Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Hurricane Today, Gone Tomorrow
I’ve made one business trip per week for the last three weeks. The last one nearly landed me in the middle of Hurricane Charlie. I was sitting in an acoustic measurement facility range house in Fort Lauderdale the night Charlie passed. We were lucky and there were no serious issues.
My only worry was that my flight was going to be cancelled. I decided to switch to the last flight out on Friday evening since most of the morning flights were being cancelled. Our plane took off just fine, got to about 10,000 feet, then turned around. The captain came on and said that the air conditioning in the cockpit was not functioning and, for safety, they were going back.
Now I understand that a hot cockpit from Florida to California (my layover point), would not be comfortable and would endanger our lives. My complaint is that they should have checked this kind of thing out before takeoff! To make a long story short, the repair time exceeded my 1.5-hour layover in L.A. and I missed the last flight on any airline back to Seattle from L.A.
Once again, American Airlines floored me. The agent said that the delay was listed as a weather condition and, since my flight was domestic, they would not be providing me with a hotel for the night. Since my job provides for all travel needs and issues, I didn’t waste my time arguing with her supervisor, but I was not happy at their audacity.
But wait, that wasn’t the end of it. I went to retrieve my luggage so that I could get a hotel for what little remained of the night. I figured I’d get a few hours of sleep, a nice shower, and a change of clothes. However, my connecting flight back to Seattle was with Alaska Airlines, so American sent my luggage to them. Since Alaska was closed for the night, I had no way to get my luggage! At least I got some sleep and a shower. The hotels are always nice enough to provide some toiletries, but putting back on day old clothes is never refreshing.
Overall, the flights themselves were nice and not crowded in the least. The hurricane essentially had no affect on me and, as all of us on that flight kept saying, things could have been a lot worse.
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