Most likely if you have flown on a plane more than a few times in your life you have experienced delays. Unfortunately they happen and almost all of them are unstoppable. Some may be predictable but often they are always unexpected.

Delayed flights can ruin peoples travel plans, cause missed connections and create a lot of stress, understandably.

I, knock on wood have had only had a few delays on my travels and lets hope it stays that way, however I experienced one of my biggest delays this past Saturday.

My morning started at 5:20am, I rolled out of my hostel dorm bed to meet my airport shuttle who decided to pick me up at 5:40am for a 9:10am flight… the things I’ll do to save money getting to an airport.

I arrived at the airport by 7:20am, breezed through security, had breakfast and headed to the gate, that is when it started.

Sitting in Terminal 8, the American Airlines terminal at JFK, 4 different flights were departing around the same time through Gate 31, there were a lot of anxious people waiting to board flights and be on their merry way. Then I heard the announcement that my flight was delayed and a maintenance crew was on board the plane.

The tiny plane that didn’t like me.

9:10am came and went and some time after 10am we boarded the flight. We pushed from the gate and started making our way for the runway, then we paused for quite sometime. I thought because  we were waiting for our turn to take-off. Turns out our initial delay was because the plane was steering too much to the left which they fixed but now it appeared they over corrected and it was steering too much to the right. We headed back to the gate and got off the plane.

We waited another 30mins to an hour and then we re-boarded the plane. It took the crew a few minutes to get together and check things out and then we pushed from the gate and headed to the runway. Just as we approached the runway and it was our turn to take-off we made a 360 getting out of line. Then we sat on the tarmac and waited and then ” Hello this is the aaaahhh Captain speaking, the steering it working fine now, aaahhhh however the breaks… aaaahhhh not so great.” (my adaptation of the quote not word for word from him, they always make long pauses and say ahhhh or ummm a lot don’t they? haha).

We headed back to the gate, this time we were allowed to stay on the plane and the flight attendant fed us pity snacks and drinks. If this is what I have to do these days to get free food on a plane, I’d rather pay. Of course we were then told to get off the plane and we were told they were sending another plane over.

By 3pm, I had used many a Boingo credit on my phone and we finally had another plane and we boarded once again. The flight attendant came by to check on all of us and I suggested we got free beer this time. Happily he agreed, gotta free love pity airplane beer, if only it wasn’t a 75min flight and I could of gotten more than one…

So all in all I was stranded at JFK for 8 hours, de-planed twice and got some free snacks. Thankfully it was when I was returning home at the end of my trip and not at the beginning. I was slightly annoyed but I think I would rather accept a delay then be on a plane that isn’t working “just right”.

Have you ever had a flight delayed? I want to hear all of your flight delay stories! What reasons have you been delayed on a flight for? Weather? Technical problems? People running late? I want to hear them all.


Stanford Finance a place for Stanford students to find success in the Finance Industry