Last week, I shared a travel experience that ended up becoming one of the worst series of delays I have had in over one million miles of flying. At the time of my last post, I was stuck in Cleveland, and trying to figure out how to get to Las Vegas for a conference, having missed a connection there due to a delayed departure from Milwaukee. Thanks to a very helpful agent at the United Club who kept monitoring space, I was eventually able to get on a one stop itinerary to Las Vegas via Newark. The first option I had was Newark to Houston to Las Vegas. She even cleared me into First Class for the flight from Newark.
Unfortunately, the time it took her to get my ticket reissued (sigh, SHARES), caused me to get to the gate late enough to have to check my roller board. This was an A319 with the new bin doors, which do help with some space for bags overhead, but there are still many bags that require checking. The new bin doors do help, but there still seem to be quite a few bags that have to be checked. That is far from the 50% increase in space as it was pitched.
The flight from Cleveland to Newark was delayed about an hour due to ATC delays into Newark, but I still had several hours until my onward flight to Las Vegas. There was an earlier flight that I was on standby for. When I landed in Newark, this earlier flight showed as delayed, so my plan was to not bother trying to get on this earlier flight, and I’d just catch my confirmed flight, particularly since I had a seat in First Class. My ticketed flight now was posting a delay, but I still preferred that option. I actually called the 1K Elite line to confirm that I didn’t want to take the earlier flight, and was told that I wouldn’t likely clear, and if I didn’t board that flight, I’d be fine with my confirmed seat later. I had a meeting to call into, so rather than wait at the gate for a flight that I likely wouldn’t get on, I returned to the United Club to get some work done.
Unfortunately, things weren’t as smooth as I hoped. An hour or so later, I checked the status of the inbound flight of the plane that would take me to Las Vegas, when I noticed that I was now confirmed on the earlier flight. Argh! That flight was long gone, but another call led to the agent telling me that I was on that flight. Obviously, I was not. I then went to the desk at the club to get back on my original flight. Unfortunately, my first class seat was gone. I was lucky to get an exit row aisle seat on the full plane.
About this time, the full delay had posted, and we ended up about 4 hours late, then had a nice long taxi, so we ended up landing almost 5 hours past schedule. Oddly, this was the one 757 that was reconfigured with leather seats, and had wifi for a short time. The row 16 seat I had didn’t seem to have extra legroom, and did not have the winged headrest, so it was a bit uncomfortable. Due to lack of sleep the night before, I was able to sleep for much of the flight despite the discomforts including lots of passengers who had apparently started their vacation a little early in the bars at Newark while waiting out the delay.
I finally arrived in Las Vegas about 20 hours after my travels started in Milwaukee. It was 2 pretty rough days of travel on United. Fortunately, the trip was fun, and the return flights were uneventful.
More travel coming soon, and now with the furloughed air traffic controllers, more delays seem likely. I hope I don’t get more blog material about my domestic travel!