Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sleepless... Not yet in Seattle


I am typing this while on a flight to Seattle.  The flight was supposed to leave at 8 am but in his routine safety walk around the airplane, the pilot noticed a rather large puddle of hydraulic fluid under the plane. We were delayed. The airline gave us an estimate of a four hour delay.  It was actually four and a half hours.  Honestly, I thought it was going to take longer.  As it turned out, securing the parts took less time than the pre-repair and post repair paperwork.   

We were to connect in Seattle en route to Walla Walla, WA.  We were not alone.  Many others had connections too.  The vast majority of those making connections were on their way to Seoul and other Asian destinations.  If they missed their connections, it was likely they would be arriving a day later.  Logically, the airline gave them priority and stated that only international travelers should queue up at the counter for rebooking.    Forty to fifty people lined up.

I did math.  If our flight to Seattle will be at least four hours late and our layover time was two hours... We would most likely miss our connection.  As there are only two flights a day from Seattle to Walla Walla, it seemed like a good idea to rebook as soon as possible to make that second flight.  The other alternative was to rent a car and make the five hour drive.

I was amazed that so many people were standing in line.  Face to face, there were only two people processing the fifty people who were ahead of me.  It would be one to two hours before I would be in front of the agent.  I did what I had learned to do in such circumstances even before the popularity of cell phones, I called the airline.  It took only a few moments to navigate the menu and get to speak to an agent.  She was most accommodating, quickly gave me my options, and I made a choice.  She re-routed me and there was no charge as the itinerary change was caused by a maintenance issue.  Easy and stress free.  

I was amazed that very few people were on their phones, pads, or laptops re-routing their flights.  The fellow next to me was on his laptop checking flights but did not make a change.  After the line died down, I went up and had our boarding passes printed.  I am not the most tech savvy guy in the world, but I felt way out in front of almost everyone else.

We are headed to Walla Walla to perform a concert of Armenian music at Whitman College.  I was supposed to meet up with Ara Topouzian, Leon Janikian, and Mike Shimmin in Seattle and fly to Walla Walla together.  I will catch up with them later this evening.  

I am feeling so technologically proficient, I think I will post this blog inflight and see first is Ara notices, and then how he will tease me and comment about this.

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