We got in and found out that we had to race to the next gate because we’d been put on another flight to D.C. that was leaving right away. So we rushed over and got on the plane. And all was well, even though we were exhausted.
Just before we were supposed to take off, an employee backed a truck into the plane and took out an engine. I don’t know much about planes, but apparently that’s an important component of flight.
So we had to go from desk to desk to get a new flight. We unbundled our reservations so one of my coworkers could fly to Pennsylvania where she had family. The other coworker with awesome gold member status got on a flight. Leaving just Dan and me to sit and wait for some plane that would actually fly to D.C. We waited all day. They tried to tell us to fly elsewhere in California, but we refused. In the end, we got two of the last three seats of a flight that late afternoon.
This is what my day in San Francisco was like, after the two of us were left to wait in the airport all day on standby:
- Without super special gold awesome status, you’re pretty much screwed if you want to fly standby. We didn’t make it onto several flights, including the one we were originally booked for normally before the system changed us while in flight.
- Plenty of irate passengers are no fun at all to deal with. I felt so bad for the airline employees, especially when we saw a couple people more than once cheat and cut into lines instead of waiting their turns or yell at employees who can’t make planes appear out of nowhere. What a sucky atmosphere to work in when stuff like this happens.
- There were snarfs ALL OVER the terminal, so that was a benefit. I at least felt a little productive and excited and felt a little strange walking around people to get to them.
- I lived exclusively off Peet’s coffee for a day. I think I visited it four times. At one point, I was so tired I couldn’t stop shivering and I got the biggest cup of hot water and they gave me two tea bags instead of just one and that was awesome sauce.
- We watched a lot of planes come and go.
- I read the two Firefly comics I’d bought the day before, happy for some fannish goodness.
- There was a Japanese art and culture exhibit between terminals and I insisted we walk through it a second time at a normal speed and not a “we have to run to make this plane” speed. Why, yes, you can make a dress out of stuffed Hello Kitties. I’m so glad you asked!
- At one point, Dan took a nap and I started to nod off and woke up about ten minutes later FREAKING OUT and worried I’d slept through our flight, so I refused to go back to sleep after that.
- I read some more Shoebox Project on my iPad and was thrilled to have it as a comfort; got to some funny parts that really made me smile at a much-needed time. Oh Sirius and Remus, how I adore you!
- Being hungry and tired and just wanting to be home and not stuck in San Francisco and wishing the conference department had just rescheduled our flights for us.
When we finally got onto the plane, my seat was on the last row, against the bathroom at the window. The headphone jack did not work, so I couldn’t watch the movie. And the nice couple sitting next to me were SO NICE and sympathetic. At that point, I’d been up for about 33 hours.
I nodded off on the flight for maybe half an hour, but mostly I was so punchy I couldn’t sleep and just read. We were zombies as we waited for our baggage on the carousel, sure we would never see it. We waited. And waited. And then finally gave up waiting. Given all the changes in flights, it was no wonder it hadn’t made the trip. Because so many people had similar things happen, there were hundreds of pieces of luggage just sitting around the baggage carousels. Instead of going to the office and asking, we glanced around and in about a minute we located our bags!!!! We told some random employee, grabbed the bags, and then got the heck out. Okay, I may or may not have bent over and hugged my bag with relief.
Dan took the first cab and then I waited and waited and finally a second one came. I’d started to lose hope. My driver had NO IDEA where my town was *cry* and refused to take the Parkway because of the ice & snow *more crying* so what was normally a 25-30 minute drive home took a little over an HOUR and cost an absurd amount of money. He also complained that they hadn’t plowed my neighborhood well enough, but at that point and that cost he was damn well driving me to my house! I got in around 1am, set my bags on a towel so the snow and ice wouldn’t get on my floor, and called home to let them know I was safe. I was so “up” that it took me another hour or two to finally wind down enough to fall asleep. At that point, I’d been up for about 43 hours.
But I was HOME! And it could have been a lot worse. I slept through a lot of Tuesday, getting up a couple times to check email and eat proper food. I found out later many of my coworkers who had stayed in Seattle did fun things together like taking a ferry trip to an island… while we were sitting in San Francisco airport all day. Boy, that would have been nice. *sigh* But, hey, I was HOME!