On Cancelled Flights: A Cautionary Tale

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So I’ve just returned from a quick trip to East Coast for a week on Royal Caribbean’s new ship “Quantum of the Seas.”  While the cruise itself was fun, it very nearly didn’t happen at all, because of a freak (I guess?  I’m from Los Angeles, so basically any snow seems freakish to me) snow storm in New York.  Apparently, the snow caused New York to issue a flight delay, and of the three Virgin America flights going from LAX to Newark that day, only one was cancelled…Mine.

What seemed initially like a mild inconvenience (it was still early in the day, and the cruise didn’t leave until the next day,) quickly became a nightmare as Virgin America said all their other flights were full, and they could maybe get me out there next week.  They suggested they could just refund my money and I could shop around for another flight, but all the other flights on other airlines were either full or averaging around $3,000 for two people.  Ugh.

Finally, after a great deal of badgering, Virgin America (who had initially told me they had no agreements with any other airlines to move people to different flights,) admitted that they could book me on a JetBlue flight that day to JFK, but they were all full.  After I checked online and found some available flights, it took another couple calls to finally get the flight booked.  Subsequently, the confirmation number they gave me didn’t work on the website, and calling, JetBlue was able to switch me to an earlier flight that left from an airport even closer.  Yay!

…Or sort of.  After racing to the airport and making it in time, we were told that the flight was delayed some 2.5 hours from the weather, but that we couldn’t leave the gate area, because if the delay was lifted, they would take off with or without you.

After around two hours, and a gate change to the other end of the terminal later, we had some entertainment as a woman tried to make her flight at a nearby gate.  While the plane was still there, and the stairs were still in position, the gate guy’s radio apparently didn’t work, so he couldn’t call the guy outside to come open the door and get the woman.  While the woman frantically suggested he go out there (he wouldn’t) or that she could go out there (she couldn’t,) there ended up being little she could do besides hammer on the glass screaming to try to get his attention (she was quickly suppressed by the gate people) as he pulled the stairs away and the plane taxied off into the sunset.  Later, she walked back the length of the terminal, screaming unflattering epithets at the gate people, while fellow travelers applauded.

Shortly after, they made another announcement that, what with all the free time, the maintenance guys had examined our plane so hard that it…broke?  And now we needed another plane.  So, another hour delay.  We weren’t sure what was a more encouraging thought:  That the mechanics looked at the plane so hard they actually broke it, or that if we hadn’t had the delay, we would have merrily gone off in a broken plane.

One more gate change back to the initial end of the terminal, and we eventually made it on, getting to the East Coast some six hours later and a state away from our initial plan.

Take Home Lessons:

  • Keep calling.  It’s distressing to think that the squeaky wheel premise is still true, but it took about six calls before anyone at Virgin America offered to do anything for me.  Their first attempt at a solution will be to give you your money back and then wash their hands of the whole thing, but this, at least for me, would have been the worst possible alternative.
  • Try to acquire status on any airline you fly.  I have gold status this year on Virgin America, which gave me a separate number to call and likely gave them more motivation to help me out.  If I hadn’t had any status, I probably would still be waiting on hold to talk to someone today.
  • If you can get booked on another airline, take anything and then go talk to the other airline.  The first airline won’t book you on any flights that have all the cheap seats sold out, but the actual airline may be able to shuffle people around and put you on a better flight regardless.
  • While wacking out and causing a ruckus may make you feel better, it’s probably not going to be more effective than nonviolent resistance.  Your best bet is to try to make allies of anyone you speak with, so that they have some reason to try to help you.
  • Maybe don’t try out new methods of transport in urgent situations.  I figured I would try Uber to get from JFK to our hotel in Newark, but, at three in the morning, with a ton of luggage, I discovered that Uber had suspended my account for having an expired credit card.  Unfortunately, you can’t necessarily figure this out in advance, because everything looks fine until you actually call for the car, which you wouldn’t do until you were on the point of needing the ride.  No points to Uber.
  • Wear socks.  While it was 95 the week I left LA, the plane touched down to considerably different temperatures in New York, and it turns out snow is not that much fun in sandals.IMG_8872

Once Upon A Time, S4E13: “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Spoiler Thoughts:

  • Cruella…has magical dog breath powers?
  • Weird, however I guess without that, her superpower is basically chain-smoking.
  • Oh hey, Regina’s reinstalled as mayor. Because Storybrooke votes the recidivist party.
  • Honestly, I know she’s good and all now, but she did spend a considerable amount of time killing and torturing people.
  • If it were me, I think I’d be up for inviting her to Granny’s, but I’d draw the line at using my tax dollars to pay for her mansion.
  • I see we still haven’t decided on how much assimilation Hook’s done to the Modern World.
  • Actually, why should Belle be so much better at the Internet than he is? Didn’t she spend the last 28 years locked up in the hospital basement?
  • Or did she assume all the memories of when she was “Lacey?” I was never sure how much that curse took.
  • Say, this is a happy library.
  • Belle has maybe not learned her lesson yet.
  • Shouldn’t the license plate be “DE VIL?”
  • Is this a flashback? Why did he seem like he never thought of any of this before, until Regina brought it up?
  • I guess the concept of personal responsibility wouldn’t be that attractive to villains.
  • I feel like we maybe didn’t check the credentials of that Oxford professor all that carefully.
  • I would probably make sure I got the dagger back from Regina at some point.
  • If I were one of these three, I’d wonder why Rumple wasn’t dealing with these challenges on his own, since none of them seem like they’d be too tough for him.
  • See, now that’s why I’d be wondering.
  • All evil people must also come equipped with powers of retrograde amnesia, or no one would ever deal with them again.
  • Gosh, that is some dicey CGI right there.
  • Also, don’t all hearts have the same potential for darkness? Isn’t that what we learned from when Snow kind of killed Cora?
  • Shoutout to the guy who totally ran across the street behind Regina and Emma, functionally photobombing them.
  • Like how the Dark One has fallen so far, he has a FLIP PHONE.
  • Shouldn’t Ursula and Cruella be like 30 years older by now?
  • Letting two arch-evils into town seems like kind of a unilateral decision for Emma and Regina to make on their own.
  • Ok, never mind the Author and the Sorcerer, Storybrooke needs an Archivist to make sure all these magical artifacts get recollected after each use.
  • Carlyle does such a nice job differentiating between all the different Rumple/Gold incarnations.
  • Apparently Snow hasn’t lost that dark spot on her heart yet.

Dragon Age 2: Act 2 Thoughts, Part 1

Spoiler thoughts:

  • You would think, with all of Hawke’s new-found fortune, she’d spring for a decent haircut.
  • Three years, Fenris. Are you even dusting the dead bodies?
  • It took Sebastian three years to figure out that one of the neighbors killed his whole family.
  • Poor Barlin. Still trying to get poison for his traps.
  • Ah Sebastian’s long day’s journey into night at the Harrowman Estate. Home of the most embarrassing Desire Demon victims ever.
  • Merrill’s turn to betray me in the Fade. Fenris and Anders did ok though–I thought it turned everyone but Anders against me last time.
  • Well you have to give Emeric points for persistence, since he’s been pursuing this ladykiller for like four years with no help.
  • Hubert is the worst boss ever. Plus it’s always amazing that you just stand there while he makes all these racist anti-Ferelden comments.
  • I never know what to think about Fenris crushing Hadriana’s heart after he said he wouldn’t. On the one hand, I feel like I’m supposed to be horrified that he broke his word, and on the other hand…slavery, man.
  • But he seems kind of sorry she was so awful he had to kill her. Oh, who are we kidding. Gideon Emery’s voice comes out a character, they could commit genocide and I’d still give them a pass.
  • Anders and Aveline seem to have kind of an ambivalent relationship. All their dialogue is one or the other of them trying to be friendly and getting shut down.
  • Hard to look good, DuPuis, when the woman is standing right there saying you hurt and bled her.
  • Alas for Emeric. The only guy in Kirkwall who was actually trying to unselfishly do good, and everyone thought he was nuts.
  • On the other hand, if you honestly think you can do good in Kirkwall, you might be a little nuts.
  • Why Fenris, this is so sudden. Assuming you consider four years sudden.

Once Upon A Time, S4E12: “Heroes and Villains”

Spoiler Thoughts:

  • Belle always wanted a life in New York City?
  • “If you must know, it’s about ethics in magical journalism.”
  • Funny how no one from Storybrooke ever wants to go to LA or Hollywood or anywhere West of the Mississippi.
  • Well that was easier than expected.
  • “So I’ve figured why you collect so many magical objects!” …He’s a hoarder?
  • Wow–Belle’s outfit shoves her chest all the way up to her neck.
  • I feel like Robin will have to meet some unfortunate end soon.
  • …And, there you go.  Gosh, this seems convenient. They couldn’t find someone else who wanted to leave?
  • If Regina wasn’t so mopey, she’d reflect that Rumple would never leave without being able to take his magic with him.
  • “If anyone’s gonna crush your heart, it’s gonna be me.” Just what every girl wants to hear.
  • Storybrooke has the weirdest library ever.
  • Glad that Elsa has been crammed back into the exact same repressed outfit she wanted so desperately to escape.
  • Wait, what?
  • Why would the villains be in New York?
  • Besides the fact that New York is kinda villainous anyway?
  • Why would he know where Ursula worked? Was he planning to stop by on his honeymoon?
  • Robert Carlyle is great though. His moments really went a long way in redeeming this season.

Dragon Age 2: Act 1, Deep Roads Expedition Thoughts

Spoiler Thoughts:

  • Glad we start off with another heartwarming scene with Best Mom Leandra. “No! Don’t take Bethany! I don’t care if you never come back…”
  • Bartrand: Maybe not the guy you want to go camping with, for a couple weeks.
  • “You wander around in the dark too long, you’ll be eaten by a grue. I read that somewhere. “
  • It’s a wonder they don’t figure out that Sandal’s probably more useful than anything they’re likely to find in the Deep Roads.
  • Say Hawke, maybe you want to put on some gloves before touching the lyriu…oh never mind.
  • Hey, thanks for bringing me along on this family outing, Varric.
  • Bartrand, you goober.
  • I wonder who makes the deal with the rock wraith? You have to figure that you’re not going to be left stranded there forever if you kill it. I guess if you’re going for rivalry just for the heck of it.
  • Given that these chests are netting me about 10 sovereigns, I’m not so sure this is gonna put us on Easy Street.
  • Hey everybody, I’m back! Oh I see you’ve met Cullen…oh…
  • Wait, let me guess, Leandra. This is my fault too.

 

Once Upon A Time, S4E11: “Shattered Sight”

Spoiler Thoughts:

  • Why didn’t the Snow Queen age normally, like Emma and Pinocchio?
  • Regina thought she was being subtle?!
  • I can’t imagine Parilla did not mean that genuinely.
  • I love that she knew no one would ever want carrot sherbet.
  • OMG. Henry used the “Home Alone” gambit.
  • Oh wow. The Wonderland guy must have the best agent ever, to get himself written into each episode for no apparent reason.
  • Man, Snow Queen makes some bad decisions.
  • I don’t believe for a moment, that Regina wouldn’t just kill Snow with magic.
  • How did Snow Queen learn all this other magic when Elsa never even learned freezing magic?
  • Ok, even if Snow Queen didn’t age after she got to Storybrooke, there’s still fifteen years of aging she weathered pretty well.
  • This seems like a pretty quick change of heart.
  • How do we think we’re gonna get back to Arendelle again?
  • The citizens of Storybrooke are the least effective fighters in the history of fighters. No wonder they roll over and give up to any magical person who comes by.
  • Wow, I always think it’s hysterical when someone’s tried to kill me.