AIRPORTS SHUT DOWN! This was the headline in yesterday’s Jamaica Gleaner. It was not so dramatic, but the situation did give me a scare as we were scheduled to fly back to Kingston early Saturday morning. We arrived at the airport on time for our 6:00am departure and everything appeared normal. No warnings at our gate, no warnings before we took off.

However, about 20 minutes into the flight, the captain came on and told us that we would be in a “holding pattern” just before the airspace border with Cuba for awhile. It seems there is a strike at the airport by members of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association. They are fussing with the Ministry of Labour over wages. So members are calling in sick in protest, although a representative says they really are ill. Right.

In any case, I panicked at first. Being 8.5 months pregnant, in the air, away from a hospital, will do that. I envisioned going into labour on the plane and knew right then I had to distract myself to avoid thinking about it. So I read a magazine. I don’t think we were in the holding pattern for long. I guess people showed up for work and we were cleared for land. And I did not go into labour.

As a negotiating tactic, it seems that this is an effective strategy. Delay the flight for a short time to send a message, but don’t cause any major inconvenience. There doesn’t seem to be an update today, I wonder what is happening. All I know is I am on the ground, safe and sound and am grateful for that.

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