A Taxi Trip Across LA + Unplanned Stop in Boston, Courtesy of United Airlines

Lately, it seems like I just cannot have a delay-free trip. Everything seemed to be working out so nicely yesterday: my flights showed on-time at united.com and my complimentary first class upgrade from San Francisco-Philadelphia had been confirmed. But when I showed up at the airport, I was informed of a mechanical delay on flight up to San Francisco, delaying departure by 30 minutes and turning my 35-minute connection into a 5-minute connection.

The first suggestion of the SkyWest agent assisting me was to fly tomorrow. Not an option. I asked her to look into going through Chicago, Washington, Newark, or Houston and she went to work looking. Nothing. There was economy class space to Chicago, but the Chicago-Philadelphia flights were zeroed out this morning and she was not empowered to overbook. The non-stop Los Angeles-Philadelphia flight was also zeroed out.

I whipped out my laptop to begin to search with a goal of finding premium space to the east coast.  I succeeded, finding space from LAX to New York JFK in first class, then a cross-town connection to Newark, then down Philadelphia or space from LAX to Boston in first class, then Boston to Philadelphia on US Airways.

Premium Service first class appealed to me—it would have meant an angled lie-flat seat, plush pillow, and warm blanket—but ultimately chose to pursue the Boston option just to avoid an aggravating and pricey airport transfer in New York City.

The agent was not at all lazy at Burbank—she was great in fact, but she suggested I call the 1K desk and ask them to help me out since she there was a line of passengers waiting for assistance. I was happy to comply.

Just 30 seconds of holding (thank you United) and I was connected to an agent. The agent listened to my request and went to work, putting me on hold but checking in every 10 minutes. While it took nearly an hour on the phone (calling US Airways to confirm availability and re-issuing the ticket took some time), I got what I wanted and the Burbank agent checked me in for my new flights.

She also issued an $85 taxi voucher and a $10 food voucher for the delay. It was now 21:00 and I had 1.5hours before departure of my Boston flight. I had to wait a few minutes for a cab, but a very nice older Armenian man seemed thrilled about a taxi ride all the way to LAX.  He also seemed, dare I say, honest—which is sadly so rare for a taxi driver. By law, a meter must be running while the cab has a passenger inside, and the trip to LAX ran up a $93 tab, but he said the $85 voucher would be enough (not bad for 35 minutes of driving) and he would not even accept a tip from me. First time in my life I’ve encountered a cab driver who would not accept a tip!

The flight to Boston was uneventful—I went right to sleep and got in 4.5 hours of much-needed sleep. Opt-out of the nude-o-scope at Boston, but a very cursory patdown before redeeming my meal voucher for a heaping omelet filled with jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, ham, and cheese.

Then a quick flight down to Philadelphia and a train ride into town. I’m back in the City of Brotherly Love—3.5 hours later than scheduled, but back.


Elliott April 11, 2012 at 01:36 am

We're you on UA560 per chance Sunday? I was too, in 8A!

@Elliott: Do you mean UA506 from LAX-BOS at 2234? Indeed, I was in 2B.

Elliott April 11, 2012 at 05:31 pm

@Matthew indeed I do! Keep up the great work, love the blog!

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