This is why you never jest with your brother that he has a longer flight home than you!
It was a tough day actually all round, first saying goodbye to Son 1, watching him as he trudged up the hill – one backpack on his back, the other on his front – to the bus waiting to take him to SeaTac Airport. Then an hour later saying goodbye to Son 3, again watching him trudge up the hill with full to overflowing backpack. Luckily I had earlier in the day collected my Mum-in-law from the same SeaTac Airport and so didn’t feel as homesick as when No.2 son left. Still, I was sad.
As the day got better for me, it got worse for Son 1. His flight from Seattle to LA arrived on time and he had four or five hours to wait until his flight from LA to Auckland was due to leave at 11pm that night. He boarded his American Airlines flight only to be told a short time later that there were problems with the ‘computer’, but it wouldn’t be long they’d sort it. Announcements came – and went. They were asked to disembark the aircraft but to leave their belongings on the plane. At 4am the next morning American Airlines cancelled the flight …………. and I got a fb message. Standby I said.
Since getting hooked on the TV show ‘Spooks’ many years ago I have fancied working in a ‘time is of the essence’ critical rescue mission. This was my chance – Son 1 was tired, hungry and fast running out of cell phone battery (his charger was packed away).
I set up my ‘Critical Incident Command Unit’ on the dining room table. I had my laptop and my new Samsung Galaxy 7 cell phone at the ready. First thing was for him to get American Airlines to rebook him on another flight – and they did. Too tired to argue and with big queues and families with small children in the same predicament he accepted a seat on a flight home via Sydney Australia departing at 11pm later that night. It was a shame it had an 8 hour overlay – but Sydney is closer to NZ than LA so it was a start.
Then I started to organize a room for him somewhere near LA Airport for the day. I had several tabs on Internet Explorer open – Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor etc., and started making phone calls. Travelodge LA Airport don’t take bookings, but when I phoned at 6am he said yes they had rooms and it was first in first served (he sounded tired, did I call too early?) I also phoned Hollywood Inn – a little further down the road but he couldn’t check anyone in until 11am at the earliest. And so the message was sent to Son 1 to make his way to Travelodge.
Son 1 had now been awake for 24 hours and anyone who’s been through LAX will know, it’s tricky finding your way around with even the best sleep under your belt. His query about how to get to Travelodge was easily answered with a few more Internet Explorer tabs opened. Shuttle bus leaves outside the terminal – catch the LOT C shuttle bus which will take you to Lot C (of course) which is where you need to catch the number 3 bus. It leaves every 7 minutes and will take 5 minutes to get to the hotel (next to Dennys).
When I fb messaged him a short time later he was at the Travelodge LAX Airport and being third in line he got a room which he said was great – and 7 hours sleep. I was then able to close the Critical Incident Command Unit and crawl back to bed.
Son 1 finally made it back to New Zealand after 3 days travelling – minus his luggage. Not surprising this made Stuff headlines (not son 1’s delay, but American Airlines) with an untruth. American Airlines did not find passengers accommodation – they were offered a USD200 refund for any accommodation booked but were told to go find somewhere to stay themselves.
My Mum-in-law is travelling home via American Airlines on Sunday – I just hope they have gotten their act together by then. However, this Critical Incident Command Unit will be at the ready if necessary!