I acknowledge the complete mastery of the Travel Gods, and will no longer fail to give them their due when traveling to Maui.
After a lovely two weeks with the family on Maui, we packed up our gear and headed to the airport. A nice smooth flight to Los Angeles (when flying on miles, United likes to make it as difficult as possible for you so you’ll throw up your hands and pay instead), and we thought we had it made. A two hour layover for the connecting flight to San Francisco was just enough time for a beer and some pizza at LAX. We thought we had the Travel Gods beat.
Right. The laughter in Valhalla must have been deafening as the Travel and Weather Gods teamed up for a real doozy.
After an ATC delay of 30 minutes on the LAX tarmac due to delays in SFO, we finally were airborne for the 55 minute flight from LA to San Francisco. It’s a nice flight, but as we approached the Bay Area, the captain came on the speaker to say we were in a holding pattern and should be landing in 15-20 minutes. Not unusual – even a strong breeze causes delays in SF.
Well, 45 minutes later, we’re still holding, and the captain comes back on to announce that we’re going to have to make an emergency landing in San Jose Airport to take on more fuel. It’s about 12:45am at this point, we’re an hour late landing, and now going to the wrong airport – with no ATC. The captain had to do a declaration landing, warning other pilots over the radio he was coming in for an emergency landing. I could almost hear the Travel Gods having a jolly time over this one.
So, there we were, 2 miles from home, and stuck in a full sardine can of very unhappy passengers and flight crew, looking at the dark airport, and hoping someone came soon with a fuel truck. The captain was not too encouraging about when we would get to take off. With my luck, we could be stuck there until dawn.
Several passengers (Alexei being one of them) asked the crew if we could just get off here, but no luck there. The airport was closed, and we couldn’t get a gate to get to the terminal. Hey – I would have jumped the fence and walked home at that point.
After another hour of waiting, the guy with the fuel truck poured the equivalent of an emergency can into the tank, and off we rumbled back into the air. 7 minutes from wheels up in San Jose to wheels down in San Francisco. That’s how long it took us – has to be the shortest flight that landed on wheels on record since Orville and Wilbur. The passengers all wearily clapped their hands when we finally arrived.
Looking out the window as we landed at 2am, the reason for the delay was obvious. The Weather Gods conspired with the Traffic Gods once again. SFO was socked in with fog that reached the ground. There was NO visibility pretty much anywhere at the airport. The funny thing was – there was NO fog anywhere else – 100 yards from the airport was clear all around. We finally got home around 3am.
There is no way this was a coincidence. It was clearly divinely caused. No mere mortal can compete with the combined forces of the Gods.
Before my next trip, I will sacrifice an old suitcase to the Gods in the hope they will leave me alone.