Jaza's World Trip

Alaska Airlines Flight 599

599 is one flight number that I'm not going to forget for a long time. My flight from San Francisco to Vancouver was meant to leave at 12:25pm today. After boarding one aircraft, getting kicked off it and being sent back into the terminal, waiting for a long time, and boarding a second aircraft, we finally took off just after 7pm. So instead of arriving in Vancouver by 3pm, as I originally intended, I was out of the airport by about 9:30pm. This must have been the longest "express" flight from SF to Vancouver known to mankind. It was a long and boring day.

We got on the first aircraft at about 1pm. Shortly after, passengers were informed that there was a problem with the aircraft's air-conditioning, and that it would be fixed shortly. After sitting on the aircraft for at least an hour, we were finally told that the problem was more serious than originally thought, and that we would all have to disembark and return to the terminal. Then, after sitting in the terminal for over 4 hours, we were finally herded back on board a different aircraft — one that was bereft of cursed air-conditioning malfunctions — and we were off.

However, things could have been much worse. For one thing, it turned out that some of the famous people of Drupal were on the very same flight with me: they were Steven Wittens (a.k.a. UnConeD) and Boris Mann, two Vancouver-based Bryght guys. Steven is also the second-in-command of the entire Drupal project. As well as these two, there was also Mark Yuasa, from Raincity Studios, and his partner. So I couldn't have asked for better company during the long wait.

Additionally, the kind folks at Alaska Airlines kept handing out food vouchers to all of us passengers, so we were able to buy whatever food and (non-alcoholic) beverages we wanted, at the various shops in the terminal. Considering that the flight was only scheduled to serve drinks and crackers, this wasn't such a bad deal. The Alaska staff were very good-humoured in general: even after a very long day, they managed to crack plenty of jokes when we finally did take off. Boris reckons that they're usually a great airline, and that this is his first bad experience with them.

Anyway, I guess that problems on the ground are better than problems at 30,000 feet, as they say. Once we did eventually get in the air, the flight to Vancouver was swift and without incident.

Filed in: San FranciscoTediousFlightsLate