Thursday morning (Aug. 9th) aroung 9:30am David dropped me off at the Portland airport to catch my 11am US Airways flight to see my folks back in Virginia. It was supposed to be simple: Board in Portland, transfer in Pheonix, land in DC.
Instead, I arrived in Pheonix to find that my next flight was canceled due to mechanical problems and they were not going to replace the plane. Okay so now what? I was given the option to fly standby on the next flight to DC, so I waited and waited only to find out that flight was full. Then I waited standby for the next flight to Baltimore, (which was close enough to DC for me at that point), but it turned out to be full as well. By this time it was evening, I was exhausted, had a huge headache and had almost finished the book I had just started that morning. I was so frustrated!
One thing I found particularly curious…they offered free flight passes to people willing to bump on the full flights mentioned above, but not to the passengers like me who had no choice but to bump because our flight had been cancelled. That just doesn’t seem right.
When I went back to the line for customer service (again!), my new option was to take the 9pm flight to Chicago, suffer through a 4 hour layover until finally boarding a final flight to DC – or they’d put me up in a hotel and guarantee me a straight flight early the next morning. I chose the hotel (and they threw in a dinner voucher and a breakfast voucher for the next morning).
Let me just say that Pheonix is freaking hot. I waited outside in the shuttle area for almost an hour and had to call the hotel twice, because the shuttle was supposed to have come by twice in that time. I don’t think I have ever been so thankful for AC and a free bottle of water.
The hotel, Crown Plaza, was better than I expected. I requested a non-smoking, quiet room and they gave me one with a king bed that overlooked the sparkling pool and which gave me the opportunity to shoot my first sunset over arizona through my hotel window.
By this time I was swimming in toiletries, not only from the amenities bag from the airline, but also from the hotel, most notably a lovely red organza bag with lavendar linen spray and an eyemask to accompany the provided relaxation cd. Not too shabby. Plus the room was well turned out, and some housekeeper had spent a marked amount of time making things just right – including folding the next tissue in the tissue box and the facial cloths into fan shapes. Talk about the little extra details!
The next morning I boarded the shuttle along with the loveliest french family and arrived with plenty of time to go through security and stop for breakfast. Then the flight began to board. And just when I thought to myself “finally!” there was an announcement to hold off boarding due to more mechanical problems. Can you imagine? Luckily, boarding continued within 20 minutes and I was finally on my way. I just can’t believe how trying it all was. I remember thinking, this must surely be a lesson in patience. And of course it had to happen during a flight where I was alone instead of with someone, like my husband, to help pass the time. Then it would have seemed much more like an adventure than a trial. The most important thing is that I fnally arrived in DC safely, but I will definitely think twice before ever flying US Airways again.