Day 1 in Kenya
Sandy and Cooper dropped me at the airport around 3pm and check-in at British Airlines was a breeze. I took a long, slow stroll through security and to my gate, stretching my legs as much as possible before my 9-hour flight to London. I started reading “Small Fry” by Steve Jobs’ oldest child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs while I waited to board. Boarding was fairly smooth. The expected snow was beginning to fall. They were forecasting 3-6 inches and we hoped to beat it out, but had to stop and be de-iced as the snow was falling a bit faster than they expected. 40 minutes later, coated in anti-freeze, we taxied out to the runway, and were just preparing to rev our engines for takeoff when the runway suddenly disappeared.
The snow came down with a furious wind, and before we knew it, in just 20 minutes, two feet of snow had covered the runway. The Denver airport closed. And there we sat. In the middle of the tarmac. Attempting to return to the gate was out of the question – without the ability to see the tarmac, the possibility of us slipping off the runway all-together kept us in place. We were a large double-deck plane. After two hours, we had run too low on fuel to make the trip to London without returning to refuel. They sent out a “tug” – the little vehicle that pushes the planes away from the gate. We started moving, but the snow was too deep and too slippery and we soon got stuck again. The plows cleared the path in front of us. We inched forward a bit more. They tried de-icing the tarmac under the tug. Got a bit closer. When we got to plan E, the pilot got us rolling and did a shotgun turn to the left, then backed up just a little bit and got us safely to the gate. We refueled while waiting for the storm to abate. When we got the go ahead, at 9:30pm we pulled back from the gate again, and repeatedly were de-iced. The airport had opened a single runway, which they were plowing and de-icing nonstop, waiting for us and a single Lufthansa flight to take off. At 11:30pm, we finally took off. Only 6 hours behind schedule! (As a plus, I did get a chance to watch 3 of the recommended movies from my favorite film reviewer “Boo Radley”… Abducted in Plain Sight, Tig and The Girl King.)
There’s only one British Airways flight from London to Nairobi daily, so I didn’t mind the delay at all.