I’ll keep this update brief, because at this point it’s difficult to report on something I haven’t already, considering I’ve done a similar itinerary about five times this month. A few highlights:
- This morning in the security line at TPA the lady in front of me had the dreaded “SSSS” on her boarding pass, so was selected for additional security screening. In TPA the “SSSS” people stand in a special roped off area until they’re called by a screener. As far as I could tell this lady didn’t speak any English, and she decided to open up the rope, thinking she was supposed to proceed onwards. The TSA agent chewed her out. “You know, there’s a reason you were roped off. If you would have gone through security you would have been denied boarding and would have had to come back here.” He just kept yelling at her, and it seemed like she had no clue what he was saying. And they really wonder why the general public dislikes the TSA so much…
- The door for our TPA-IAD flight closed on time. We pushed back, and after standing still for two minutes I could tell something wasn’t right, since I’ve taken the 6AM TPA-IAD flight probably 50 times in the past couple of years, and not once has it been delayed. We stood on the taxiway for about ten minutes, then continued taxiing for a few minutes to another location and stood there for about ten more minutes. I think I was the only passenger that knew we had a problem of some sort, since everyone else seemed to assume that was standard waiting time. After 20 minutes of standing idle the captain comes on the PA and announces that we had a small mechanical glitch which has since been fixed, but now we’d have to refuel. I’m shocked that UA’s reserves are so low that 20 minutes of idle engines would require a refuel. The refuel ended up taking about 20 more minutes, so we ended up being about 45 minutes late. A few people missed their connection, but I made my flight with a few minutes to spare. When we were taxiing to the gate at IAD the purser apologized for the “small delay,” which annoyed a lot of passengers since they misconnected. I agree it wasn’t the best way to announce it, especially considering most of the passengers didn’t appear to be frequent flyers.
- The IAD-SFO flight was pretty uneventful. After breakfast I took a nap, and I woke up with about 2.5 hours to go. As I woke up the guy sitting across from me said my name, and since I just woke up I had no clue what was going on. As it turns out he’s a FlyerTalker I met for dinner about a year ago in NYC, so we got to talk for the rest of the flight. We discussed the US airline industry (specifically customer service, or lack thereof) for a majority of it, and what can be done to fix it. I never thought I could discuss that topic for a good two hours, but we sure as heck did!
- When I got to SFO I got an EasyUpdate saying that my flight to LAX was cancelled. I went to the RCC to rebook, and ran into a completely sad excuse for a customer service representative. You can read about my experience with him here. I then met up with about eight FlyerTalkers at SFO, all heading to different parts of the country.
- I rebooked on SFO-SAN nonstop, and being a 757 we were about half full in front, mostly filled with commuting FA’s. Two FA’s recognized each other, and one said “Oh, your husband is an air marshal, right?” I laughed out loud, because I found the loud way in which she said it to be funny, and the FA next to me had a confused look and said “what’s so funny?” Overall a very nice flight.
Now I’m sitting in the SAN RCC, awaiting my redeye back to ORD.
OK, I guess maybe that wasn’t as short as I wanted, but I covered everything I wanted to… for now.