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After the flight from San Diego to Boston and my volunteering to be bumped experience, I was expecting a smooth return back to San Diego. But this was not to be! The nonstop flight from Boston to San Diego is an early evening flight. We boarded on time and I took my favorite window seat. We pulled back from the gate and then SLOWLY got into the departure queue. It started to rain. I looked up at the sky and I just didn’t have a good feeling about our departure. I think all of us who travel a lot, and who sit at window seats like I do, watching the sky and clouds, develop a sense about these things.
The pilot started giving us the we-don’t-know-exactly-what’s-happening-yet-but-it-looks-like-we’ll-be-here-for-another-fifteen-minutes speech. He did this a few times, and then he turned the engine off. He told us Boston had stopped ALL flights from leaving due to the weather, and planes were not being able to take off to the northwest.
People were free to get up and move around, so I went to talk with the crew. I wanted to know their take on it, whether or not we might have to stop on our way to San Diego to refuel, or even the chances of a canceled flight. They did suggest I call my Hyatt and see about getting a room for the night, just in case. Because I could see from my window seat that some planes were indeed landing and taking off, I asked the crew about this. They told me that Alaska Airlines actually waits longer than many of the airlines before canceling a flight. I took this as hopeful news, since I had called my Hyatt and they were overbooked by 6 rooms!
We waited on the ground for 2 hours before getting back into the departure line! By that time, the line was LONG. I have no idea how these things work, but I could tell it was a crazy mess. I did, however, have the most fascinating time watching out my window. I happened to have the view of both the planes landing and all the planes in front of us as they pulled into line and got ready to depart. So I was watching planes landing, planes departing, planes landing, planes departing every few minutes for about an hour. I’m not a real aviation geek. but it was totally mesmerizing!
We finally took off into an amazingly brilliant sunset, and were able to go all the way to San Diego without a stop for more fuel. The complimentary wine was a nice touch :) And as one of the flight attendants said, it was a Murphy’s Law Dinner night, because instead of loading dinner on the plane, Alaska Airlines had loaded breakfast meals, so if you like eggs for dinner, you were in luck!
It was really late by the time we landed in San Diego and when my bag came out on the carousel, the back panel fabric was ripped half way down. San Diego, being a busy Alaska Airlines location, had two women working in the baggage office. I went to show them my bag totally expecting to fill out some paperwork, and then who knows what.
They looked at my bag, didn’t ask me to fill out any paperwork, and told me they would give me a new bag! I was exhausted so I really had no idea what they meant. The agent lead me to this huge cabinet. She unlocked the door behind which there were at least a dozen pieces of brand new luggage. She showed me two of them, told me one wasn’t very well constructed and won’t hold up well, and suggested I take the other bigger one. OK, thank you very much. I put my belongings in my new bag and off I went. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I have no idea, but it was a quick solution and good by me, and I also received an email with a $25 Alaska Airlines travel credit when I got home.
So all in all, a fabulous holiday in Boston was sandwiched in-between two of the oddest flights I’ve ever taken. One bump that I was nicely compensated for, no luggage for a night, rain/thunder/lightening, sitting for hours on runways watching planes, and new luggage.
Have you ever had a humdinger of a flight like this one that ended in an airline springing for new luggage for you? Let me know in the comments below.