I hate flying

Yesterday was one of the longest days ever spent travelling, and makes me remember why I hate flying so much.

I had a 7 AM flight into SFO, and had to catch a 4:30 AM 28X. Therefore I decided not to sleep the night of the 22nd, because it was easier, and I was getting into SFO at 1 PM and had plenty of time to sleep anyway. Big mistake.

Got to the airport around 5:30 (took Supershuttle instead because I didn’t want to walk 30 minutes to campus at 4 AM). There was a huge line to check bags (about 20 minutes) and a huge line for security (even at the alternate checkpoint; about 45 minutes). I had less time than I wanted to get food and eat at the gate, but it worked out in the end since I always budget so much extra time at the airport for myself.

The flight started out fine. We were in one of the new Southwest 737s (larger, longer, more open, more comfortable) for the PIT -> LAS leg, which was a nice experience. Got into LAS around 9:30 only to find that my connecting flight (scheduled for 11:30) into SFO was delayed until 12:30 due to weather conditions.

The delays were extended twice (finally scheduled for a 4 PM departure) before they cancelled the flight. There was no announcement to go up to the podium to be reticketed (rather, there was an announcement NOT to go to the podium while the agents tried to work out alternatives), so I ended up near the end of a very long line and therefore had very few options by the time it got to me. With no more seats on SFO-bound flights, I was instead reticketed onto a plane for OAK, leaving after 10 PM.

So I got to spend 12 hours in the Las Vegas airport trying to find things to do and wanting desperately to sleep. That was not fun.

At least the salad I had for dinner was tasty, even if I was so stressed out by that point that it took me over 90 minutes to eat it. (And I’m normally a really fast eater.)

So I eventually make it into OAK after 11:30 PM, and go to the baggage office to deal with my checked bag. No one there seemed the least interested in helping me, only telling me repeatedly to check the carousel that did not contain my bag. (Which was surprising given it’s Southwest, that I usually have nothing but good experiences with.) Eventually the agent at the carousel tried looking up the bag tag and told me to call the SFO baggage office. Who confirmed that they had the bag (not unexpected) but that I would have to go get it at my own expense due to “voluntary separation”.

So yeah, that was pretty ridiculous. They had over 8 hours from the flight cancellation to retag my bag to Oakland. Failing that, I would have expected some effort on their part to reunite me with it. Failing that, I would have expected at least some compassion or interest in my situation from the people working. I know it’s been a long day for everyone, but you could at least try to help confused, tired, and cranky passengers. This was made worse by the fact that I was dumb and didn’t carry on any clothes (never had checked bag issues before) and it was after midnight by that point (so I couldn’t make it down to SFO to get the bag).

So I couldn’t really sleep last night, and ended up waking up at 6 AM and being unable to fall back asleep. Which means I’ve had a total of 5 hours of sleep in the past two days. Went to SFO this morning at 7 AM to get it, so now I have clothing, and feel more reasonable. But still really, really tired.

On the plus side, the hotel I’m staying in is pretty awesome.

Edit: Whoa, this hotel has free wine every night. It took me 3 chardonnays before I discovered they had sangria (so tasty!). Best hotel ever.

Edit edit: My hotel apparently has chair massages (like, sit-down massages with a professional masseuse) on Fridays. My back feels much looser now.
Also Southwest responded to my complaint letter (I complained only about the baggage and not the delay, since weather delays aren’t their fault), and wants to make things right. They’re offering a voucher (that I haven’t received yet), which is really awesome of them, given I wasn’t expecting anything at all.

Cruise yay

We went on a cruise through New England and Canada! It was awesome! Moar cruising next year plz.

Here’s a fun gif of them setting up the gangway in Charlottetown. I like that the first thing they do is set up the hand sanitizer dispensers.

Additional photos can be found here, here, and here.

I flew into Boston on Friday to meet my parents there, and we spent that evening and the following morning wandering the city and walking the Freedom Trail. It wasn’t anything new (had previously visited with Greg), but it was still fun to see and do again. The ship left Saturday evening.

Sunday morning, we got into Bar Harbor, Maine bright and early. We didn’t eat any lobster (too expensive, and there was lots of tasty free food on the ship), but I did get an awesome stuffed lobster. The tag says his name is “Lobbie”, but that’s a dumb name. His name is instead “Om nom nom”.

We took a bus tour into Arcadia National Park and up to Cadillac mountain, which had beautiful views.

Monday we cruised into Halifax, Nova Scotia. We spent the morning touring the Citadel fortress at the top of the city, and I regret not having more time to see all it had to offer.

In the afternoon, we took a bus tour to Peggy’s Cove to see the famous lighthouse. It was really kind of underwhelming, and it was really cold and windy and rainy up there.

Tuesday we cruised into Sydney, Nova Scotia. The rain and wind had followed us from Halifax, and we hadn’t booked any shore excursions, so it was rather a short and boring day. We wandered the city for a bit (not much to see… the ship’s city guide had even said they don’t dock at Sydney for Sydney, but rather for the access to Cape Breton) and spent the afternoon on the boat relaxing.

Wednesday was Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. It was by far the most beautiful of the places we visited, and also had a lot of historic things to see (since the confederation conference was held here). They have a really nice walking tour set up in Founder’s Hall, and you could also see Province House, the current seat of the provincial legislature.

Thursday was an at-sea day and we didn’t do very much. We docked in Quebec City, Quebec on Friday and went on a bus tour of the city before wandering it on our own. It feels a lot like Europe to me, actually. Was an interesting place to visit.

Overall, it was awesome, and I want to do it again. The infinite free food was probably the best part (full-service dining room at night with fancy, tasty food :D :D), but I really liked the lack of internet ($0.75/minute on the ship means you basically go without it instead of paying). It’s weird how much of a useless time-waster it is. It was also nice to wake up every day in a new place with new sights to see.

The ship also has shows every night and general activities (a library with books and board games you can check out, ping pong tables and a giant chess set, etc).

Also, it’s hilarious that the ship’s coffeeshop had prices for all their drinks, but not their food. It’s weird to me that all drinks on the ship (except water, tea, and coffee) cost money ($2.95 for a can of soda!), but all food was free (including the snacks and sandwiches at the coffeeshop). Still, infinite food almost-whenever you want it really can’t be beaten, and I don’t drink soda anyway.