At the whim of a thing greater than I…

Tonights plan had been fairly straightforward. Go out to Pittsburgh via 2 USAir flights. One to Philadelphia, then on to Pittsburgh.
Flight the first, no problem. Checked in, no lines, through security like champ, some idling before getting on the plane, and off we went. I was a little concerned about our delayed departure, because the overlap in Philadelphia wasn’t that much, only about 40 minutes. We landed about 20 minutes late, but I knew the departing gate was only about 100 yards from our arrival gate. No problem.
Well, slight problem.
My departing flight has been delayed 3 times now. The airport monitors stubbornly still say “Departure at 10:45 ON TIME”, despite the fact that it is now 11:30, and the gate display says “Departing: 2:13am”
It’s quite a full flight, and the gate folks are doing their best, but there’s just no plane to put us on, and the plane we want is on it’s way from Chicago to Pittsburgh, where it will land, refuel, and fly to Philadelphia to get us. At the moment it’s flying between Chicago and Pittsburgh.
I’m taking it in stride. Much as I’d like to be in Pittsburgh and enjoying the company that awaits me there, I have my laptop, wireless, reasonable food via the ABP on the concourse, and a convenient power outlet. I’m considering a long bout of Eve.
Perhaps there’ll be more updates as this adventure (?) continues. For now, I’d just like send out a huge thank you to the United States aviation infrastructure. You’ve taken what should be a wonderous and exciting adventure and turned it into a waiting room.
Update, next day – In the end, the plane left Philadelphia at 2:03am, and arrived in Pittsburgh at 2:55. Total time lounging in Philadelphia: 3 hours, 45 minutes.


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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3 thoughts on “At the whim of a thing greater than I…

  1. One improvement in flying is cell phones – we can now call the airline easily for information while doing something else, like waiting in line to be rebooked. ETD info, as you noticed, varies tremendously. In order of credibility, your best sources are:
    1. Gate personnel
    2. Gate monitor
    3. Telephone help, if you get a real person
    4. Automated telephone & airport monitors
    Thinking about it from a programming point of view, their systems aren’t bad especially when you consider how incredibly complicated they are. From a customer point of view they’re aggravating.
    Helpful hint: don’t just ask if your flight is on time. Also ask where the “equipment” for you flight is. “Equipment” is the industry jargon for aircraft, using it shows you’re in the know and makes it clear what you mean; what you mean is “the aircraft that becomes my flight, where is it now?” If it’s delayed you’re probably delayed).

  2. Following up on what Harimad said – the first thing I do when I have a connection is look thru the arrivals to find the flight which is coming into the same gate that I’m leaving from. So – you can generally figure out yourself the likely departure time, unless they end up swapping equipment.

  3. One of the biggest benefits that I found actually was having a laptop. You can get all sorts of information off various monitoring / traveller websites, and a couple fokls were carrying their laptops up to the guy at the desk and pointing out information on it. (of course, the information turned out to be WRONG, re the cancellation).
    I haven’t actually found where anyone has more information than the airline representatives, and they can only get details from the airport operations.
    Ah well, all ended well, just a few hours later than when I would prefer it to have ended.

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