As flawless as my travel east to the west was, my flights going home, west to east, were as bad as the travel out was good. I traveled in both directions with no specific plans on the day of arrival. Because of this, when airlines were looking for someone to bump – of the six flights I was on, all but one was oversold – I was more than happy to offer myself to be bumped. If I were getting compensated for so, I was more than willing to change my travel plans.
The oversold flights from my trip west continued with a 5:49 am flight out of Palm Springs. I did let them know that I was more than willing to fly on a later flight. Much to her credit, the airline employee’s major concern was that I would be getting into Binghamton about midnight. I assured her this was not a problem and I did not live far from the airport. Given that the snow of the week before was gone and weather in Binghamton was forecast to be in the mid-60’s, I was not concerned about flying into BGM late. It ended up that the seat was not needed as several people did not check in.
My sister had been very concerned that I did not have much time between my flights into and out of LAX. I was truly not at all concerned. The smaller plane out of Palm Springs landed at Gate 82 in Terminal 8 and the Boeing 777 flew out of Gate 76 in Terminal 7. I managed to go to the restroom, get a latte and still make boarding of my plane. Little did I know that I should not have bought the food for lunch as I would be in the airport again before long.
I bought some fruit and a large bottle of water at Starbucks along with my gingerbread latte. Starbucks was so nice that they put the food in a small brown bag. Being totally unsure if someone would give me grief for a purse, a laptop bag and the bag of food, I combined items into my other two bags prior to boarding.
After filling the Boeing 777 full to the brim, the captain came on the PA system and said there was a small mechanical problem and our 7:47 am takeoff would be pushed back to 8:30. I knew I had a little over two hours at Dulles to make my next connection so I figured that a 45 minute delay would not be an issue. About five minutes later, the captain came on again. The mechanical repair would take until 9:30. Everyone was to deplane and wait in the airport. Please take anything of value with you were the final tidbits he said. I decided, even though it was bulky, to take both my purse and laptop bag off with me. I was hoping for free WiFi but did not get it there.
As the plane re-boarded, there were several that were not with us any longer. The young Swede who was on the aisle near me had been put on a different flight to be sure he would not miss his connection in Dulles. Still, the customer service people did not move everyone. I had asked to get a seat on the later flight out of Dulles that I already knew was available due to my volunteering in Palm Springs. The representative did not want to do it. I did finally get him to hold me a seat “just in case.”
Since the woman who was seated next to me was ending her travel at Dulles, she was still on the flight. As the four hour plus flight went on, I was very happy the Swede was no longer there as this woman was a mover. I don’t think she sat still the entire time she was on the plane. She would fidget and move constantly. I was happy she had decided to sit in the aisle seat and not her assigned middle seat. I opted to play Bejeweled 2 on the seat back touch screen most of the flight, off and on.
Let me warn you about Dulles. The commuter flights that are operated by small regional airlines but are under a larger airline umbrella fly in and out of the A gates. Not a big deal except that there are only two ways to get to these gates – a shuttle meant to go to the D gates and a train that runs every 2.5 minutes to the main terminal. The shuttle runs during certain blocks of time when those commuter flights are arriving or departing. If you have a tight connection, you may not be able to use the shuttle and may have to take a bus to the main terminal and then the train to the A gates. This is what cost me making my connection on the way home.
Of course, an unexpected four hour delay in my flight home left me with some great people watching time. More later.