Day 1: March 22.
So everything started off okay. If getting up in time to get a cab to the airport at 4 a.m. can be considered okay. Why I scheduled a 6 a.m. flight is beyond me, and why I decided to fly through Chicago when about 99% of flights to Alaska go through Seattle is even more of a mystery.
The flight pushed back from the gate right at 6 a.m., got about a plane’s length away from the gate, and that’s when the trouble began. Some maintenance issue. Okay. I have an hour and a half in Chicago to make my connection to Anchorage. So we sit. And we sit. Then we start to move, everyone is happy, and the pilot comes on and glumly announces that they want us sitting somewhere else and the maintenance issue isn’t fixed. So we sit. And we sit. Finally we start actually moving, the pilot says the maintenance issue is fixed, we’re all happy… and they slap on a weather hold out of Chicago. We FINALLY take off, I’m down to maybe a half hour to make my connection if I’m lucky, we get to Chicago without incident, land, taxi… and there’s another aircraft at our gate. Now I’m down to maybe 20 minutes by the time we actually get to our gate. And there’s no gate agent to open the door. FINALLY I get off the plane, run to the other gate (and I do mean RUN), get there, the plane is there, and the woman behind the gate counter says the door is closed and they’re not letting anyone else on. And oh by the way there are no other flights to Anchorage today. None.
I am not a happy camper.
Six others from the same flight get there, we’re all upset, and the woman’s pager goes off: “I need to see you at the jetway,” says a voice. “I’m busy,” she replies. “It’s important,” the voice insists. She leaves, and when she comes back… miracle of miracles, they have reopened the door, I make the flight, and all is well (at least until I see whether my luggage also made the flight).
Arrive in Anchorage, I’m looking out the window, and yup, last on first off is my suitcase… not a problem at all. Make the connecting flight to Homer (puddle jumper), the advertised 10-pound limit for carryon is studiously ignored by all, we arrive, there are four of us from the photo group and we share taxis to the hotel.
It’s now 5 pm Alaska time (9 pm EDT), I’m starving, I’m exhausted, and I’m wondering why I ever came to this place anyhow. I mean, when am I ever going to see…
The first of many?
Eagles. Oh yeah. Eagles.