Here we go again

More than twelve hours after my last post, I’m back in SeaTac. As Esta alluded earlier, our plane taxied away from the gate, only to pause before getting to the runway, turn around, and start heading back, to the pilot’s somewhat apologetic explanation, “We got a light on the hydraulics, folks, and we just need to head back and check it out…”

We waited at the gate for over an hour, while the kids in front of me got crankier and nastier at their mom, and the mom got crankier and nastier at Dad, until finally the pilot announced that the plane needed hangar maintenance and that we needed to deplane. In confusion, with no explanation of where to go, we ended up at a sort of confused huddle line around the American Airlines ticket counter, where we got no acknowledgment except for a guy handing out pieces of paper with the 1-800 number for the booking department.

I decided to try the Yahoo travel number first, since I had booked my tickets through them. Big mistake. The voice recognition software, which is OK if you’re calling from a quiet office, got hopelessly confused with all the background noise around me and so asked for corrections twice after every thing I said. You’d think they’d program it to default to number entry after a certain number of failures. Eventually I hung up in disgust and called the airline number. Our line still hadn’t moved. I got through to an agent after a minute, who started checking out possibilities. A promising itinerary, which would have put me at Dulles at the same time as my original arrival in BWI, turned to a blind alley after the American agent was unable to raise United. Finally I got rebooked on a red-eye, went home, slept, had dinner with Lisa and her folks, and came back to the airport.

And here I am, again, enjoying(?) the WiFi and a Black Butte Porter, waiting for a time when it’ll be late enough to merit going down to the gate. I have an hour and a half until I board, almost enough time to watch a movie on the PowerBook. Maybe I’ll start looking at the data.

Oh, the punch line: I at least got upgraded to first class for the first leg of my journey. I might get some sleep tonight after all.