Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

Things do not always work out as planned. Yesterday we were supposed to fly on United to San Francisco via Washington, DC. instead we flew to SF on Continental via Houston. We arrived about the same time, but there was hassle in between. For folks who don't like to fly/travel, don't read on, as it will just reconfirm your fears.

The main reason for the hassle was the weather. That's something the airlines cannot control. Our flight from Tampa was delayed due to weather problems in Chicago. There was a one hour delay and that meant that we would miss our next flight. That's when the domino effect happened. Not only did we miss our flight but so did hundreds of other folks. The end effect was everyone scrambling to find a way to get to San Francisco.

The person who was helping me had the patience of Job as folks were screaming for flights. I tried to remain cool and calm as I was told that the flights to Denver, Salt Lake, LA, and Seattle were booked. Next she tried an alternate airline and after a lot of keyboard tapping and phone calls, we were booked on Continental to Houston, then SF. Sounds good...but don't be fooled...we had 20 minutes to go back to the main gate to GET the new tickets. That meant we had to take the shuttle back to the main terminal, find Continental, get the tickets, reboard a new shuttle to another terminal, then go through TSA security one more time and finally run like the dickens to get to the gate at the far end of the terminal to board the plane before it shut the doors. We were the last folks on the plane as the doors slammed behind us. One of us in first class, the other in an exit row in the back. So much for our United upgrade.

The flight was 2 hours long and uneventful. The exit row seat was roomy and the rest of the row was empty, so it was doable. The next flight had us in the back of the bus in different rows. As soon as we landed I asked for an upgrade and we were moved to an exit row with a chance of first class. Well, the first class did not happen, but there were only 2 of us in the 3 seat exit row, so we lifted the arms of the seats, and enjoyed the room. Not bad. Continental has roomier exit rows than United. I wonder if that will change when the merger is complete? My guess is it will, worse luck.

We arrived in San Francisco. Our luggage did not. It stayed on United and it is supposed to meet us at home. We are hopeful that will happen.

The flying experience is never easy. It's never straight forward. Given that, it's still very interesting. TSA is a bit intrusive. The other DrC was given the full pat down at the beginning of the he looks like a terrorist I cannot imagine. Maybe TSA should start profiling people to stop some of the needless, not to mention, RUDE, searching that is happening.

Time to board the next flight. It's short, direct and should be relatively easy. I'll let you know what happened.

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