Sunday, August 7, 2016

What a Long Strange Trip it Was

We're back in Maryland. We left Pismo Beach at 4:00 AM PDT, having been advised by United that the TSA line for the leg from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco is often backed up and cause people to miss their flight. We got there at 4:15, parked the rental car, had to wait out side in the dark, cool misty morning until they opened the terminal at 4:32, sharp. We were first through the United terminal to check bags, and second through the 5 person TSA check station, where were were all but waved through, thanks to TSA precheck which we had both directions this year. I didn't even set off the metal detector with my RFID wallet (my birthday present), since I remembered it this time, and my belt, which I forgot. So we got to sit around in the cleared area for about an hour until it was time for the flight. As promised, the TSA line was crazy in the few minutes leading up to the flight.

We got of the ground in San Luis and landed in San Fran on time, despite to low cloud ceiling at both airports, and had lunch and a stop in the United lounge during the wait for our leg to Chicago. The flight to Chicago was uneventful, boring even, especially because United's inflight internet failed to operate as promised, but we landed on time or better, grabbed another bite to eat in Chicago, and dutifully found the next gate.

And this is where it started to get strange. The plane was supposed to leave Chi town around 7 Central and land in Balmer round 9 PM Eastern, not too bad. However, once on the plane (a 737 much the same as the one from San Fran) it started to fall apart. A long time after the plane should have pulled away from the gate, the Captain came on to announce that the plane had too much fuel, and that trucks were supposed to be coming to take the extra fuel off. How can you have too much fuel? Does it make it too heavy to land? Anyway, about the same time, the air conditioning was off, and they announced that a technician was on his way to deal with that. It took about 2 extra hours for the fuel to be off loaded, and the AC fixed, and the plane finally pulled away from the gate.

But wait, there's more. We got out to the taxi way, and sat a while, and eventually, the Captain came back on and announced that a motor that was supposed to shut off after the plane left the airway did not, which was a definite no go, and they would have to go back to the gate to check it out.

We sat back at the gate awhile, and the Captain came back on and pronounced that they had decided the plane had "too many gremlins" (just what you want to hear), and that they would move us and our luggage to a new plane just coming in in around 15 minutes, and gave us the gate # and let us off the plane. Georgia and I were near the back of the plane and among the last to get off, and by the time we had finished our potty stops, we met most of the passengers from our plane tromping (perhaps stomping is a better word) back to the gate with the gremlin ridden plane, which had been fixed, and pronounced fit to fly.

So back to the original gremlin ridden plane we went, and we waited around a little longer while they found a new crew (a change of crew was required due to flying time). Eventually, a new crew was shanghaied to fly and crew the plane, and we made the one hour and 28 minute flight from O'Hare to BWI, at 12:30 PAMish. As usual, BWI baggage handling took nearly forever, and Georgia called the hotel shuttle immediately upon sighting the second bag, and they missed us on the first go around of the airport somehow, and took over 30 minutes to be picked up. We only got lost getting out of Baltimore once, and then not more than by half a mile. We made it home around 3 AM EDT, to find everything more or less intact, and went to bed without any unpacking.

We just go back from picking up Skye, who's sleeping off her visit to Lori's house on the cool new family room floor.

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