Friday, September 17, 2010

Why should the return flight be less chaotic?

I arrive in time at BOS for my return flight. Make it through security, and arrive at the gate a comfortable 25 minutes before boarding at 18:15. While I'm looking at the monitor, the departure time changes to 19:45. The staff at the gate didn't notice at first, then called dispatch and learned that SFO has delayed our flight due to weather.

5 minutes later they announced that everyone should make their way to gate 34 for our flight, but the monitors are still showing departure 19:45. ...

Another 5 minutes later they announced that SFO is operating off one runway due to low visibility. Flightstats shows clouds at 800 ft, and since the two runways at SFO are so close together, they can't both operate at instrument flight conditions. yay.

There is also the FAA Website showing delays and reasons at major airports nationwide.

By the way, my flight to SFO will take 6 hours 30 minutes. Look how long it would take to fly from Boston to London...

Update (19:35):
Well. I'm still in Boston. If we're lucky we start boarding in 10 minutes, and might be in the air around 21:00, with an arrival in SFO some time after midnight...

Update (20:00):
Yay. We are boarding.

Update (09/19):
We were ready for push-back 20:20, but had to wait for a ground crew to show up, so we ended up leaving BOS just before 21:00 with a projected arrival time in SFO at 0:25 Saturday morning.

After a very uneventful flight, we started the descend into SFO. While I normally have a pretty good idea where we are as a plane gets ready to land at SFO, or SJC, this time I was completely lost. The pilot flew so many waiting loops I lost track of the direction we were flying in. Given the direction we were coming from on final approach, I think we were circling above the strawberry fields of Watsonville. Shortly before landing we passed through a very dense layer of clouds (also known as "fog", or "marine layer"). I was sitting at the rear of the wing, and the fog was so thick that I could barely see the front edge of the wing. The position lights at the end of the wing were also hard to make out. These clouds weren't very thick, a couple hundred feet maybe, and as soon as we came out the view across the Bay was very nice. However, this illustrated nicely why SFO was on instrument flight conditions with one runway shut down.

We finally were at the gate at 0:55 and I was out of the place 20 minutes later.

At 1:45 I was sitting in the Shard Ride Van shuttle home, ... with 8 other passengers. Each of them groggy and tired. Each of them going to a different stop. The shuttle dropped off people in San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Stanford, Palo Alto (2), Mountain View, San Jose Downtown, and finally myself in South San Jose. It took us 90 minutes to go from SFO to downtown Mountain View.

"This shuttle is so not worth it."
Frustrated rider bound for Mtn View after 1h in the bus.

I was home at 3:40 in the morning after a 2 hour ride. Next time, when arriving in the middle of the night at SFO, I'll consider taking a cab. 

1 comment:

Patzi said...

Oh mein Armer,
Du kommst mitten in der Nacht zu Hause an! Die Kinder haben schon Anweisung, Dich morgen frueh ausschlafen lassen.
Dabei koennen wir es kaum erwarten Dich wieder zu haben!