US Air “Lightning” Struck Twice

I knew as soon as I heard the PA announcement that Sunday’s US Air Flight 407 home had “poor me” written all over it.

“Attention, all passengers bound for San Francisco on Flight 407. Your flight has been canceled. For passenger assistance getting to your destination, please check with Customer Service, 60 yards down on your left.”

This is exactly what happened to flight 407 on my last trip three weeks ago, except that, last time, I never heard an announcement either.

There were all the usual warning signs. Seasoned travelers learn to pick up on them. First there were the gate changes. I printed out my own ticket on web check-in Saturday night, and it said Gate A29. When I arrived at Barry Goldwater Terminal 4, the information monitors said Gate A18. By the time I walked down to A18, the monitors said B23 – an honest mile to another wing. Talking advantage of the moving walkways, I arrived at B23 where they assured me this WAS the gate, even thought it didn’t even say “US Air”. Some of the crew arrived for flight 407, and I struck up a conversation with one of the flight attendants. She was pretty sure we’d have an airplane.

In another 15 minutes came the next announcement: this had been changed to Gate B28 (not so bad). I walked over. The crew evaporated, never to be seen again.

By boarding time, there was no airplane. That’s pretty hard to hide, so finally the folks at B28 made THE announcement. They never tell you anything until the last possible moment.

While standling in the long line at customer service, I managed to call the US Air toll free number, and let them rebook me to SFO via Las Vegas – same as last time, too.

Oh yes, and flight 294 to Las Vegas departed at 5:45PM at Gate A12, another mile back to the “A” wing, and just a stone’s throw from where the adventure all started so many long hours ago.

Thank the Lord for small favors Dept: they paged me at McLaren air terminal in Las Vegas. They had a first class upgrade waiting for me. So they care, but they’re powerless. I get it.

Door to door, I walked out of the house at Phoenix at 930AM, and walked in the door in the Castro Valley CA apartment at 945PM, meaning “I could have driven faster” wasn’t just an exaggeration.

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