How many ways can you hate an airline?-

I took about ten steps away from my friend, went through the security checkpoint and saw the monitor. My flight was canceled. Pam couldn't even be off the airport property, maybe I could catch her. I dialed her cell number- it wasn't on. I went to the information desk and asked if there was any way to get airport security to stop her car. No. I asked for the airport police. They said they were outside. I went outside, no police. They said the police are inside. I went back inside, explained to the tremendously competent staff that the police are not outside. They said the police are upstairs. I gave up on them and called 911 and apologized for calling without an emergency but asked how to find a policeperson at the airport. She chastised me for misusing 911. Well it was too late anyway, Pam was now long gone from the airport area and well on her way on the hour and a half trip back to Stockton. I headed to the Un-flyted counter and again was brusquely put off by a surly owner-employee. I asked for a supervisor and was ignored. I demanded a supervisor and guess who showed up? The police. Right.

Two nice policewomen right behind me. They asked if I had a life threatening situation and I explained and they were VERY nice and VERY helpful and gave me the REAL story of what was going on. They explained that the U-crappy pilots were negotiating for a pay raise from their co-owner-employees by not showing up to fly the planes, that 49 flights had been canceled and yes the United people were big jerks and that they'd never fly U-sucky and that is why they always drive. Oh oh oh if I only COULD have driven!

When the rotten jerk behind the counter saw that the police were on my side, suddenly a supervisor appeared. She was actually kind, decent and competent and told the truth. There was really no point in trying to stand by for the other flights to get home, they were all oversold and backed up with desperate people from those 49 flights, and if I stayed the best I could have done would be to connect all through the night and possibly get home the next day. No point in that when I could sit in the hot tub in Stockton tonight and get home at about the same time. I booked the next flight with her, and she was kind enough to book me on another airline and endorse my e-ticket over. The new flight leaves at 515pm Monday and gets in at 134am Tuesday. I started to rearrange my life to compensate. I called Pam's machine and told her I would head out to that BART station she had pointed out on the way in. It's a long walk to the Sam Trans bus to the Colma BART station, and I was lucky to find I had $1.10 exact change for the fare. The bus came along shortly and 20 minutes later we arrived at the BART station. Turns out I have to change trains at Daly City to get to the Dublin/Pleasantville station and the fare is $4.40. Fine, I can pay with my credit card at the machine right? No, you have to buy a ticket for a minimum $20 if you use a credit card. Never mind how cruel that is, I mean I was traveling the route end to end, and they want a minimum that is nearly five times the longest fare. Fine, I have cash. No, you have to have exact change and I only have a $20 bill left. The kind woman at the BART station took pity on me and gave me a pass to get on the train. As she is writing it, my cell phone rings, it's Pam who feels like a goat because she never turned her cell phone on. She's just arrived at home and now she has to turn around and head back out to the Dublin/Pleasantville BART station to fetch me, and we're both going nuts because we just missed by a hair spending a fine afternoon in SFO. :(

I spent the 45 minute ride on BART writing up some of this story, because I was already forgetting good stuff from Malibu. I also chowed down on that Lobster club sandwich.

I felt better about schlepping those 3 heavy books all around California because now I was asking one of the friends whose book I was carrying to stay over another night caring for my cat. But I was done with schlepping and arranged with Pam to fedex them.

Back at Pam's I set about rearranging everything and spent a long time with Continental working out the e ticket transfer. She said that the United supervisor had given me the papers I needed to board the Continental flight and it was all paid up. She booked my seat, 2A. Dean agreed to watch the kitty and the car service was booked to take me home from Newark. All that remained was getting back to SFO by 5pm because Pam had to go to work and couldn't take me. The "Space Shuttle" had closed for the evening but it looked like I could confirm their 130pm shuttle to the airport in the morning, Pam had already checked and all the other shuttles for the day were sold out. OK so I can't take an early nonstop home. OK so I will get into Newark at 2am if all goes well. OK.

I was obliterated by this point, didn't know what day it was. Pam had arranged a yellow taxi to get me to the Space Shuttle for 1pm. Bed. What a concept.

So now it's Monday morning and I sat by the pool writing this stuff for a couple hours, totally frustrated by Pam's computer for checking out the posts from the Malibu Run folks. I wore down the battery a bit and plugged it in to recharge while I prepared for the last bout against the forces of air traffic. While I waited for the shuttle at the Radisson I was plugged in.

Got to the airport at 315pm, in time to see the 315pm flight on Continental leave for Newark without me. Oh well, it was sold out anyway. At the gate, I was hunting for an ac outlet again so I could write without draining the battery and found one because there was another gal doing the same thing. We shared the current until her plane was called. I wrote for about 2 hours and noticed that it was a bit after 5pm and they hadn't called my flight. I went to the gate to check on the flight and double check my papers to be sure I could board. "No," he says, "you can't board, United didn't give you the ticket." He says I have to go to United and get a ticket printed out. Panic reared it's ugly head. It was a small scene but there was no way around it, I had to take all my stuff and run down 5 corridors to get to United, who was still having problems because of the pilots' action, and get this ticket issued and run all the way back with all my stuff and go through security to make this forsaken flight. The Continental staff was unhelpful except for one important thing:
They gave me a smart carte.

I promise you, you have never seen anything like me running with the loaded smart carte through San Francisco Airport.
Another small piece of luck brought me to the United International counter first class line with a free agent. I threw myself on his mercy, he issued my freakin ticket. I ran the whole way back, in those 3 inch stiletto boots with the smart carte and that long white coat flying behind me. By the way, I discovered that if you run with a smart carte you can kind of lean on it as you run and take huge long strides. I'd scream "ON YOUR LEFT" or "ON YOUR RIGHT" and "EXCUSE ME, I'M SORRY" as I hurtled down the corridors. Another critical small kindness from the security people, they passed my smarte carte through the weapons check. I rebundled my items and ran the last 3 long corridors to the gate, where the self satisfied agent who had sent me off on this wild ride was truly shocked to see me. He said, "You made it!" not in a friendly way, more like, "Gee, I didn't expect to see you for a while." He passed me through and I snarled at him, "Thank you for the cart." At the last door to the plane some idiot in a flight suit remarked something about "Gee, did you have to run." And I retorted, "You will forgive me if I don't have much of a sense of humor." I was red faced dripping with sweat AGAIN and was the last passenger through the door, they closed it behind me. When I got on the plane, this large well built man was sitting in my seat, 2A, and started to give me a hard time about giving it up. He has no idea that he is lucky to be alive after that crap. His name is Doug and he is the General Manager of AT&T Digital. He has been sulking like a child for the entire flight because I made him move. The pilot came out and gave me a wet towel. He said, "I have had to run a lot, I know how it feels."

One more hobo's bath in the airplane lavatory and one last clean shirt and bra, it's nearly midnight New York time and I have just one last thing to say:
May I never take a flight again, I ain't going anywhere except by my car.

nothing like the sweet lights of the city welcoming me home
Goin' West
Part 1 ~~ Part 2 ~~ Part 3 ~~ Part 4 ~~ Part 5 ~~ Part 6 ~~ Part 7 ~~
Breakfast of Champions
Part 8 ~~ Part 9 ~~
The August 5th Malibu Canyon German Roadster Rebellion
Part 10 ~~ Part 11 ~~ Part 12 ~~ Part 13 ~~ Part 14 ~~ Part 15 ~~
Part 16 ~~ Part 17 ~~ Part 18 ~~ Part 19 ~~ Part 20 ~~ Part 21 ~~ Part 22 ~~ Part 23 ~~ Part 24 ~~ Part 25 ~~
Part 26 ~~ Part 27 ~~ Part 28 ~~ Part 29 ~~ Part 30 ~~ Part 31 ~~ Part 32 ~~ Part 33 ~~ Part 34 ~~
Stockton, San Francisco and Getting Home
Part 35 ~~ Part 36 ~~ Part 37 ~~
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