the snow on the ground or the barren landscape, compared to the tropical climes we had left.