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March 6th started off with a call from Charlie, my boss at the courier company. When I can, I work as an air courier, which has helped me explore many different airlines, airports, aircraft, classes of service, and all sorts of other travel-related minutia.
Charlie’s a lady. She called me at 7:30 – I was off work that day and still asleep. “Can you go to Guadalajara today about 2pm?” she asked. “I’d love to.”
The client was supposed to get back to us my 10am about the 2pm departure, but they didn’t get back to us until 12:30. The next flight to GDL was at 5:10pm on United with a LGA-IAH-GDL itinerary.
Enter Winter Storm Saturn. United decided to cancel the aircraft coming in from IAH that was supposed to take us back, so Charlie had to work her magic to get me to GDL, and ASAP.
She found a EWR-IAH-GDL itinerary out of Newark at 5:30. So, cargo in hand, I drove west in my Hertz rental car toward New Jersey. Due to traffic, the air train, and the freaking Holland Tunnel, I didn’t get to the airport checkin desk until 5:06. I tried every trick in the book. And I do mean every trick.
“Can I upgrade to first?”
“Can I check it at the gate?”
“Is there anything I can do to get on that flight?”
No, no, no said United’s version of a Red Coat. “You are late. The flight is closed.”
I pushed my cart into a corner and called Charlie. I don’t know how the hell she did it, but I am writing this on United flight 270 bound for Denver.
So far, the service has been fine. I was highly unimpressed with the unwillingness of United’s phone and desk agents to do anything about the canceled LGA-IAH trip. The offered to put me on the next flight out, but it would’ve caused me to miss the last flight out of IAH to GDL. I would’ve had to stay overnight. The EWR idea was a good one, but it was half-baked. Getting from LGA to EWR is a project. Driving through Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Holland Tunnel (deserves its own mention), and down to Newark was brutal, mostly because of the traffic and the wind kicked up by the storm.
The baggage concierge lady was the nicest of the bunch. Security at EWR was surprisingly easy. As soon as I was out, I was literally 50 feet from my gate.
So now I’m on the first flight. Service is what you’d expect from an economy flight – and it’s a very full one too. Very quiet. No babies, thank gods. The seats are narrow and the legroom is wanting, but what can one expect? Charlie usually gets me into biz class, but everything was sold out today, probably due to the domino effect from the storm’s delays.
The connection in DEN is tight, and it’ll be my first time there. I hope my shipment gets checked through alright. The last leg is on Aeromexico and they interline checked the shipment… I know Delta was stopped doing this, but apparently United still does it.
I wonder if I’ll have to change terminals at LAX. Probably, right?
I’m looking forward to seeing what Aeromexico is like. The feeling I got from United today was ill-prepared and very unhelpful. I’m sorry to say, but that’s the overall impression I get from their unempowered employees.
Still, I’m basically on a mileage run to GDL, and will get a nice batch of MileagePlus miles (from the United flights), and a few SkyMiles (from the Aeromexico leg).
Eff it, I’m buying a Heineken. It’s been a long day of driving through Long Island, delays, setbacks, and finally, flights.
I’m writing this GDL-ATL. Wanted to update about DEN-LAX flight.
EMPTY. I got a whole row to myself. Still had a bit of that slimy United feeling that I generally dislike. There was also a screaming baby who was so loud I didn’t know babies could even be that loud. Also lots of trashy LA people, of course. Despite the loud babies (yes, plural), I managed to get to the REM cycle. I found myself wanting another round of the cycle. But alas, the time to touch down at LAX came much too soon.
Luckily, the gate to LAX when I got out at DEN was just two down. I grabbed a bottle of water and a sandwich, and before I knew it was boarding again.
First thing I did when I got to LAX: cringed. That West Coast vibe just doesn’t do this New Yorker good.
Next up: LAX-GDL on Aeromexico.
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