August 27, 2017 at 5:52 am #3966MARCIA KOSTERKAKeymaster
Anyone who is planning to travel by plane may be faced with many challenges and needs a lot of luck to reach their destination and return according to schedule. Some of the pitfalls facing travelers today include:
1. Weather not only at your destination point, but across the country as well.
2. Limitations in using your accrued miles for the round-trip ticket.
3. Additional charges on some airlines for baggage.
4. Getting through security in a timely manner.
5. Equipment on your flights.
6. Loud and boisterous passengers causing additional problems.
7. Over-booked flights.
This past week, I had occasion to travel to the Midwest, meeting a good friend at MKE (Mitchell Field) and driving into Wisconsin. She was coming from SJC (San Jose) through ORD (Chicago) to MKE. I had to go from LAS (McCarran) through DFW (Dallas) to MKE. Our flights into MKE occurred without incident, but returning to our respective homes proved to be a challenge for both of us, but for different reasons. Since both of us were traveling on accumulated miles, we were subject to limitations in scheduling. My friend had to return on a different airline home than she took going there. Because of this, she had to fly all the way into ATL (Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and then fly back across the country to SJC. I was to return by way of DFW to LAS. This is an example of the severe restrictions in using accrued miles. Both our flights were severely overbooked and they were asking for passengers to take a later flight with a voucher as a reward.
The weather for both of us was not a factor inbound, but sure was a factor to return home, especially for me. Many planes were grounded because of the impending hurricane off the coast of Texas. My plane was delayed for two reasons out of MKE. The plane I was to board was coming from Dallas and had mechanical difficulties. They had to find another plane which delayed us almost four hours leaving MKE. In trying to expedite the turnaround time, things began to unravel quickly. Many passengers tried to put two suitcases in the overhead bins and there was not enough room for carry-on bags causing additional problems. Dallas was a transfer point for the bulk of the passengers on this flight and most of us had already missed our connecting flights in Dallas. We finally were ready to fly and the plane began to be towed out of the gate. All of a sudden, the pilot said he would have to wait for the ground crew who forgot to empty the toilet reservoirs. After this initial delay, we then once again backed out of the gate and started to taxi towards the runway. The captain once again announced that lights were flashing in the cockpit indicating that none of the toilets were functional and that we would have to go back to the gate. Not knowing how long this would take, we were asked to deplane and take off our carry-on luggage. After this latest delay, we once again boarded the plane. (Here is the kicker!) Once we took off, we were informed that not all the toilets were operational. When we finally landed in Dallas, I had already missed three connecting flights to Las Vegas and there was only one flight left that night. Once again, they were overbooked because of the big Mayweather/McGregor fight scheduled in Las Vegas. By this time, it was close to 10:00 PM. west coast time (my body was on central time) and as soon as we were airborne, all the lights were turned off in the plane and we were in total darkness. Needless to say, most of us fell asleep and a few decided to drink their way home. I finally reached LAS over four hours late. Fortunately, I was picked up by a friend after midnight and didn’t reach home until after 1:00 AM. I then unpacked my carry-on and then went to bed at 4:00 AM.
There is nothing better than being in your own bed after traveling and I am still trying to catch up on my sleep. After all, it could have been worse. I could have been on a Jet Blue flights where noxious fumes caused emergency landings of two of their planes and the respective crews were taken off on stretchers and landed in hospitals.
Would this trip preclude me from flying again? Absolutely not!
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