Sunday, April 1

My First US Airways Experience

Another Vegas trip down, as is the balance in my checking account. Damn you nine of clubs! Even with that said, it was a great weekend, until the flight home.

I had never used one of the travel sites to book a flight before, but I did this time. I usually fly Ted, United's low cost airline, and book right through their site. Maybe I would have saved money by using the other sites, but I like Ted. Besides, I am a Mileage Plus member and United is a Chicago company. Unfortunately this time, I could not get the time I needed on the return flight. So to the sites I went. Expedia was the winner.

Expedia put me on Ted to Vegas and U.S. Airways home. Both Mileage Plus members, so okay. The Ted flight out of O'Hare was smooth as usual, minus one of wheels on my luggage coming off, which makes for fun rolling. And I though the movie, Night At The Museum, was funny. I just wish I would have been able to find a Ted flight for the way home.

The flight home out of McCarran on U.S. Airways "was" to leave at 10:00 AM Vegas time. It would have got us into O'Hare between around 2:45 PM Chicago time, due to a favorable tailwind. We got to McCarran a little before 8 AM. For anyone who hasn't flown out of McCarran on a Sunday morning, it's as crazy as flying out of O'Hare, except they have their heads up their ass at McCarran, which makes it worse.

First, half of the U.S. Airways' kiosks were out of service. Half of the other half were out of paper. Okay, it happens in the technical world we live in. Once I find a kiosk that works, it tells me we are an hour delayed(11 AM). So me and my friend decided we were going to go to the Chile's in the terminal for something to eat. But before we could, we had to go through security. Let's just say that the lines were wrapping around the upstairs level. About 1/2 hour goes by before they decided it would be a good idea to open up all of the security lines. You think? I also wanted to check the monitors to see what time they were estimating for departure.

The monitors said 10AM. What? How can this be? So off to the gate we went to double check. When we got to gate B14, the monitors at the U.S. Airways' booth said 10AM. It was 9:00, but no plane was at the gate. We should have asked someone, but we trusted the monitors. So instead of Chile's, we went to Burger King. We went back to the gate, and still no plane. So I went up to the booth, which now had a growing line forming. I overheard the person behind the booth say 11AM. So we decided to go have a smoke, cause nothing says cranky like me being frustrated and no cigarette for 6-8 hours. This time back through security was pretty quick, except for the old man who had to personally watch you put your personals help "each" person put their personals into the plastic bin. Cause that saves time. So back to the gate we go. When we get back to the gate, still no plane and now the monitor says 11:30.

It's about 10:45 and someone over the intercom says that they have overbooked the flight and they need volunteers to give up their seat. The people will be compensated by a free round trip. We weren't offering up our seats. So around 11:00 or so, the plane shows up. We get on around 11:45 or so. 45 minutes later we are lifting off. This is where things got a little tense.

The weather in Chicago called for rain, overcast skies and 30 mph crosswinds. Probably standard for pilots, but not for me. We circled once and then came in from the East. Having a window seat on the right side overlooking the wing added a little extra. During the descend, we dropped and shook and wobbled until we had wheels down. At times it was so quite in the cabin you could hear a pin drop. If it wasn't for the pilots of flight 320, I would have nothing nice to say about U.S. Airways. But I don't think I will be rushing to book with them again.

It's good to be home, and I will be back tomorrow.