As I write this, I’m on a flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is a relatively short segment of the trip, only about three hours. It was proceeded by a twenty minute hop from San Diego to Los Angeles, and then a fourteen and one-half hour trek on to Los Angeles.
When I left the OASIS Symposium reception and went to the San Diego airport, I was surprised to find that I needed to go to the Commuter Terminal for the flight to Los Angeles. American Airlines and United both run planes back and forth from San Diego to Californian cities farther up the coast. My American flight was at 9:30 PM but I got there shortly after 8. A little before 9 I heard my name called over the loud speaker and I went up to the American desk. The agent there said that they were putting me on an earlier United so that I could make my connection. I thought that was odd, since my flight to Hong Kong was at 1:50 AM. Nevertheless, I dutifully got on the United prop plane and went to LA. I was assured that my luggage came too.
Most of the international flights out of LAX leave from the Tom Bradley terminal. I came into the United Express terminal and started following the signs for the shuttle bus that runs between terminals. Before I found it, I had already walked to the next terminal. The Bradley terminal was then only four or five away and so I decided to walk the rest of the distance, especially because I would be stuck in a plane for more than half a day. About fifteen minutes later I was at Bradley, got through security without a problem, and walked over to the Business Class Lounge door.
Actually, it wasn’t the lounge, it was a door leading to a shuttle bus to a temporary lounge off away from the terminal. It was weird, leaving the terminal area and being in a bus avoiding taxiing planes, but we got there. I settled in, got online (free wifi), and proceeded to kill almost three and one-half hours. The last hour went the fastest, since I decided to fire up World of Warcraft. I did very well against the ragged wolves, mudbats, and rattlecage skeletons, thank you very much.
They announced my flight, I took the shuttle bus back to the terminal and eventually got to the agent boarding the plane.
It’s always bad when they ask you to step out of line.
Evidently American Airlines, upon noting that I was not on their flight from San Diego to LA, canceled the rest of the segments of my trip to Kuala Lumpur. That is, they put me on United, and then dinged me for not being on American. I’ve learned to remain calm about such things, but this was just dumb. I sat down and tried to smile while I waited, though I suspect it was a weak smile.
Eventually the very nice and helpful Cathay Pacific agent reinstated the two other flights, albeit with different seats. In fact, I had a better seat upstairs on the 747 to Hong Kong. They also assured me that they had my luggage after stating that they probably didn’t. Frankly, I didn’t like their expressing things about my trip in terms of probabilities.
They ripped up my boarding pass between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur and said that they would send a message to Hong Kong to have a new one waiting for me. I smiled, but doubted it would happen. I was wrong. The agent in Hong Kong was waiting for me with the pass, I got through security, walked the half mile to my connecting gate, and the flight I am now on left on time.
Remaining questions: will my luggage be there in Kuala Lumpur? Did American actually cancel the entire rest of my itinerary, not just the part to KL? My guesses are yes and yes.
I’ll know the answer to the former before I post this, but the latter may take some time to confirm. One time I had American upgrade one on my flights to Thailand and when I got to the airport to leave Bangkok at 5:30 AM I discovered that, once, again, American had wiped out that whole section of the trip.
A media and entertainment note: I’m now reading Dan Simmon’s Illium and listening to Mike Bloomfield’s Knockin’ Myself Out album.
Addendum 1: I was wrong again. They lost my luggage.
Addendum 2: I got a message from the hotel front desk saying that the airline had called, my luggage was found, and it will be delivered to me tomorrow afternoon.
Addendum 3: Luggage just arrived, 30 hours after I did.