Part 1 - BOS to SJC, or so I hoped
I got my first hint that this trip might be a little "interesting" when I went on United's website on the 19th to make sure nothing had changed with my flight. Right on the front page was a message about a snowstorm in Denver. I, of course, was supposed to fly through Denver. At the time, I wasn't too worried. My layover was 3 hours and 45 minutes, so even if the flights were really delayed, I wouldn't miss my connection, right?
So the next day, I get up to start packing, when I get a call from my parents. They tell me that my flight has been canceled. So, once I was packed, I set out for the airport to figure out what they were going to do to get me to the Bay Area. The United employees had us queue up in a room off to the side of the main check-in area (the one with the kids' play area, for those of you who know Terminal C in BOS) and let us out little by little to get our flights rebooked. At one point, they said that for Denver-bound passengers, the earliest they could guarantee them a seat was Christmas day. I was very glad that I did not live in Colorado. Finally, I get to the counter where a rather curt UA ticket agent told me that there was no way I would get out of BOS that day and that I would have to wait to the following day. He put me on a flight from BOS to LAX, then connecting to a flight up to SFO rather than SJC.
After sleeping on the floor in that same holding room, I got up to check in for my flight at about 4 am. It turned out to be a good thing that I got up that early, since the Easy Check-in kiosk wouldn't let me check in, because of the change in my itinerary. Then, when they had fixed it so I could check in, I got a message: "How would you like to pay for your upgrade?" Now, if UA wanted to give me an upgrade, that was fine with me, but I wasn't about to pay for it. So I had to stand in another line so that they could take the upgrade off. I got assigned to middle seats on both legs, but at least the transcon one was in Economy Plus. 11B to LAX, then 18E up to SFO.
The first flight I took was UA163 from BOS to LAX, using a 757-200, N593UA. We left a little after 0630 and arrived just before 1000. Very little of interest happened. The pilots didn't turn on Channel 9, so that was a disappointment. The UA 757 parked next to us at the gate in BOS was in the new paint scheme, except that its nose cone was still in the blue and gray. After arriving in LAX, Terminal 7, I hiked over to Terminal 6 to catch UA flight 1154 to SFO. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed due to weather in SFO. Apparently, in inclement weather, the traffic controllers in SFO designate specific times when incoming flights can leave so as to avoid holding patterns. At least LAX has good spotting opportunities to pass the time. We finally left aboard N328UA, a 737-300, at about 1145, and took off about 50 minutes behind schedule. We arrived in a cloudy, rainy SFO just after 1315.
Next Up: Part 2: The Return, aka "Santa Barbara has an airport?"