Yesterday we flew home to Rochester from Seattle via Philadelphia. It was a red-eye flight and maybe we were a bit cranky from lack of sleep. Our flight from Seattle was delayed by about an hour. Our layover in Philadelhia was reduced to an hour…or so we thought. The flight was scheduled to depart at 9:20am. We are sitting, waiting expecting the boarding to begin about 30 minutes before departure. When I looked back at the board, it now said 9:40. At some point they had changed it. A monitor now showed it as 9:40 and I think it said delayed. *grumble*. Then a little while later I looked up and saw the board and the screen now said 10:00. And a little bit after that, the screen was updated to say 10:10am, but now said ontime. Ontime? ONTIME? It was now expected to depart 50 minutes AFTER the scheduled time, so how it that ontime? They never updated the board by the gate.
Now at some point they mentioned the plane was enroute from Allentown I think. Since the plane plane was ultimately destined to arrive at about 10:00, what were they thinking when they posted that it would depart at 9:40? Obviously the plane was no where near making it to Phili in time to unload and reload the plane fast enough to make the 9:40 departure. So were they lying to us, so that we wouldn’t get upset? Mayeb they thought we would get more upset if they changed it from 9:20 straight to 10:10? Or are they incompetent? Maybe they thought the little turbo prop plane could hit supersonic speeds and get there really fast?
It has been over a day now, and I am obviously still ticked off about it!!! I sat and thought about it, and I couldn’t remember that last time I flew and the plane actually left ontime, or even close.
What is up with these aborted landings? I have never had a plane abort a landing before this trip. But then during this trip we have had two aborted landings.
Our flight into Seattle which was delayed, started to descend, and shortly before touchdown, the plane lifted back into the air, and took about 20 minutes to come around for another try. We never found out why, but my wife suspected the runway wasn’t cleared of something.
Then our very next flight from Seattle to Philadelphia aborted the landing. We didn’t get as low to the ground as we did coming into Seattle. The captain came on the intercom and said that the tower had given them high minimums and they hadn’t seen the runway. Not sure what high minimums are. I will have to ask my brother-in-law who is a pilot. Anyway, he said we would have to come around for another try which would take about 10 minutes.
I am not sure whether these aborted landings are flukes, or if we should actually be concerned.
Sometimes red eye flights are more convenient schedule-wise, or sometimes cheaper. But they can be a real pain too. But in our case the red-eye flight bought us an extra day in Seattle to visit with family, and probably also got us some cheaper air fares.
Our red eye flight last night was scheduled to depart at 11:05. But they didn’t even start boarding the plane until about 10:55. Of course we didn’t depart until closer to 11:30. The plane was full. More than full actually, it was oversold. My wife and I weren’t seated together. We were in the same row, but with 3 seats on each side of the aisle, we were both in the middle seats. But a nice lady with the window seat next to me offered to trade with my wife so then we were together. I put my headphones on and plugged into the armrest. No music. I fell asleep, and don’t even remember takeoff. I woke up a little later as they were serving drinks I got a diet coke. Still no music on the headphones. I took off the headphones, and put them away. I could have turned on my mp3 player at this point, but I went back to sleep. A little later I woke up, and my wife was playing sudoku. She said she was getting music now, but I was too tired, or lazy to get out the head phones again. There was no movie on the flight apparently. But looking at the movie scheduled for eastbound flights, it didn’t look that interesting anyway. I went back to sleep.
I woke up in the morning and we were still in the air. But looking at my watch I was guessing we were going to be arriving late. But that was okay. We had a 2 hour layover scheduled. The pressure built in my ears as we were descending. Sleep was still in my eyes. We got lower and lower, then suddenly the engines came to life, and we started going back up again. What the…? The captain came on the speaker and said the ground had given them high minimums and as they descended they hadn’t seen the runway. So we went around to try again which added another 10-15 minutes to our flight. By the time we were on the ground, we were about an hour later. So our layover got shortened to an hour. Or so we thought. As we arrive at our gate we found our flight delayed from 9:20 to 9:40. And shortly afterward they delayed it to 10:00. Then it is was delayed to 10:10. The flight ended up being delayed about an hour.
There have been luggage weight limits for a long time, but they had been rarely enforced. The first time I remember the weight limits being enforced was at Miami airport when we were returning from a Caribbean cruise (Miami airport sucks). They nailed us for $25 each for two bags that weighed over 50 pounds. We had never heard of anything like that. We have since gotten smaller bags are more careful about packing. We try to keep the bags well under the 50 pound limit.
During our vacation we bought many books which can be heavy. My wife also bought some beads which are kind of heavy. And we also collected a bunch of sea shells, and rocks. In order to keep our checked baggage under 50 pounds, we loaded our carry-on bags with the heavy books, beads, and shells. The checked luggage contained mostly clothes, and shoes. Our checked bags weighed in at 46.5 pounds and 44 pounds. Our carryon bags are pretty heavy though. But with wheeled luggage, it is not that big of a deal since we don’t have to lift them much or carry them. We still made sure to pack the expensive and irreplaceable stuff in the carry-on luggage. But using this method we have managed to bring a lot of stuff home without paying the fees from the overweight luggage.
I grew up about 10 miles south of Seatac airport. When I was young, I spent many Saturday afternoons at the airport just goofing around and exploring. We would spend time on the mezzanine level checking out the displays of confiscated weapons and drugs near the security office. There was one whole concourse that wasn’t being used, and we would slide down the smooth metal divider between the up and down escalators. We would explorer any hallways, unmarked doors and elevators. Once we found ourselves in the control tower when we took an unmarked elevator.
Now as an adult, I fly in and out of Seatac airport when ever I come to Seattle to visit my relatives. The airport has changed a lot of the years. Recently they changed the roads into the airport. It used to be one simple loop. Today as I wanted to return our rental car, I had to drive far more north and then come back down. They had a temporary entrance into the rental car return that was poorly marked and I saw it as it was too late to turn into it. I had to drive all the way around again to make it into the rental car return.
There are far more restaurants and stores in the airport than there were when I was a kid. But then that has been happening in most airports. Of course with all the security changes after 9/11, the airport landscape has changed. There is no way kids could have play in the airport now, like I did as a kid.
There were lines checking in at the ticket counter, but they moved at a reasonable pace. There was a line going through security, and that too moved reasonably.
My wife has the complaint that she went to buy a bottle of pop where she stood in line, only to have the store close as she got to the counter.
But overall it is a decent airport.