A Clickety Clackety Calamity

April 17, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

3 summers ago my husband and I vacationed in Australia for a month. Getting there was an unbelievable saga. Flight from Lansing to Chicago, uneventful; spent the night in our $56/night airport hotel (and all I will say about that is that you definitely get what you pay for!); took the shuttle back to O’Hare the next morning and were there several hours before our 2:45 pm flight to San Francisco. And then the announcements began: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are SO sorry but there is a mechanical problem with your plane; it is being “looked at” by our mechanics in the hanger, and we will keep you posted as we know more information.”

So sitting at the gate, I watched the flight time change from 2:45 p.m., to 3:00 p.m., to 3:15 p.m., to 3:30 p.m., to 4:30 p.m. (note the leap of one hour) to 5:30 p.m. – at which time we were told that the plane was now “out of service” BUT that a plane was coming in from Rome and that we would be put on that plane with a departure time of 6:30 p.m. And so, other than being irritated, that would have been just peachy keen, and we would have still made our connection in SF to our Qantas flight, except for one teeny-tiny detail: an entire front of thunder storms hit O’Hare (as predicted) at 6:30 p.m., so we sat in our plane out on the runway for another 1 * hours with thunder and lightning crashing all around us, until we got clearance to take off.

And of course, our plane landed in SF 8 minutes after our Qantas flight took off from SF. So –– we stood in line literally 1 * hours at the gate counter while 2 American Airline agents rebooked flights for about 8 people (we were 4th in line). While standing in line, I came to 2 conclusions: 1) a cure for cancer could be found in the time it takes American Airline agents to rebook a flight; and 2) in the name of mercy and sanity, WHY don’t they give these guys silent keyboards???!!! Every single rebooking took at least 20 minutes of “clickety, clackety, clickety, clackety” typing, which, when one has been standing in line for what seems like hours, at midnight (which is really 3 a.m., body time) is enough to cause tired airline passengers to, shall we say, lose patience!

OK – so it was finally our turn, and we found out that Qantas does not fly out of SF every day (this was not information that had been conveyed to us by the original Qantas booking agent), only every other day, so we had to be redirected to LA the next morning and then take the 10:30 p.m. Qantas flight out of LA on Thursday night, which meant AA put us up in a hotel for Wed. night, BUT our luggage was apparently taken off of the AA flight and locked up in the Qantas bag room, which, again, would be peachy keen, except for the tiny detail that since Qantas only flies out of SF every other day, there would be no Qantas staff working the next day to unlock the door and retrieve our bags; so while we could fly on to Australia on Thurs. from LA, our bags would still be locked up in SF until Friday.

To make a long saga, shorter – we spent the night in SF (with no clean clothes, of course); flew to LA in the morning, flew out of LA on the night flight to Sydney (14 * hours); landed in Sydney, filed our missing bag claim and were given $200 Australian to buy necessities; and then flew to Cairns arriving at 1 pm –– with no bags, and still wearing our original “outfits” which by this time could have stood up by themselves. There are no words to describe how TIRED we were, but we had to check into our apartment and head out to the local Target store to buy a few things to tide us over until our bags arrived.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh April 20, 2009 at 2:00 am

There were mechanical and weather problems, that's a fact of life. You are complaining about loud keyboards?? Come on, you really must be joking.

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H E Pennypacker April 20, 2009 at 6:09 am

Hugh: This website, in case you hadn't noticed, is called Flights From Hell…and this, by a long shot, qualifies as one! After being delayed for so long the keyboard noises would definitely be enough to irritate me!

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Amit April 20, 2009 at 8:28 am

Hugh trolls this site incessantly posting a bunch of crap. All he does is berate people because he thinks he is always right and they are always wrong.

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Lawrence B April 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

I fail to see how this was a troll post. I believe it's a legitimate argument. Complaining about loud keyboards seems ridiculous.

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Anonymous April 20, 2009 at 10:15 am

They give them loud keyboards because, as anyone who types for a living can tell you, those are the only kind of keyboards worth using for hours on end. Our gate agents HATE the rubber-dome keyboards; the ones with mechanical key switches are greatly preferred.

(Yes, I work for an airline, and I'm sorry your experience ended up the way it did. Had you asked me ahead of time, I'd have told you to book via LAX in the first place.)

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Hugh April 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

I really don't post as a troll. I complement people, and side with them, when appropriate. I made no disparaging remarks about the author, other than I consider it silly to post about a loud keyboard. If that's trolling, it's a new definition to me. I post, and yes I do think I'm right. When you post, do you think you are wrong? C'mon, I believe that you are over reacting. This was a legitimate disagreement with an author. I think you blew it out of proportion.

As for Lawrence, I must agree with you, he is an idiot. I think that probably many of his comments posts are not him, his writing style as an author is completely different. I think THAT might be a troll. I would almost believe I am wring because HE agreed with me.

In this case, though I really believe I have a legitimate post. if you disagree, that's fine, please post so. Do not however label me a troll, that is not acceptable in my book.

If someone else, like anonymous, agrees with me, and gives a valid reason for the loud keyboards, I think that gives merit to my case, and detracts from yours. I am not however accusing you of trolling, though with your unnecessary inclusion of Lawrence's post, perhaps you do have a bit of troll in you.

Disagreement != Troll

Learn to disagree respectfully and not cry troll at the first argument.

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Julicans April 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

You know what?? Sh*t happens! When you travel now a days you should be prepared for things not to go smoothly. Mechanicals happen and so does weather. With buget cutbacks, employee lay offs, over working planes with fewer inspections things like this happen.

I'm sure you could find the bright side of things. You got to spend time in SFO and LAX, and hopefully you are members of the miles program and got more miles.

Next time, kick back in the bar and relax.

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Hugh April 21, 2009 at 2:57 am

Julicans…I agree. All of the problems experienced were out of their control. Weather issues happen, and much better to address a mechanical issue on the ground than at 35,000 feet. These things happen nowadays. It sucks, it's frustrating, but we unofrtunately have to get used to it. I think after all of that, complaining about the keyboards is a juvenile and nitpicky complaint to say the least.

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Anon April 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Wow, those of you who are arguing over Flights from Hell post really need to get off the computer every now and then and find some other sort way to spend your time.

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Gregg - admin June 19, 2009 at 10:15 am

This is to respond to Hugh's remark regarding the possibility that the author of comment posts signed by "Lawrence Bently" was a different person than the author of a couple of stories contributed to the site (e.g. Neanderthal Man in the Weird People category).

Hugh is absolutely correct. An impersonator has been signing comments with Mr. Bently's name, including the comment that Amit quoted in this thread that was posted for the "Disabled Yet Denied Dog" story (which is located in the Animals category).

It was decided to keep the imposter's comments in order to maintain the integrity of the threads (although one of the imposter's comments in the "Disabled Yet Denied Dog" thread was deleted). The imposter's post name has been changed to "Lawrence B."

Amit was correct in saying that Lawrence B's comment was offensive. Anon very adroitly put him in his place in the "Disabled Yet Denied Dog" thread.

Since I'm unable to monitor comments as they're posted, I've debated whether or not to hold comments for moderation in order to prevent unfortunate occurrences such as impersonations from taking place. I've decided, at least for now, not to do so as I don't want a few contemptible people to adversely affect the vast majority of responsible individuals. Another reason is that fortunately, esteemed commenters on this site have done an excellent job of forcing slimy creatures to scurry back into their little holes.

The site now has a Comments Policy. Please email me if you see any posts that violate its terms, or have any questions or concerns.

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