Hopefully everyone is having a good weekend, I’m not! Where do I begin?
Mileage Run, Mileage Run, Mileage Run…
Yesterday I was supposed to fly from Seattle to Dallas via San Francisco and return from Dallas to Seattle via Houston. I found a cheap United First Class fare that would earn me about ~15k miles and I would be at DFW for about three hours and I could review the AMEX Centurion Lounge there (that I wanted to visit for a long time). So there were two purposes to this trip – the mileage run and the lounge review.
I booked the ticket for this mileage run about a week ago and was scheduled to fly yesterday morning and return around midnight last night. Well, that didn’t happen.
The flight to SFO was on an A319, scheduled to depart at 07:22 and I made it to the airport around 05:10 and firstly headed to the AMEX Centurion Studio to have some delicious breakfast:
Then I went to the United Club around twenty minutes prior to boarding, and had some more breakfast there:
Boarding began right on time, at 06:47. We pushed back a few minutes before scheduled departure time, taxied to the runway, and then stopped and waited for about ten minutes. I could tell something was wrong because other aircraft were passing us and taking off and not only that, I could hear engine #1 being “restarted” several times.
Then finally about after fifteen minutes of waiting on the tarmac, the captain makes on announcement:
Now, 99% of the time they say “folks”, there is an issue and we won’t be flying anytime soon. Well, I was right. The announcement continues:
“We have a mechanical issue with the aircraft… and we have to return to the gate”
And so we did, and it turns out there was some sort of hydraulic issue and it wasn’t connecting to engine #1, but was connecting to engine #2. The captain said exactly what happened but I forgot the exact details (and also can’t remember complicated airplane terminology). Then about fifteen minutes after returning to the gate he made another announcement:
“Folks.. we tried restarting the engine and the hydraulics to see if they can connect.. but it is still not connecting. We will try once more, thanks for your patience”
My connection time at SFO was just a little over an hour, at this point it was past 08:00 and my flight to DFW was departing just before 11:00. So I quickly did the math in my head and since the flight time is usually 1hr34min, I should still be able to make it if we depart around 08:30. And just before 08:30, the captain makes another announcement:
“Ladies and gentlemen, the issue has been fixed but we have another one… due to the strong winds, there is a ground stop at SFO and we’ve been delayed an additional hour, you may stay on the aircraft or get off, your choice”
The departure time was now ~09:30 and an ETA of ~11:00 am. No way I would make the connecting flight, so I decided to get off and go to speak with an agent. I explained to her I was just flying to Dallas for three hours for some business and that there’s no way I would be able to make the connection and that I would just like to call it a day and cancel the ticket for a full refund.
She was very nice and apologised further for the delay and quickly un-checked me and handed me the reservation details and cancellation details. She informed me I would get the full refund within 7-10 business days. Before leaving the airport, I called United and another agent confirmed everything was cancelled and I would be getting the full refund.
The aircraft ended up arriving in SFO just a few minutes after 11:00 and the other flight departed on schedule, so obviously I wouldn’t have made the flight. I left my house at 04:45 yesterday and got back around 09:20… no mileage run for me!
I get that things like this happen and I’m not necessarily mad at anyone, but perhaps a more thorough maintenance should’ve been done while we were still at the gate and perhaps it could’ve been fixed quicker, before the ground stop at SFO was issued..
This weekend was perfect for a mileage run since I had absolutely nothing to do and on top of that, it’s raining and gloomy in Seattle (not surprisingly). And so my life continues…