June 18th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

A travel nightmare

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/18/clinton.arm/art.hillaryclinton.gi.jpg caption="Anderson was supposed to interview Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an event for World Refugee Day but will unable to because of her fractured elbow."]

Kay Jones
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer

The morning started off with a bang, as my cell phone rang at 1 AM with a question: have you gotten an email from Sec. Clinton's people?

In my still half-sleep stage, I think I mumbled "wha?" And then checked my email. I had, in fact, received an urgent email from Sec. Clinton's press person stating that she had broken her elbow in a fall and would not be able to do an interview with Anderson today. After alerting the people on our staff who needed to know, I finally went to sleep around 2 AM.

Fast forward 2 1/2 hours to my alarm going off. I took a shower, managed to get on a decent looking outfit and walked downstairs to get into the car to get to LaGuardia airport. Except: no car. I called the dispatch operator and learned it was stuck in traffic, to which I replied: "Really? At 5:30?" So I hopped a cab.

Relieved that I made it to the airport on time, and even more relieved that Anderson had as well, I boarded the plane alongside his publicist, Shimrit Sheetrit.

Since the shuttle flight is open seating, Shimrit and I decided to try and sit together. In true fashion of the way the day had gone so far, we found two seats together ... in the very back row.

Turbulence began almost immediately after takeoff. Being a seasoned flier, it didn't bother me that much, at first. Around 30 minutes later, as the plane was still shaking, the pilot informed us that we were in a holding pattern, as no planes were able to land at Reagan National in DC. Fifteen minutes later, he said they released us, and we would be able to land. But after 20 minutes, and still more turbulence, the pilot informed us we were heading back to New York.

Immediately, Shimrit and I began discussing the options of how to get Anderson to DC to host the UNHCR event for World Refugee Day, and then do the interview with Angelina Jolie.

As we were discussing, I looked back and saw one of the flight attendants, leaning over, garbage bag in hand. In my opinion: never a good sign. Cue lightning strike. Seriously, lightening struck the plane. To which said flight attendant said: "What was that? That's not good". My response cannot be repeated on this blog, but I can assure you, my confidence in getting home in one piece was slowly fading away.

Thirty-five minutes or so later, we finally made it back to LaGuardia airport. Immediately, Shimrit and I were on our phones trying to find a way to get to DC. However, Mother Nature was not cooperating and we had to head back to Time Warner Center to do the interview via satellite. Not the original plan, but when this many things go wrong, you just have to take what you can get.

As for me: I plan on going home, going to sleep, and hopefully starting over again ... this time with better results.

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Anderson's interview with Angelina Jolie for World Refugee Day on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. GodisHerself

    What a weird day this has been in deed, you definitely have Angels protecting you.

    June 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  2. Norma Labno

    06/18/09 For Kay & Anderson and ALL those aboard that flight to DC:

    That was one graphic description of your ordeal on the plane today!

    When a plane wiggles, I hyperventilate.

    Seriously, I Thank God you and Anderson and all the souls on that
    plane – touched down safely back in N.Y.

    I do not write these words lightly. I am massivly relieved!

    American Journalists and Journalists worldwide, are at the top
    of my list of heroes

    "God Bless All of You Each and Every Day and Keep you Safe Now
    and Always..."

    norma from nevada

    June 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  3. azwina

    yes, lightning striking planes does happen! i was just replying to paulo coelho's tweets telling him abt the time on my flight earlier this year from indonesia to malaysia, as the plane ascended i saw from my window seat lightning bolts not so far away amidst the clouds and thought, okay not good how do we fly through this? then our plane flew into this massive cloud and immediately lightning struck and the whole cloud and plane lit up and shook FURIOUSLY for a good 10 seconds at least (which on a plane is a LONG TIME)... people were not happy... but apparently our flight attendants were very cheerful through it all. hopefully that was just to pacify us passengers.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  4. Isabel, Brazil

    Hi, Kay!

    The current problems with flights are leaving everyone scared.
    Last week, I told a friend to stay with God during the flight and he answered me: Do I stay with God in the middle of the flight? Prefer not. Better stay right here...

    There are days it was better to stay in bed, but if is not possible, it is best to count the minutes to come back to it.

    In the end everything will be right!
    If still isn't right, it is because it is still not the end.

    Take care, ok!?


    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Gloria

    Wow! I'm glad to hear that everyone is okay. I'm in DC... so I feel for you you. Trying to land in the mess that we called rain this morning would have been a heroic feat. Thank goodness for having a Plan B, C and D.

    Lol @ the comment on the flight attendant with the garbage bag. That is never a good sign. But I hope that s/he is feeling better. And lightning striking the plane! Are you serious?

    I'm looking forward to tonight's show. Enjoy the remainder of your day. And stay dry.

    – Gloria, DC

    June 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  6. Anna, HK

    Glad you, Anderson, shimrit & everyone else on the flight made it safely back to NY.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  7. jorge PE

    Yeah, God is with you.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  8. Sandy Hughes

    God must of been with you all at the end. Go home and get some shut eye.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  9. Stacy

    Hi Kay. I was thinking about you last night when I heard Sec. Clinton broke her elbow (tweeted by Jack Gray, actually–what would I do without you guys?). I was hoping you had the interview already taped and there would be no drama on your end, but apparently things were worse than I ever could have imagined. But at least it's over now and everybody's fine (except for poor Sec. Clinton). Thanks for the behind-the-scenes scoop. I'll be watching tonight.


    June 18, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  10. vanessa, El Paso, TX

    YIKES!!! Almost sounds like abook I'm reading! I did happen to see Anderson's tweets earlier this morning..and I tell you, I've been knocking on wood, carrying 3 & 4 leaf clovers, cross fingers, toes, hairs, have avoided stepping on cracks..anything to stop any type of bad luck! but thank goodness you guys are okay..looking forward to the special tonight 🙂

    June 18, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  11. missmexy

    if you are a spiritual person I would thank the heavens up above.
    all this was really good luck maybe it could of been worse and you would be blogging much more tragic things. angelina and the kids will be fine..im sure it took stress off of her:)

    i say go kiss some one irish.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  12. Sharon

    I hope your will be blessed with a wonderful day today anderson..

    June 18, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  13. susan

    No. the TRUE nightmare, would be if you had the fate of Air France 447.
    (Do you get double frequent flier miles?)
    You just had the real carnival ride! Now you know why the original Flight Attendants had a lot more training that currently and aeroplane flight was considered dangerous. This is also the reason people still fear flight as opposed to driving in a car (although you are much more likely to be involved in an auto accident per mile traveled.) Note that your plane was configured to deal handily with that lightening strike. Not so your car.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  14. Angie

    oh boy you really work so hard i follow you on your blogs and your twits! please be careful! my twin boys love you since we saw you at New Year Eve in Times Square in 2007 we are at the crowd! and i follow your program everynight! hope you will see Mrs. Clinton soon! after she recovers!

    June 18, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  15. Dean Schindler

    Sometimes it just does not pay to get outta the bed in the morning!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  16. Lauren--NY

    Dear God. I'm so sorry you guys had a terrible morning. I hope the rest of your day is fantastic, even if it doesn't make up for that mess. I'm glad you're all okay, minus one Secretary of State.


    June 18, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  17. Cindy

    I saw Anderson's tweets regarding this. Thanks Kay for the low down.

    Cooper best be careful today! it seems the man has a case of the bad lucks going on!

    And Kay..keep him off of that bike today! The last thing we need is him with some broken bones and unable to do 360!


    June 18, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  18. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Hi Kay

    Yeah i read Anderson's tweet on twitter about his bad luck wow!Lightining stuck the palne how can this happen /Planes fly all the time doesn'
    t the plane have protective armour oto deflect the stike of thunder or lighting i don't understand this it makes me not want to get on a plane yike .Poor flight attendant .

    I hope Anderson has a better rest of the day and you too Kay !

    Michelle D.

    June 18, 2009 at 10:10 am |