7.22.2019

The Flight from Hell

Sixteen hours in Newark.
A lot of it is recorded in the text alerts:
Translation: the AC is malfunctioning and the cabin is 100F
They have to cool it down.
(Kind of hard to depart in 10 minutes if everyone is still in the terminal)
Translation: all westbound flights are grounded because of weather.
We board. We wait on the tarmac, there's a long queue for the runway. There's a lurid sunset.
8:13
8:33
Plane is broken.
We return to a gate (that takes a while, we have to wait for one to clear).
8:51
At this point, the flight attendants meet their time limit and a new crew has to be located.
I think more weather issues are involved -- lightning and flight pattern closures.
And catering. They have to refresh the catering. This detail annoys everyone.
We reboard. We wait at the gate. And wait. The tow is broken and another is found.
We finally amble onto the tarmac.
The pilots meet their time limit.
We return to the gate.
They can't find anyone to drive the gateway.
Passengers start yelling.
The line at Customer Service to rebook is very long and since my seat was in the back of the plane, I am near the end of it. When the last agent leaves at 3:30am, there are maybe 25 of us without new boarding passes. Most leave in a mob to the lobby. Four of us like the look of being first in line when CS reopens at 5am, staying inside security, and having carpet to loll upon (most of Terminal C is linoleum).
3:40am
Add to the mix a forecast of thunderstorms that will start around 1pm.

5:15 am: get a 1:00 direct flight, same seat. Hmmmm. Will I beat the weather?
Lurid sunrise. 5:24
Trying standby seems worth a shot, since I have nothing better to do.
The 6am to LAX is already boarding, nevermind.
I go to the 7am LAX gate -- first in line! -- and add my name to the list.

I am Standby #6, because of my lowly miles status.

I am the last passenger to board the flight, with a window seat, no less. Whew!
It is an uneventful journey (aside from the new terrible high tech window which remained in "blackout" mode until Arizona).
You can barely see the plane's wing. This is the view at 10am.
I pushed that button many many times, with no success.
The flight attendants had my side of the plane on "blackout" override.
So much for doing artwork of the landscape patterns.
Super annoyed.
SO glad to be home!

[added 7/23] 
I WILL say that the crews and all the agents (that I observed) were GREAT. One of the pilots kept us abreast of what was ACTUALLY transpiring vs the vague text alerts that we got. He was even willing to take the blame (and gave us his name, which I immediately forgot) if anyone wanted to spew angry words at United.
Also, I only heard three episodes of a passenger yelling (one guy twice). 

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2 comments:

  1. We had a flight this summer with american airline that was delayed over and over for 7 hours because they had no crew to fly the plane (when the orignal flight was at 8 pm). We were coming from Europe so we were already tired: it was not fun!
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    1. That happened to us too! It was quite a while ago, with Tower Air. Concurrently, in the same boarding area, was a flight to Tel Aviv that was also delayed and wouldn't get there before sundown (it was Friday). I thought there was going to be a riot (and not the happy kind).

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