Thursday, May 31, 2007

Living in US Airways airline hell – Part Deux

– Bumping up to first class was definitely a good idea, as the seats are infinitely more comfortable, the bathrooms a lot more accessible and I think they serve food.

Not great food. Maybe not even really good food. But food – something better than the stale peanuts or animal crackers that seem to be standard put-something-in-the-passenger’s-mouth airline fare.

Whoops, the attendant just came by with a basket full of – you guessed it – stale peanuts and animal crackers. “Short flight sir, this is all we have.”

Jaysus. Forget the whole business about the food.

But did I forget to mention the free alcoholic beverages in first class? That’s what happens when you mix margaritas and wine at 36,000 feet. The Merlot right now is icy cold – just the way most Napa Valley vinters would pitch a hissy fit over. But it smooths out the in-flight bumps and so far has made the obnoxious ticket agents we dealt with earlier just bad memories.

They will be memories at least until we hit the ground and see if any of the three bags we checked makes it to PV – and in what shape. A little Xango juice spilled in a suitcase full of luggage goes a long way. Two-liters worth of spill might be spectacular and spark an international incident.

Xango juice
Xango bottle at rest

My earlier entry from Phoenix was written in a big hurry, as we had only a short time to hop onto the now-infamous earlier Puerto Vallarta flight. In Sacramento, we were told the flight was overbooked, but that our bags could be placed on the plane. And in the unlikely event that we did get a seat, we would arrive with our bags. Otherwise they would simply go ahead and be waiting for us.

Not so, said the agent in Phoenix, whose favorite word is ‘no’ and favorite phrase, “I’m not allowed to do that.” His second favorite phrase is “OK, but I am not liable for any of this.”

He also swore my guitar case would not fit in the overhead bin and wanted to check it into the cargo hold – despite the fact it did fit fine in the overhead bin on our flight from Sacramento to Phoenix on a sistership Airbus 319. He’s not much of a music lover, I suppose.

But in the end, we boarded the earlier flight with only faint hope the bags would make it. Most perplexing ultimately is that the Phoenix agent (the not-much-of-a-music-lover guy) said if any of the three bags didn’t catch up with us, they would be on the next plane.

“But didn’t you said that ‘no unaccompanied luggage’ is allowed?”

Damned journalists. We just ask too many questions.

Bumping to first class was also good because, what-the-hell, this is the first day of our retirement, we are flying to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate son Dustin’s 27th birthday, and then will spend nearly two weeks in our adopted towns of La Manzanilla and Tenacatita. Nice to start that adventure off with a bang, even if the first bangs were to our psyches in the airports. (A third bang worth mentioning was grabbing for my guitar when it almost slid off the security conveyor belt, thoroughly wrenching my already thoroughly wrenched left shoulder. I winced bad enough that a female TSA agent came over and asked me if I was all right. A TSA agent! Asking me if I was all right! I should have asked for wheelchair assistance right then.)

We’ll have to see what the highlight of this flight is (aside from frozen margaritas, Merlot and food-like substances) but if I can pull it off, there will be a retirement photo of me published with this entry, thanking the very able captain of this flight for giving us a fine ride to Puerto Vallarta.

She looks like she could the sister of Edie from the television series, Desperate Housewives, but with a much more friendly - and less menacing - smile.

To quote world-adventurer Roger Beardslee – Arriba, mon capitan, Arriba!

British pilot
She got us to PV safely

Later today I'll write about another surprise on board - and the fate of three pieces of luggage and two bottles of Xango.


No comments:

Post a Comment