Stranded in LA

After a week-long of hectic schedule, I was finally excited to go home. My meeting was ending at 4:00 PM and I had a red eye at 9:00.

Once the meeting got over I took my chances and hailed a Lyft drive to LA airport with the hope to catch the 5:15 flight. Those of you who knows LA, evening peak hour drive is crowded and unpredictable. From Long Beach to LAX it is an easy 50 minutes ride. Thanks to my frequent flyer status I was confident to make it, provided I reach the airport before 5 PM. The driver was cooperating and he maneuvered his way as fast as he could humanly do.

On the way, I called United airlines 1-800 number and I was immediately put on on hold. It has never happened to me before. My wait time is usually less than a minute. Then it struck me. It was snowing back home and everyone must be calling. My turn came after a good 20 minutes of wait and I was told the 5:15 PM flight was sold out. However, the agent offered me a seat in the 3:00 PM flight which was delayed to 6:00 in the evening. I was thrilled. Now, instead of 6:00 AM I will be home by 2 in the morning.

Gleaming with joy I entered the airport only to find my flight was delayed until 8:00 PM. It was still not a bad bargain for I was reaching home an hour early. I checked into the lounge, read mails, called home, when I received the below message from the airline.

My flight was canceled because of weather conditions. I rushed to the lounge counter but there was already a serpentine line. I stood on the line and in parallel called the airlines number. As expected the hold was long. I tried a third trick. I used the phone app to see if I can rebook myself. The app only gave me options for the next day, that too a connecting flight, making me reach home Saturday morning. I kept refreshing with the hope to find better alternatives. And then I found one option connecting via SFO, making me reach home by midnight tomorrow. Half heartedly I picked the option, but as luck would have, it was sold out before I could confirm my intention.

The line was moving forward at a snail pace, and the telephone was playing the annoying wait music. I kept refreshing the app for other available options. After about a dozen refresh I found a red-eye flight, two hours after my original schedule. I was reaching home at 7 tomorrow morning. It was the best choice under the given circumstances and I grabbed it.

I left the line, snapped the call and came back to the lounge. I ate a light fruit snack and I was lazying around when it suddenly struck me to explore ways to get into my original 9 PM flight. The line was much shorter by now. I stood again and also called the airlines.

After 20 minutes of wait my turn came but then I realize the person standing behind me was from Marine Corp. I thanked him for his service and let him go before me. It was another 5 minutes before my turn came. The lady was helpful and ironically, I was standby on a flight I had a confirmed seat before.

I do not know if I will get a seat. Will let you know later. In the meantime enjoy the below picture. When I first came to the US, back in 2001 Jan, LA airport was my first port of entry. I have been seeing these glowing tubes outside the LA airport ever since.

It was built in the year 2000 and is called “LAX Gateway Pylon Project”. The 13 kinetic illuminating pillars have many inspirations. It represents lush palm trees, Stonehenge columns, ancient temples and glitter of Hollywood.

Thank you for your read.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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66 thoughts on “Stranded in LA”

  1. Your travels are always filled with adventures.Hoping you made home on time.The weather was too crappy here in East coast,snow and high winds.
    I just realized you mentioned you first came to US in Jan ,2001.I came on Jan 11,2001.
    Hahaha..one more thing in common.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand how much frustrating this can be. I really do, more so, because very recently I was stranded just like this, and had no alternative. I was in a train, and there was some strike, because of which the trains couldn’t move. the people who ere on strike had blocked the highways too, so we had no alternative. Everyone of us just sat there, waiting! After a while, we were over with the food and water, and the pantry was empty too. Many of us missed our flights. I sat there, trying to figure out how to exactly reach my destination, or if not how to return home!!
    It was really frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thankfully I was not there for seven days, I don’t know what I would have done with myself, had I been forced to stay there for 7 whole days!!
        I stayed there for more than 36 hours after which they told that the train would leave, which did leave after another 4 hours. when the train left it left in the opposite direction instead and I reached home after another 6 hours!
        And the next day began the arduous task of finding an alternate route to my destination.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are obviously a frequent traveller. I take certain train routes frequently in England and I know all the wrinkles. Like how to travel first class for free. I said in my earlier post that travel narrows the mind but I love setting off on a journey. New ports seen for the first time. To boldly go…

    Liked by 1 person

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