Sometimes it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey itself … or the lack of one. Today has been such a day.
Barb and I arrived at San Francisco International Airport at 6:20 this morning. I had picked her up at SFO after a flight from Las Vegas around 11:30 the night before. A writer on technology subjects (www.simpletechguru.com), she still had writing assignments to complete after five days at the Consumer Electronics Show, so she didn’t get to sleep at the hotel until after 3 … and we were up again at 5.
We were scheduled to fly Alaska Airlines to Los Angeles at 8:20 a.m., with arrival at 9:50 a.m. Then we were to transfer to another Alaska flight to Mazatlan, Mexico, departing at 11:15 a.m. After an overnight in the Pacific beach city, we would catch a Tuesday morning flight to Los Mochis, with a transfer to the small town of El Fuerte, where we would begin an excursion into the Barranca del Cobre, the Copper Canyon.
Our flight began boarding 40 minutes before its scheduled departure. But an hour and a half later, we were still on the tarmac. That was when a flight attendant announced there was a problem with the navigational system. “Don’t worry about that!” exclaimed the Sonoma attorney who had an exit-row seat beside us. “It’s easy to find Los Angeles! Just follow the coastline south!”
All passengers were asked to disembark. A counter agent assured us that the Mazatlan flight — the only Alaska flight of the day from LAX to MZT — would wait for us (and about 20 other travelers, many of them flying first class) as long as our flight departed by 9:45. It didn’t, of course. It was delayed a full four hours. We would be forced to spend a night in Los Angeles and catch the next day’s flight to Mazatlan. And that would have been fine … until we learned that the Monday flight was overbooked by 10 passengers, and there would be no room for us.
Plan B was for us to overnight once again in San Francisco, take a 6 a.m. U.S. Airways flight to Phoenix, and connect there to Mazatlan, arriving just before noon. Alaska Airlines would pick up our hotel tab. Our luggage would be waiting for us in baggage claim at carousel 13.
Except that it wasn’t. Six hours after our arrival at the airport, our bags were already en route to Los Angeles and we were not. We were left with nothing but the clothes on our backs and our carry-on, as we shuttled to the Embassy Suites to camp out untl morning.
If all goes smoothly tomorrow, we will arrive in Mazatlan tomorrow three hours before our luggage does. Some time around 4 p.m., we’ll begin searching for a motorcoach to get us to El Fuerte before midnight. Perhaps we won’t even make that trip until the next day. But we’ll get there, having reinforced our patience and our travel skills.