Oh, what a day…and it wasn’t spent in San Francisco.
How My Day In San Francisco Turned Into A Day In Los Angeles
First, a very warm thank you to all of you who weighed in on what I should do during my layover in SFO. While the path of least resistance would have been to simply lounge hop or get a room at an airport hotel, we really liked the suggestion of a reader to get some tacos at La Corneta followed by a walk through Glen Park. It does indeed look like a treasure.
But instead of arriving into SFO at 9:30am, I arrived at 5:30pm. The rest of my family arrived at noon. And it wasn’t by choice.
Flights are packed this summer and United is running just four flights per day between its two West Coast hubs, Los Angeles and San Francisco. That means flights routinely fill up and go out with every seat taken.
We missed our flight yesterday morning. When I tired to check-in, my daughter (an infant lap child) was missing from the reservation. No one could explain why. But it took time to fix the ticket.
And although we arrived in time to easily make the flight, we did not leave enough time to deal with the ticketing issue and make it though horrific security lines (even with PreCheck).
We missed it by only three minutes, but we missed it…and flights were full for the rest of the day. The next flight was not for nearly three hours.
I’m an expert at standby after so many years of travel and kept refreshing until a seat popped open, then was able to get my wife and daughter confirmed.
That left my four-year-old son Augustine and me to play the standby game. With my 1K status, though, we ended up #1 and #2 on the standby list. Even with all seats accounted for, there are always no-shows and I thought I was home free…
But I wasn’t.
Somehow, another passenger was wedged into the standby list between us. He stood next to us in the boarding area and had no status on United and had missed the flight just like we had (and without the excuse we had of the infant ticketing issue).
Any guesses as to what happened next?
I cleared. He cleared. Augustine did not clear.
We sat waiting at the gate until the very last moment, hoping for no-shows, but everyone showed up. Every last person.
Without being demanding, I asked the gate agent how this passenger jumped the gun on my son and she shrugged and said it was all up to the computer.
I didn’t buy it, but there was no point in arguing. Augustine got my seat so he was assigned 24B and my wife was in 12B.
The extremely kind passenger in 24A agreed to switch with my wife in 12B, so the they could sit together.
Meanwhile, I was left behind while Mr. No Status scored an EconomyPlus aisle seat.
I returned to the United Club and asked my friend Bruce what happened. He could not explain either, though he said that airport agents have the ability to place passengers at higher priority, regardless of status, depending upon the circumstances. I wish the agent who rebooked us would have done the same for us…
A confirmed seat opened on the 4pm flight and thankfully I grabbed it.
I used the remaining time to head to the pharmacy (I left an important prescription at home) and get some work done.
I took the bus to the pharmacy…I had the time and it was an easy ride into Inglewood. No one takes the bus in LA! $3.50 r/t instead of $25 on Uber and it took about the same amount of time.
When my 4pm flight became delayed, I just laughed…thankfully the delay only ended up being about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, my wife and children enjoyed a nice lunch at Tomokazu in the SFO international terminal then sat out and enjoyed the terrace.
We finally re-united and that’s when the drama really ensued…