Kate was to fly out yesterday on a pair of United flights, one from MHT -> IAD, and one from IAD -> SFO, much like the pair of flights I travelled on.
United was kind enough to phone our house at 6 a.m. yesterday and deliver an automated message that the flight from IAD -> SFO had been stone-cancelled, and would Kate please call this 800 number?
So Kate called United, who offered her a booking on a different flight through Chicago which would get her into SFO at midnight. (Her original arrival time was to be 5:45 p.m.) Kate declined, and called USAir, through whom we made the original reservations. USAir tried their best, but their best equated to rerouting through PHL and getting Kate in at 7:52 p.m., which she accepted.
Flew from MHT -> PHL without a hitch. Boarded the plane in Philly. Waited for a bit for some luggage snafus to resolve. Waited. Noticed it was beginning to snow. Heard the first of what would be many, many announcements that they’d be leaving “in 30-45 minutes.” Waited. Somewhere in here, engine troubles of the “we can’t start one of the engines so we’ll need a mechanic and a specific part” variety. Waited. Exchanged increasingly exasperated calls and messages with me while I wended my way through the afternoon sessions at the conference. Waited. Waited while every plane waiting to take off had to wait in line to get deiced. Waited and waited and waited.
In the 4 hours and 45 minutes they were held in the plane on the tarmac, the cabin crew came through twice, offering water. Only after the plane was airborne did the crew “serve” dinner. I say “serve” dinner because this particular flight had no included meal service – instead, the airline had box lunches which they sold to the passengers for $7 a piece. Kate, as ravenous as the rest of the plane by now, forked over her seven bucks for a turkey sandwich and chips.
The plane finally landed at 12:51 a.m., San Francisco time, very nearly 12 hours after originally pulling back from the gate in PHL. Chad and Sarah and I showed up with:
- Sarah’s home made sugar cookies and fudge
- a Nalgene bottle filled with ice water
- a thermos filled with warm water and two washcloths to dampen and provide that “Hot Towel, miss?” feeling
- the car
This is not to mention the flight attendant brusquely informing Kate she couldn’t use the bathroom at the nose of the plane (Kate was in row 8) but instead had to schlep back to the tail of the plane, for “security reasons.” (The day I get USAir to tell me what “security reasons” exist around my fiance’s bladder, I’ll be a wiser man.)
Once I figure out the exact grievances I have with USAir which don’t basically boil down to a saloon-style “YOU MESSED WITH MY WOMAN, YOU DIRTY NO-GOOD SONS OF BITCHES” calling out, I’ll be phoning them up. Jerks.