2023-11-05, 05:00−8: (we’re off daylight saving time in the U.S. now)
Things got off to a good start today. I stopped by a snack shop not far from the hotel’s front desk for breakfast and opted for a ham and cheese croissant, not really breakfast fare, but I wanted something more substantial than just a Danish.
I had everything packed and was all ready when two of the hotel staff arrived at my room at 07:00 to collect my baggage and wheel me to the front desk where I checked out. At the front desk, I was transferred to three hotel staff—I guess one was supervising…or something—who took me on the AirTrain to terminal 3 and all the way to the United checkin counter. After checking in, I was left at a place where I awaited wheelchair assistance from an airport employee who took be through security, to the gate, and all the way to the airplane’s door.
The first class section on this plane had those seats that recline all the way, even allowing you to lie flat, which was a surprise. The plane must be pretty wide because there were two such seats on one side of the aisle, four in the middle, and two on the other side of the other aisle. I had booked seat 2D which was in the middle on the port-side aisle.
We pushed back from the gate about five minutes late but didn’t get very far when the whole airplane shook, and there was a sound like we had run over something. We sat there for over half an hour wondering what the heck was going on. One of the flight attendants eventually made an announcement saying that the drawbar that connects the front landing gear to the vehicle that pushes the plane back had broken and we had to wait for another one (which surprised me—seems like airports would have lots of those hanging around). I was worried that we had lost our takeoff slot, but that turned out not to be the case. We zoomed down the taxiway, held at the runway for less than half a minute while another plane landed, and were in the air about one hour after the advertised push-back-from-the-gate time.
They served us a late breakfast. I opted for what was said to be scrambled eggs and sausage; but what I got was a pastry shell holding what was supposed to be scrambled eggs, but was nothing of the sort. There was no egg flavor and no yellow yolk color. There was lots of red and green in it, though. It was edible, but IMO yet another example of food that was more pretentious than tasty. The sausage was a bit mild, but otherwise OK.
The rest of the flight “met expectations”, and we touched down a bit after 13:00−10, just about half an hour late. (Anyone who enjoys riding on Amtrak certainly can’t complain about that! 😎 )
After a while, the equipment that lowered the wheelchair passengers from the aircraft door to the ground showed up, but it wouldn’t lower all the way. Two airport employees, the operator of the equipment and I guess a maintenance person, kept trying and trying but couldn’t get it all the way to the ground. The old saw about trying the same thing and expecting different results came easily to mind. Finally, one of the wheelchair pushers noticed an external microswitch that hadn’t closed, so he flipped it up with his fingers and everything worked as designed. 😎
About that time, I noticed that the pocket I usually carry my wallet in was empty. Oh, no! My driver’s license, credit card, debit card …! I distinctly remembered putting my wallet in the tray that goes through the TSA scanner at SFO, but I had no memory of putting it back in my pocket on the other side. Suddenly my stress level went way up; and because I was wearing a suit* (not the proper attire for Hawaiʻi when it’s 80°F in the shade), I was now sweating like a pig.
Fortunately, I had enough cash with me to pay for the taxi from the airport to the hotel; and I was able to check in to the hotel because they already had the credit card info from when I had made the reservation, and I had brought my passport along “just in case” and so was able to prove that I was indeed the person I claimed to be.
My room wasn’t quite ready yet, so while waiting, I had occasion to reach into a front pocket, and lo and behold, there was my wallet. I had stupidly put it in the wrong pocket in San Francisco (*duh*). Please feel free to laugh at me; I don’t mind a bit being laughed at when I deserve it: it’s a learning experience, and that’s a Good Thing. 😎
So I’m now stress-free, all cleaned up, dressed in more Hawaiʻi-friendly attire, full of a good supper, and ready for my meeting in the morning.
*I always wear a suit when I travel, partly because I guess (without evidence) that I get treated better, but mostly because I like having the coat pockets for all my stuff.