Untethered in time

On Sunday I flew to California for work, and boy did I have a horrible trip.

My United flight scheduled to leave at 3:25p had no cabin pressure, and no replacement plane was available.

Go to customer service.

The 4p and 5p something flights were full.

Instead, they put me on a 6:12p flight. But the plane for the 6:12p flight was in Chicago. On the ground. Not flying.

Sooo, the 6:12p flight’s departure time was changed to 8pm.

Not good.

Back to customer service.

There is a 6:36p flight, customer service rep tells me. It’s on time. Okay, I say, put me on it. Actually, he says, I’m going to keep you in assigned seats on both the 6:12p AND the 6:36p and whichever leaves first – be on it. Wow, I say, great.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

To recap the story thus far – transfer onto 3 different flights to attempt getting to San Fran, and settled on the 6:36p flight, on time, with a plane and a crew at the gate.

Oh, did I mention the skies outside were dark? Did I mention if I had left at 3:25p the weather rolling in would not have affected me? Yeah, there’s that.

Okay, get on the 6:36p. Pull back from the gate. We’re 15 on line for take-off, which is not great, but we’re taxi-ing to the runway. Things look promising.


It starts to thunder. And lightening. And rain. And wind. Then more rain. Sheets of it, pouring down.

All the planes are huddled on the tarmac, grounded by Air Traffic Control.

Planes on the tarmac at Newark airport 7-28-13

Planes on the tarmac at Newark airport 7-28-13

Eventually, the line of storms pass. We get to the runway and takeoff.

It is 8:30pm EST, seven and a half hours after I left my house for the airport.

And now, I am one minute in the air on a six hour flight

Fast forward 6 hours. We land in San Francisco airport.

I go to baggage claim.

Hi, did my bag arrive already? I was scheduled on a 3:25p flight, so I’m assuming it got here before me…

Bag agent checks my information. No, she says, your bag was put on the 6:12p flight, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

Oh. I feel what little energy I have left draining through the bottom of my feet. And when will the bag arrive?

Bag agent looks at her screen. Hmmm, she says. Maybe 45 minutes? But then it takes them “a little while” to get the bags to us… but, uh, we can deliver it to you. Where are you going?

I have to drive an hour from the airport to my hotel, I say. Can I get the bag delivered tonight, so I can go to work on time tomorrow?

She gives me a kindly, bag-agent smile (she was actually very nice really) and says, we can try and we’d definitely be able to deliver the bag to you IF it arrives before 1am (she means west coast time, of course).

So, I decide to stay in baggage claim and wait for the bag. It does arrive, about 12:15am, which is 3:15am EST (the time zone I came from…)

While I’m relieved to have my bag, I now have to drag my wiped-out body to the car rental counter, get my car assignment and drive to the hotel down a not-so-busy-middle-of-the-night California freeway (the 101, for those who know it.)

I arrive at my destination at 2am PST… and for those counting, yes that is 5am EST (the time zone I left from.)

Total travel time: 1pm EST to 5am EST, 15 hours.

The worst travel day I’ve had in the past year.


4 Responses

  1. Lousy trip. Hopefully you’re caught up on sleep by now. Take care!

    • Unfortunately I wound up having to cancel my early Monday morning meetings (the purpose of bothering to travel on a Sunday to ensure I am in the office first thing Monday…) but, yes, after 2 days my body re-adjusted.

      Well, except when I wake up sometimes and don’t know exactly where I am. That still happens. :-}

  2. Dear Carol,

    I felt bad hitting the ‘like’ button, but it’s the only choice they give us. kind of like flying. At least you weren’t flying Asiana Airlines. Hang tough.



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