Back to the airport – take five

We got word on Wednesday that we’d have another evacuation flight on Sunday. This was a blessed amount of time to prepare, and we needed every minute. We were able to email confirmations on Wednesday, run a phone bank on Thursday to confirm passengers, and firm up the manifest on Friday. It even took working all day Saturday to solidify our passenger list of 250 as many Americans in Liberia turned down our offer of a seat, opting to either wait it out or or wait until the “next flight.” Unfortunately, we are not a travel agent, and a “next flight” is uncertain.

John and I left for the airport Sunday morning at 6:00 AM. Processing passengers went as well as could be expected (although hot as heck), and we had a finalized manifest of 250 ready by noon or so. We took a lot of precautions to guard ourselves, and tried to create as much distance as possible between us and passengers.   The flight took off an hour or so behind schedule, but compared to earlier flights, it was amazingly fast. John and I were back home before sundown – a success in our minds.

We were surprised by a “kudos cable” to Embassy Monrovia from the Secretary of State, lauding us for our efforts to repatriate Americans from overseas. He cited the consular team’s innovative use of a preregistration process for the flights, allowing a smoother airport process. Better than official recognition were the many emails we’ve received from passengers after arriving safely back in the U.S., thanking us for getting them home.


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