Unix, Music, and Politics ... What was I thinking?

Two things have come from Berkeley: LSD and Unix. Coincidence?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


United Sucks

United Sucks!I think I’ve figured out today exactly why firearms are not allowed past the security checkpoint at the airport. If they were not prohibited, there would be multiple United Airlines agents lying dead and bleeding.

My 8:40am flight Monday morning was delayed to 9:05. Meh, big deal. But sitting on the plane at the gate for 90 minutes following the late boarding, it was announced that the forward flap on the left wing was not operating properly. Further, it was necessary to fly-in a part and the mechanic to fix it. Time to get off the plane. The next United flight to Denver was also scrubbed due to a tire pressure problem. Fine. Time for Plan B.

CW Travel located a couple of Frontier flights with seats available that would get me to San Francisco around 4pm. Since I was already ticketed, I’d need to call United for the switch. Great. After a few calls to United, I finally got connected to an agent with a marginal grasp of the English language. He confirmed me on the Frontier flights to SFO via Denver. Problem solved, right? Not exactly.

At the Frontier counter, I was told that both flights were full, and I was not confirmed on either. I’d need to go back through security and wait at the Frontier gate. At the Frontier gate, they used the “confirmed” record locator that United had given me. According to this particular minion of Satan, the United agent on the phone hadn't "done it right", and I'd need to go see the United gate agent to have them fix it. The ONE United gate agent already servicing a line of 20+ people. And I had 5 minutes before standby seats were released on the Frontier flight. This is the point at which my cherub-like demeanor began to wane.

Back to the United line for a lengthy wait. Long enough to miss the Frontier flight. It's now nearly 1pm. United thought the original plane for flight 1231 to Denver would probably be ready to re-board and leave around 3pm. But hey, what's a 6-hour delay among friends? Make that a 9-hour delay. We did not board the 8:40am flight to Denver until 6pm. The next connecting flight from Denver got me into Oakland kinda late. I think it was just beyond the point where nocturnal woodland creatures say, "Screw this, it's late and I'm tired. Let's go to bed."

Fast forward to Friday. The engagement is done, the customer is happy, and I'm back at the Oakland International Airport where my departing flight with United seems to be on time. Stupid me. Two minutes after we were to board United 452 to Denver, it was announced that the flight was one stewardess short and would be delayed by about an hour. Perfect! If, IF I manage to get in the air an hour late, I'll have just enough time to catch my connecting flight in Denver.

The wayward stewardess showed up from San Francisco, and we were on our way about an hour late. When I got to Denver, I find out that my connecting flight has been delayed by about 30 minutes. After arriving at gate B26, I had to make my way clear down to B55. After waiting for my delayed connecting flight, we get a gate change announcement gleefully informing us that the new deparutre gate will be B33. I'm convinced someone with a sadistic sense of humor and access to security video is manipulating all of this.

Down to gate B33 I go where we all wait again and enjoy the B31 gate agent make six (SIX!) final boarding calls for the flight to Dulles. So is it final or not. Apparently the first five really weren't. Yes, well back to my flight which is now boarding. And quickly. We've been cautioned by our expert gate agent that we must board quickly and get off the ground lest our pilots cannot fly due to being out of their duty hours. Oh, that is rich. After what I've been through this week, they can just sit down, shut up, and fly the stupid plane regardless of how long I take to find my seat.

As the final insult, I find myself in a window seat sandwiched between the fuselage and the girth of a 600+ pound man. I'm not a small person, but at least I fit all of me into one airline seat. I feel sorry for the guy that was next to me, but honestsly he should have purchased two airline seats rather than sharing himself with his adjacent passengers. All kidding aside, only 34% of this guy fit in his assigned seat. Another 33% pinned me to the window and the final 33% forced his other seatmate to lean way into the aisle. Frankly, it was gross.

With no thanks to United, I made it back to OKC late but with just enough sanity left to drive home and pass out. I swear to you my Labrador Retriever could do a better job of running an airline. Fuel prices are not the problem. Rude, clueless, inept people "running" the airline are the real downfall.


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