I will NEVER fly into SFO again.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, an explanation is in order.
This latest trans-Pacific journey began with a Southwest flight to SFO – with a SIX HOUR layover (ugh) in SFO (double ugh) to take into account weather, baggage issues, etc… I’m feeling so stupid right now. Fool me twice, well, you know how that one goes.
I arrived early at DIA, checked my VERY LARGE and bulky baggage curb-side, and was cheerily told to “enjoy my flight.” The fact that said flight was delayed two hours due to cluster-f*cks in on the east coast and major fog in San Fran didn’t even cross anyone’s lips at this point. We will talk more about the right hand talking to the left in a minute.
I proceeded in ignorant bliss through security and enjoyed an excellent salmon dinner in the near proximity to my departure gate. And checked my flight status (late) on my phone. On alert but not alarmed, I went to the gate at the “late” departure time. To learn that it was delayed again. And maybe indefinitely. Apparently night fog in SF is as bad as morning fog.
Panic. Even if this flight left on time, I wouldn’t have time to retrieve my large, bulky bags and proceed to the international terminal for an on-time departure. So I headed to the Rock-Bottom Brewery to think things over, possibly call some airlines…have an adult beverage…
Chris and Eric followed me into the bar. For their own super-funny reasons, they had to fly into San Jose and drive to SFO to pick up their car – Chris said, “I hope you don’t think I’m weird to follow you in here, but we can take you from San Jose to SFO if you can get on our flight.” Sh*t. I didn’t even know this was an option. Again, does the right hand talk to the left AT ALL on Southwest? Three airports within 45 minutes of one another; delayed flights; who is NOT thinking creatively?!? Stalk me all you want if you’re going to help me solve a stupid problem like this!!!
This presto change-o took a lot of doing and bitching on my part. I hate the ugly American tourist more than anyone out there, but I had to embrace and even channel her. “So, if I don’t make my Singapore Air flight because of this delay, is Southwest going to pay for my accommodation and re-booking?” That got someone’s attention.
Here was the kicker: my luggage had to be pulled from that delayed SFO flight and transferred to the San Jose flight departing less than thirty minutes later. If my bags didn’t go with me, there was no point to the change.
“I can describe my ridiculous baggage!” I pleaded with the gate agent. “Okay, what does it look like?” Big green bag with orange polka dots and a guitar case with a huge “Colorado” sticker on it. If they can’t find that, they’re clearly blind.
So I stepped aside, fretting, waiting for magic to happen. Somehow it always does…
The gate agent told me to report to the gate where the San Jose flight would depart; my new boarding pass and bags would be there.
Remarkably, this flight was empty. So all those angry people who were waiting to go to SFO maybe never? Yeah, lots of them could have been diverted through this other flight. But alas, Southwest doesn’t seem to employ the most creative of thinkers… or give them the tools to do their jobs better. Tangent – sorry.
So, I actually SAW my big green bag and guitar loaded into the gut of the San Jose plane, and I gladly boarded. Whew! Catastrophe avoided, thanks to my new friends who were going to get me to SFO with TONS of time to spare.
And then when we got to San Jose we were put into a holding pattern; and then we had to wait for a gate. OMG. Are you kidding?!?
All was good, though. The guitar was handled with loving care by Southwest, and my large green bag also arrived in good time. Chris and Eric’s friend was waiting for us curb-side, and we were off. We even had time to drop their friend off at home!
Chris and Eric told me all about the Bay area, their children, their professions, and other cool and wonderful details of their lives. I learned a lot about the Silicon Valley, and had a lovely ride to SFO. Curb-side service, once again.
Humbled by this fortuitous turn of events, I arrived to my gate early. Needing an adult beverage. Check!
I have blogged about angels who have rescued me in less-than-perfect travel situations. Chris and Eric are now officially added to the list.