Sunday, August 7, 2016

England, 2016, Part 2: Terminal Afternoon is Never Ending

Recap from Part 1: I’m fucked.

My flight to London leaves from L.A. at 6:30pm, I am in San Jose at 2:30pm, and my connecting flight has been cancelled.

But I have the power of David Niven on my side!

The man behind the Southwest counter helpfully wanted to put me on their next flight to L.A., which leaves at 6:30pm. I explained, repeatedly (and quite calmly I thought), how this was slightly less than productive to my predicament.

He eventually saw the light of the dwindling day and refunded my ticket price. But I won’t see the money for at least 5 weeks, because…..reasons.

We had a classic “What is said is never what is received” exchange where the nice Mr. Gentleman - who had just been thawed out - was explaining to me…….in……glacial…….pace…..why it would take so long to get my money back. Meanwhile I am screaming in his face “WHICH. AIRLINE. HAS. FLIGHTS. TO. LAX. YOU. HUMAN. POSSUM.” while I was strangling him with my fanny pack.

orderDidelphimorphia. Species: Ticketcounterarian
Eventually, as his purple face slowly sank to the faded linoleum, he feebly pointed to the next terminal. Ah, got it. Thanks, dude! Sorry about the bruises.

And I am off, into the blazing San Jose sun, dragging my 30 pounds of luggage, realizing that the next terminal is about half-a-mile away. I am wearing a hoodie AND a rain jacket because London, and I hate wasting time with checking bags. And none of my many bags have wheels because Stupidity.

I call upon your strength, Saint Niven! On my way to the shimmering mirage of Terminal A on the horizon I check on my flight out of L.A. and curse those sweet, smiling Norwegians, its right ON TIME. Fuuuuuck.

I drag my sweaty carcass over to Terminal A and limp up to the American Airlines counter. But there are no American flights to Los Angeles, because it is part of Mexico or something. I consider heading back to Southwest and pounding the crap out of the Human Possum for steering me wrong, but decide against it; the clock is ticking!
The nice Mrs. American Lady points to her left and says to try over there, “Through that wall”.

SJC. I started middle right and ended up in Saratoga.
Really? Okay, but I’ll need a good running start first.

I eventually work out that I should leave this building and re-enter the next module, because out here in the hinterlands of Terminal A they haven’t invented interior doors yet.

I thank Mrs. Nice Lady by not assaulting her and head out and over to the next counter. “L.A.?” I ask the Latina woman, who responds by saying “Guadalajara?” 

I try again: “L.A.?”
She smiles and replies “Guadalajara?” 

We repeat this exchange several more times (Message sent is never message received), before other Latina women with more English in them step forward and explain that this is Volaris airlines, which only has one flight to one destination, so their counter help have no need to be bilingual.

Accidental selfie while I was walking
to another Terminal
This is fascinating, simply enthralling, but I feel I must interrupt their seminar on culture and language to shyly posit the following query: “WHICH. AIRLINE. HAS. FLIGHTS. TO. LAX.” 

They were mildly miffed by my rude behavior, (as was the Spirit of David Niven), but I was running out of time - and fucks to give - so I turned my barge of luggage 90 degrees and dragged myself down to the next counter.

Air Canada had an immediate flight! To……Canada.
Air China was now boarding for a flight to China.
Alaska Airlines had one soon to……Guadalajara.

On and on my bags and I limped, down the endless row, unhooking crowd control tape as I went, banging through Premium passengers, express lanes and shocked families smart enough to have their connecting flights be on the same airline.

Nippon Airways wanted to send me to Tokyo. 
Skywest had one soon to Burbank. Close! But I grew up in L.A. and I knew getting across town was one, long, endless Boss Battle. Noper.
British Airways had a flight in ten minutes, but it was going to London, while I just needed to get down to - wait. What? Heathrow? Now that was damned tempting, but the cost was astronomical, or astrohectareliterical or whatever it is in the metric system they got over there.

Eventually, after leaving a long trail of destruction in my wake, I arrive at the Delta Airlines counter. And they have a flight to LAX leaving at 5pm. That would be cutting it too close though. My 6:30 flight would be boarding by 6pm, meaning I would be getting into LAX, in another terminal, at the same time I would need to be at my gate with Norwegian.

San Jose Terminals: Scale, 1 inch = 1 mile
But I am running out of Airlines and terminals, and I think Security is on its way. If only……

And here David Niven sprinkled some magic pixie dust on my iPhone.

If only I had a little more time. 

Not here though.
THERE. On that end.

I check on my flight leaving from L.A. again, and all thanks to St. David, it has been delayed 90 minutes! 


I considered going back to Southwest, reviving the Human Possum, un-refunding my free voucher and taking their later flight - but with my luck today it would be all sold out now. Plus the Southwest counter is back in the other terminal, and I think I am in another county now. 
Better Livin' with Niven!
(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

So I happily buy a ticket on Delta, and eat the cost difference with a big smile.

5pm flight gets me in LAX at 6pm, and my now 8pm flight boards at 7:30pm. 

At my Delta gate I shrug off my many bags of anvils and doorknobs and lay down next to a wall (because there is an unguarded plug there), and congratulate myself, and The David.

90 minute layover in L.A. seems like plenty of time to find my way to my flight to Gatwick.

I close my eyes and sigh. I did it! And after that mad melee, what else could possibly go wrong? 


Angus McMahan

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