Creeping delays, a late evening flight, and a 45-minute connection in San Francisco very nearly doomed my United 1K mileage run to Sydney.
All day my flight from Burbank to San Francisco showed on-time, but all day I knew it would not be. That’s because of the “Where is this aircraft coming from?” feature on the United app.
My CRJ-200 that would take me to SFO was having a busy day. From San Francisco to Calgary in the morning, then back to San Francisco, then down to Burbank, and finally back to SFO.
I noticed the flight to Calgary was delayed. That caused an even longer delay on the return to San Francisco, and of course another delay down to Burbank.
But my flight was still showing on time…even though my plane was scheduled to land three minutes before takeoff…
The delay finally posted and because the schedule is well-padded, we were only due into San Francisco about 15 minutes late.
Even with a now tighter connection, I could make it.
Oh by the way, could I have booked an earlier flight from Burbank and avoided the stress? I could have…but I was not about to sacrifice even more time away from my family.
The ground staff at Burbank did a great job of getting everyone off and then back on again. In fact, it happened so quickly the captain proudly proclaimed we would be landing on-time in SFO.
Problem solved, right?
Not quite. We landed ahead of schedule and taxied for several minutes. Weather was bad in SFO and the captain announced that our gate was occupied due to an ATC delay.
Time was 9:50PM. My connection to Sydney was scheduled to depart at 10:45PM. I was not worried at all.
But we sat there. And sat there. And sat there. There is nothing more agonizing for a travelers than sitting in front of your gate and being unable to get off the airplane.
The captain, clearly frustrated, checked in with us every 5-10 minutes advising us that we were still waiting for our gate.
At 10:20PM we began moving again. Whew, I thought…I can still make it.
But then we stopped again. The captain apologized, stating that there were no ramp workers available. You should have heard the collective groans.
I received a text message stating that my flight to Sydney was delayed to 11:00PM.
Finally, at about 10:35PM, we began moving again. By 10:40PM I was off the aircraft and began running…I’d have to get from Terminal F to Terminal G, which is a 12-minute walk.
If my flight to Sydney was indeed leaving at 11:00PM, I only had five minutes to make it before I was subject to being offloaded.
I started to run…down the concourse, over thee bouncy conveyors belts, past Yankee Pier and the American Express Centurion Lounge, and finally down the long hall linking the international terminal (G).
It was 10:44PM.
But all of a sudden another text message arrived. The flight was delayed until 11:15PM…boarding had not even begun.
Panting for breath, I found myself next to the Polaris Lounge.
…and headed upstairs for a drink.
I made the flight. We ended up departing around 1:00AM…