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Not Quite the Travel Day We Expected

We didn't really plan on writing a blog for today, but as the day evolved it became apparent that this day definitely deserved its own blog!


Let me start by saying that we arrived safely in Zurich eventually, and the descriptions shared here are not meant as complaints, we are just sharing our "adventure".

We left the house on time (pretty amazing for me) and Chris drove us to the airport. At that point our flight from SD to SFO was on time. While checking-in our suitcase we discovered that my reservation was missing necessary information, which I thought I had added the day before. No problem - the nice United Airlines personnel fixed things and we went through security.


As we walked to our Gate in San Diego we noticed that our flight was now delayed by 23 minutes due to a mechanical issue. No problem - we have still had plenty of time to meet our connecting flight in San Francisco. The 23 minutes stretched to 45 minutes and the issue was resolved; but by then, the airplane had lost its place in line and we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes before we finally took off.


Once in San Francisco we met up with Karen's sister and brother-in-law near the United Lounge, where we had planned to go in and get a snack. However the rules for Priority Passes had changed and we couldn't all get in, so we found a place to sit and got some food. No problem - except the food was stale and we ended up not eating it!


Then we all went to the boarding area to get on our flight to Zurich. We were supposed to board at 2:23, but again, once we got to the Gate there were technical issues and the flight was delayed. Finally the plane was cleared for flight, so we boarded around 2:40 and started to get settled in to our seats. We got glasses of champagne as we waited for the boarding process to be complete. We saw the flight crew getting ready to close the doors, and then ... they didn't. The Captain came on the intercom and said the plane was not legal to fly due to technical problems and we would have to get off. No problem, better safe than sorry.


Here's what happened next:

  • we were told customer service would work with us to find other flights...

  • we were told there might be a plane coming in from Zurich we could use...

  • we have to grab all our stuff and go to another Gate...

  • it would take about an hour for the crew that was on the first plane to come clean this new plane and prep for the flight, and it had come from London, not Zurich...

  • things are improving...drinking cab franc and eating french fries at a restaurant in the airport, and United Airlines is paying for it...

  • there would be a longer wait than announced ...

  • we could board while the plane was going through the safety inspection...

  • because of all the delays the original crew couldn't complete the flight so a new crew had to come to take over...

  • the safety inspection certification needed to be signed and posted and that would take 20 minutes (they couldn't find someone who could sign faster???)...

  • we had to sit on the tarmac again and wait our turn...

  • Nancy is already tired of playing games on her phone and we haven't even taken off...

All in all we left San Francisco about 5 hours late, on a different plane, with a different crew. OK - no problem.


Not long after take-off, as the flight attendants were starting to begin service, we experienced an intense turbulence. The pilot came on and told the flight attendants to sit down immediately. Then a couple minutes later the pilot came on and said something like - OK, the fasten seatbelt sign has been turned off, the turbulence was caused by the exhaust wake of a larger plane in front of us. Now that sounds like a Problem to me.... but evidently not to the pilot.


The good news is we connected with Karen's brother and sister-in-law (they made a cute sign) at the hotel and we are ready to cruise!


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