Thursday, August 09, 2018

Adventures at Sea-Tac Airport

I hate travel days.  Especially when you are going through Charles De Gaulle Airport on the way to somewhere else.  We arrived, walked long corridors, stood in lines at passport control, walked some more long corridors, used the bathroom, and got on the plane.  (that took 1 1/2 hours) But, we got on the plane and left on time, and arrived at Sea-Tac on time:  2:30 pm.

And waited next to the runway for 40 minutes.

This was eating into my Much Anticipated Leisurely First American Coffee In Three Weeks while waiting for the connecting flight to Pasco.

When we (10 of us) got off the plane, finally, we waited in line at passport control to use the automated input.  Then we waited in line for a person to look at the printout.  Then we waited even longer for our luggage (can someone tell me why the airport personnel can't take the luggage between planes themselves for international flights?) and I got to the gate for the next plane at 4:12...and it was supposed to take off at 4:22.  I already knew the flight had been delayed until 6.  When I actually got to the gate the flight had been delayed until 7:12.

So I got my Much Anticipated Leisurely First American Coffee In Three Weeks.

EVERY flight was delayed by 2 hours or more.

This meant that lines for food were longer than usual.  Lines for the bathroom, fortunately, were normal.

Then, while waiting in line to order food, My friend told me there was a gate change:  S6 to A13, if you know Sea Tac.  That meant I had to eat a faster dinner, and I got a roast beef sandwich (dry) instead of fish and chips (with, presumably, substandard tartar sauce).  It is all airport food.  Which is, well, comparable to airline dinners, which you can only get on international flights anyway.

Now we were next to a flight to Milwaukee that was 2 hours (or more) delayed -- and the pilot had timed out and could no longer fly.  So they called a new pilot in.  This is 5 in the afternoon in Seattle, which is the height of rush hour.  At this hour, I-5 is known as a parking lot.  By the time the pilot got there, the crew were in danger of timing out.  So the solution was to fly to Minneapolis, change crew (but not the pilot) and fly on to Milwaukee.  They would get there faster.

We were next to board our flight (it was now taking off at 7:58), and the gate agent told us we were flying to Milwaukee.  She was at the stage where she could still laugh, anyway.  Pro tip:  sympathize with the gate agent (like me), don't make fun of her (like one of my friends, who shall remain nameless).

The man who was next to me on the flight to Pasco had arrived at Sea Tac at 3, and waited on the tarmac for 2 hours.  It was starting to get warm on the plane.  So I should quit complaining.

What he had heard was that a flight that was about to take off had broken down on the runway (which is better than in the air...) and clearing that up (there are 4 parallel runways at SeaTac) had taken a little time.  All they are admitting to on the internet news was that delays from the east coast due to thunderstorms had lots more arrivals at Sea Tac in the afternoon.

When I landed in Pasco, I thanked the crew, and found out that they were flying back to Seattle and then to Calgary, and their day would probably last until 2:30 am.  And the pilot was likely to time out.

What I have decided is that it is more fun to wait for a delayed flight with 9 friends than when  you are all by yourself.


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