Woes of Air Travel on Winter Time
Today, I encountered our first canceled flight from Sacramento to San Francisco with connecting flights to Tokyo and then Manila. It was not a United Airline mechanical problem but a weather related problem called the tule Fog of the California Central Valley. Our UA flight was scheduled to depart at 8.06 AM with connecting flight from San Francisco to Tokyo scheduled to depart at 11.00 AM. It was supposed to be only a 40 minute flight with plenty of time for connection to an International flight.
We left the house at 5:30AM and by 6:45AM we have check in was in the gate ready for departure. At 7:00 AM the airline announced the flight has been canceled due to weather problems and we we were told to go back to the check in counter. There were only 4 passengers affected by the cancellation. By the time we were served for a rescheduling it was 7:45AM, since the lines were long. Several UA flights to other destination that day were also canceled.
I asked the UA clerk if the airline can provide either a bus or taxi service from Sacramento to San Francisco. She said no, since the cancellation is due to weather not a mechanical problem. She indicated however there are private taxis for hire outside, but you have to pay an additional $150 for the service. One passenger, a Japanese passenger took the clerk's advise. I hope she makes her connecting flight in San Francisco. She will have only about 30 minutes to spare for her 11AM connection from SFO to Tokyo. The normal driving time from Sacramento to San Francisco is about 2.5 hours without traffic. I have a feeling though with fog and rush hour traffic in Highway 80, it will take at least 3 to 3.5 hours. I am praying and hoping she gets her connection.
The task of rescheduling and re ticketing took more than one hour. At first the clerk informed us, we could possibly leave the next day. She spent a lot of time waiting while the computer was on, and talking to the connecting airlines representatives. In the meantime, I called my son to go back to airport and pick us up. After two hours of waiting, our tickets were reissued and our baggage returned. However, our new schedule was not tomorrow but the day after, a two days lay off. She said the flight for the next day was full. And instead of our stop over in Tokyo, it will be in Guam. This will be the first time we will have a stop over in Guam. Let us hope no problems will occur on this new itinerary.
There is a lot of inconvenience on rescheduling. First we have to inform and revised our hotel reservation in Manila. Second we have to tell relatives of the change of schedule and cancel our appointments with them. Last, our plan to stay in Manila for 3 days to do some shopping and see relatives have to be postponed. Luckily our flight from Manila to Marinduque was scheduled for the 13th of January, so we do not need to change that. Otherwise it will be a lot of trouble and possibly additional fares.
I am not really blaming United Airlines. But the check in clerk could have informed us earlier of the availability of taxi service and perhaps reschedule us the following day not the day after tomorrow. Again, this was our first time to experience a cancellation of a trip due to weather, because in the previous years we flew to the Philippines in early December, thus no fog yet. This year, the January fog of Northern California did its havoc in our travel plans.
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