and less waiting than you would think. Obviously, an exhausting day.
It started out fine. Up not so early as I saw no point in hauling all my stuff to the Convention Center from the La Quinta for an hour of stitching. Checking out was easy, as was calling a Lyft. No traffic really on the way to the airport so that went smoothly as well. Few at the check-in counter so that was easy as well.
Security? The good part was chatting with the woman ahead of me in line. Just headed home to Chicago after being in Cincinnati for two weeks along with a number of other team members. What was she doing? Conducting AP exams. As it turns out, a school district can’t just offer AP courses, they have to have certified teachers and the exams for those teachers are after the school year finished. Who knew? She was the examiner for Ancient Chinese. The most popular language? Spanish. of course. Additional languages on this run included German and French.
Wait for the plane? No problem except that it was 30 minutes later – and the dominos are starting to fall. Turns out, my flight is one of those point-to-point-to-point type of arrangements. It actually originated in Washington DC and will end in Las Vegas. Explains the weird .ics file I pulled from Southwest. Anyway, the boarding process went alright, the flight to Chicago Midway was fine.
All but 11 passengers on this Boeing 737-700 disembarked. The boarding process went alright except this is a -700 plane. The overhead compartments aren’t all that large which means the 22″ rollers don’t fit except along the plane axis rather than stacking them in narrow side up which increases the number of suitcases by at least one per compartment, There is someone who sticks in a pink roller that is obviously too long to fit and takes a seat. Fast forward to everyone on board. A cabin attendant comes by shutting all the compartments. First attempt at this one doesn’t close. So…. she forces it. The door breaks.
And there we are. Broken door, eight suitcases in the double compartment and no way to take off. (I did mention that this escapade started 30 minutes late…) They call maintenance. Competent middle age guy shows up and takes one look before informing the cabin attendants that there are two choices:
- empty the compartment and tape it shut.
- fix it now – estimated time = 3 hours.
They managed to re-home those suitcases, and we finally took off, short two overhead storage bins taped closed and clearly labeled.
Now, I never take tight connections if I can avoid it. But I had had slightly more than an hour layover in Kansas City. Short flight, quiet flight. Everyone seemed pretty subdued. Plus, the other two cabin attendants were not speaking to the one who had screwed up. As we taxi toward the terminal, I checked my boarding card for my next flight. Gate 34. We come in at Gate 39. I can see down the left side. All the jetways are pulled back and there are no planes. Great – I have missed my flight.
Stupidly, I disembark and check at the desk where they hand me two more boarding cards and a voucher. Fine. But how am I being routed? Phoenix -> Las Vegas where I change planes. There are no more flights direct from here that have available seats. The late night flight? Cancelled. What flight am I taking out of here? The same plane I just left! Boarding #? C29…..
One other thing to note about this particular plane configuration – I can easily stuff my backpack under the seat in front of me if I am seated in the middle or window seat. Not so with an aisle seat. As I am boarding and looking at a full plane, a young man in SW logo clothing gets up from 3C and offers me his seat saying he will grab a jump seat in the cockpit. If I had been thinking, I would have offered to change seats with the passenger in the middle and avoid the challenge of finding a location for my backpack. Problem solved by one of the cabin attendants checking the overhead bins before pulling out someone’s jacket and hat taking up space and placing my bag under them. (Jacket and hat in the overhead? Seriously? On a full flight? Rude.) Then there was the issue of the passenger sitting in the exit row with a pet…. Ok, so SW didn’t specifically say
“No Pets” in the exit row but I think that is pretty obvious. Worse, they had passed the animal off to another friend not in the row during the briefing….And, no, surprise, they were not happy about being forced to change seats rather than pass the pet over to a friend.
All excitement finished, we took off. The window seat passenger in my row, with her well behaved miniature schnauzer, got off in Phoenix as did the guy next to me. Disembarkation went well as did boarding with another extremely full flight. There had been only one other passenger on my original flight who was also Oakland bound. We found each other at the Kansas City Airport as we were the last two passengers to board. My excuse for taking this journey was heading home – she was headed to her son and daughter-in-laws to help out with the grand baby, now a week old.
We had a plane change in Las Vegas. In case you aren’t familiar with that particular airport – there are slot machines all over the place. I am not impressed but at least I didn’t have to go far to find my new gate. Smooth flight to Oakland, disembarkation went well. My bag showed up on the carousel and I took BART home. Of note to my fellow Bay Area transit using friends – the schedule on the website is not correct….
George bailed me out of BART and I was glad to get home.
If you are still reading (grin) the list of airports is
and yes, I managed a bit of stitching but the lighting was poor and I found reading was easier.