Red Eye From Hell

So, here I am on the east coast. The opening sentence of yesterday’s blog began: “Right now, I am probably on the red-eye to the east coast.”  The ‘right now’ referred to was midnight, when I schedule my posts to go live. Strictly speaking, I was correct. I was on the 10:59PM flight sitting at the departure gate with the other couple-of-hundred-or so other passengers. And I was on the same airplane at 11:30PM and at 12:00AM… all at the departure gate.

Shortly after midnight, after someone called the mechanics to fix a computer problem (something to do with the icing/deicing computer ??). After swapping parts to no avail they apparently were going to try a cold boot, which is what I would have done. But on an airplane, ‘taking it down to hard metal’ (another term for cold boot), requires turning off all the power. All the power on the entire plane. The captain said that, since we would be in pitch darkness, we had to deplane. But it was ok to leave our bags behind.

While the ‘cold boot’ was getting lukewarm, my fellow passengers and I were shuffling around in the closed terminal.

The app for my phone was working, albeit in a time-warped fashion. For example, the 12:30AM update told me that our flight was delayed and would be departing at 12:15AM. Good to know!

Skipping ahead on my time line, past the part where the entire planeload of people had to collect their carry-ons, past the part where we had to go to baggage claim for checked bags and past the part where we had to get on a (nonmoving) line back at the ticket counter, I found myself in a cab headed from San Jose Airport to San Francisco’s SFO, with two fellow ex-passengers. This was at 3:00AM. SFO opens at 4:00AM but Homeland Security doesn’t open until 6:00AM.

Incidentally, I was on the re-ticketing line so long that all the slots for the 7:00 AM plane to my destination were filled and I was booked on the 12:00PM plane. I would arrive at 8:30PM and have another hour or so ground travel to get to my destination.

However, to make a long story short (if it’s not too late), I resigned myself to giving up the rest of the day to so-called travel. I got a big cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

Shortly after I drank my coffee, I was surprised to be called to the desk where the nice, wide-awake counter girl congratulated me about being the last standby passenger admitted to the 7:00 AM flight. I got the last of the special ‘no legroom’ seats right next to the window.

Below is what I call my ‘Selfeye’, a montage of my bleary eyes at different stages of the trip.

Photomontage: My Eyes

Digital Montage

Can’t wait for the trip back.

5 thoughts on “Red Eye From Hell

  1. I’m so sorry your trip turned out to be such a nightmare Jack. I was kinda hoping when we signed off that things would soon hurry along. But having worked at Gatwick airport for a number of years, and been a passenger for even longer, I understand that ‘smooth’ and ‘delay’ aren’t synonymous when it comes to air travel. Delays longer than an hour usually mean real trouble, and then you have to wait for parts to arrive. I hope your journey back is actually smooth, I guess my good thoughts hit a brick wall. Sorry! 🙂


    • Thanks, M. I appreciate your positive thoughts about the trip back. I’m sure it will go well. JetBlue saw fit to valuate my inconvenience at 50USD. Of course that’s in JetBlue bucks.

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