Remembering September 2001

On this day in 2001, Sept. 10, I was at Logan International Airport in Boston waiting to board an American Airlines flight that would get me to Calgary after a plane change in Chicago. The turnaround time in Chicago was just 38 minutes, which left me feeling a bit nervous. Would I make my connecting flight? O’Hare International Airport was notorious for delays because of congestion and high winds.

The American Airlines agent assured me everything would be O.K. “It’s a legal turnaround,” she said. I wasn’t convinced. “Put me on standby for an earlier flight,” I said.

I left Logan two hours earlier than my originally scheduled departure time of 4:23 p.m. That meant I was going to be hanging around O’Hare for a while, but I didn’t mind. I would be there in plenty of time to make the last flight out of Chicago to Calgary.

Just as I had feared, the 4:23 p.m. flight out of Boston was delayed getting into O’Hare. It still hadn’t arrived by the time I boarded the 6:44 p.m. flight bound for Calgary. I thanked my lucky stars because I could have been stuck in Chicago that night.

The following morning, safely at home in Calgary, I turned on CNN after hearing a report on CBC Radio that a plane (originally reported as a light aircraft) had flown into the World Trade Center. A few hours later, all civilian air traffic in the United States and Canada was grounded until Sept. 13. A week after that, thousands of stranded travellers were still trying to get out of the States to their homes in other parts of the world.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown’s first day on the job was Sept. 11, 2001. I can only echo what he said shortly after the second plane hit the twin towers: “There are no words.”

2 thoughts on “Remembering September 2001

  1. Wow, Brian! That was quite a close call for you. Glad you didn’t get caught up in the post-911 travel delays.

    I have a friend who was delayed about a week getting back from Barbados. I know it wouldn’t be a hardship to stay an extra week in Barbados, although I never did ask her who had to pay for the extra week!

    Travelling is awesome, but it certainly does come with its expected and unexpected challenges.

  2. I would have enjoyed being stuck in Barbados, Doreen. I have a first cousin who is part owner of the Sandy Lane Resort Hotel, one of the swankiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. He invited all the cousins (61 of us, including spouses!) to stay there for free for a week in September 2005, and we’re still praying that one of these days he will invite us all again :-)

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