Day 1 – What can go wrong, will go wrong -The Hellish Travel to Phoenix
Our big trip dates have finally arrived. We woke up at 4 this morning to make it to our 7 am flight. We decided to use public transport to get to the airport because, well because we have access to it. Mistake no. 1. – we did not check to timings. As we lugged our luggage down the stairs at Journal Square station, the wheel broke off one of the roller bags. The first in long series of unfortunate events. At the bottom of the stairs, we realized we were on the wrong platform. We reached the Newark station, only to realize if we waited and took the air train, we would never make it in time for flight. So we took, what can only be described as a leisurely taxi ride to the airport instead.
Our flight was via Texas and since that flight was full, American Airlines (AA) was offering courtesy baggage check-in which I happily decided to avail. That was mistake no. 2 I must have been really hungry, because before checking my bag in the only thing I grabbed from it was not my wallet or cannot-afford-to-break-them sun glasses, I grabbed a bag of oranges. The Husband’s disbelieving I-don’t-know-what-to-say-to-that-look sent me rushing out of the aircraft, back to the gate to retrieve the said items. It must have been the kajal and the danglers that did the trick, the ground staff actually brought the bag back for me to take my wallet and glasses out. Little did I know, this would not be the end of this issue, but more on that later. As we settled in and waited for the flight to take off, the captain announced that the flight was delayed as a component of the communications system was not functioning and they were waiting for a technicians to come take a look. Surprisingly, 15 minutes later we were airborne.
One orange and a short nap later, we found ourselves in Texas. At Texas we received a call and a message from AA that our flight was cancelled and we would have to re-book at a re-booking station they had set up at one of the gates. In the line there, we overheard someone say that the reason for cancellation was that there was a plane shortage, they had run out of planes. The agent at the re-booking counter said the plane had developed some technical issue and hence the flight was cancelled. I strongly suspect that it was the same plane with the same communications problem, and that they had taken off from EWR without rectifying it. The agent offered us 2 choice,
1. To take a flight to Reno/Tahoe and a connecting flight on their partner US Airways to Phoenix. this flight was due to depart in 20 mins.
2. To be waitlisted on a direct flight taking off an hour or so later, and a confirmed ticket on a direct flight almost 4 hours later. This last flight would reach 1 hour after the roundabout trip offered in option 1.
Pretty certain that we would not be accommodated on the next direct flight and would have to wait for 4 hours in the airport, we took option 1. Mistake 3. We regretted it almost as soon as we boarded the flight. We would be flying for 2 hours away from our destination, and then again another 2 hours or so to it. Essentially we would be wasting time in airplanes instead of an airport. When we reached Reno our worst fears were confirmed. US Airways did not have space on that flight. After wheedling and pleading, and someone else not turning up they agreed to put us on that flight, and here we come back to our baggage problem. They had one condition though, that our checked in bags go with us, or AA provide them with reasonable proof of location of the bags. Since AA could do neither, we got stuck on yet another roundabout trip, this time Reno to LA and then LA to Phoenix.
Once we were seated in the into aircraft to LA, the Husband asked the flight attendant what time the flight was expected to arrive in LA. Believe it or not, she said, “I can’t say. We haven’t even taken off yet.” Seeing the husband’s stunned expression she did go on to clarify, that the flight time was 45 minutes but taxiing eats up a lot of time.
We’ve reached LA now and are waiting for our connecting flight. I hope my bag is waiting for me at Phoenix. Our plans to catch the sunset at the canyon have been completely ruined. If all goes smoothly from here we will reach the hotel by mid-night or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. We’ve slept through most of this flights, but I hope fatigue does not get in the way of our plan to watch the sun rise over the Grand Canyon tomorrow. Even as I am typing this, the husband is trying to sort out the reservations. Tomorrow is another day, and I sure hope it will be worth this one!