What should have been a dull, routine, yet welcome flight home from Vegas turned into an experience that can only charitably called memorable.
I had been lucky so far in never having a flight cancelled or delayed unreasonably, so I suppose it’s only fair that our number came up.
We made our gate 2 hours before the flight, much earlier than we like, but that’s how the shuttle worked out. Unfortunately the plane itself never made it to the gate.
I asked the gate agent who told me that an air conditioning part was needed and the flight was rescheduled for 11:30am. A few hours delay, but manageable. Too bad that’s not what happened.
The gate agent, bless his little heart, made announcement after announcement to keep us updated. They got the part. They installed the part. Now they just needed to do a final power-up test.
This is where it started getting bad. McCarren airport is a mess of construction, so they had a hard time finding an empty area to test the plane. Presumably they found someplace, but Operations refused to inform the gate agent, so we passengers were left in the dark.
Finally an announcement: the flight was cancelled, there were no available flights for 2 days, a new flight was being put on the schedule the next morning just for us, and Alaska Airlines would arrange hotels for everyone.
At this point we had been in the airport 7-1/2 hours. We grabbed our bags (good thing we didn’t have checked luggage) and stood in line. For another 3 hours.
Alaska had only two agents to care for a planeload of people. There was only one printer to print out hotel and meal vouchers.
I had a quick shower when we finally made it to our off-strip hotel. It was a relief, at least to not be aurally assaulted by the constant ding ding of slot machines.
Our measly $16 dinner voucher was good at the nearby Hofbrauhaus. That covered one entree. E polished off the bar’s supply of Wild Turkey, then started in on the Woodruff.
Another early night for me – we had been awake since 4am. E headed out to a nearby dive bar.
The next morning we were back at the airport, same gate and no plane. Not looking good. The gate agent announced the crew was getting settled and we would board shortly. Already it was a half-hour past our “scheduled” departure time.
Eventually a plane pulled up to gatc and the beleagured passengers of Flight 605 were allowed to board our plane. Where we sat. And waited. The flight crew announced we waiting for six passengers who were somewhere, no one knew where, in the airport.
We collectively groaned, grumbled and groused. Apparently Alaska had oversold another flight to Portland, so they deliberately delayed our replacement flight even longer to acommodate these additional people. Not our problem, we all said.
Over an hour past our promised departure time, we finally taxied onto a runway and at last leaped into the air for the trip home.