Photos from the San Francisco Trip

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Apr 272016

We went again to San Francisco two weekends ago for the Gay Men’s Chorus Concert, Tales of Our City, which included Armisted Maupin speaking about his adventures in San Francisco in 70s, 80s, and 90s, and his remembrances of people like Harvey Milk and other gay leaders of the time.

Lay has always wanted to move there since our first visit, but now he doesn’t. I was warm and not so crowed (other visits have been for Pride), so he saw kind of the real grind of day-to-day life there with the urine smell, poop in the doorways in the mornings, and the drugs on the street.

Still, it was a good trip, we saw some areas we had not seen before, and the concert was even more fabulous than usual. If you ever have a chance to hear this group, by all means, please do. You won’t regret it. Continue reading »

United Airlines Epic Fail

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Jun 022013

UnitedAirlinesPlanesLast week I flew to Chicago to attend a professional conference. I was sent along at the last-minute, and didn’t have a lot of time to work out the details of the conference, so I’d just planned to take the last flight home Wednesday evening.

It was raining in Chicago last Wednesday, so it will be no surprise that nearly every flight was delayed. My flight was scheduled to depart at 7:32PM CDT and arrive in Tampa at 11:14PM EDT. The conference was over right around noon, so our sales person in Chicago gave me a ride to the airport, and we stopped and had lunch along the way.

I arrived at O’Hare around 1:30. Although I’d checked in on-line, I checked in again at a kiosk. In the past, during that kind of on-site check-in, it would automatically put you on standby for earlier available flights. There was a flight scheduled to leave about 2:30PM, but it was already delayed to around 4:00PM. The kiosk didn’t present me with the standby option.It did however, notify me that my flight was potentially over-booked, and asked me if I’d be willing to volunteer for a later flight (meaning the next morning), for a $200 voucher. I declined.

I went through security, and just headed to the posted gate. Of course, no one from United was at the gate, and actually there wasn’t much of anyone at any of the nearby gates.

I headed back up the concourse to the customer service counter. It didn’t seem the line was very long, but was I in for a surprise. There were a series of kiosks there as well, and you were supposed to check in on those, and you got a ticket telling you when to come back to actually get waited on by a person. My wait-time for that privilege was 2 hours and 3 minutes. Lest you think I’m kidding, the actual ticket is below. Continue reading »

Fun For Friday

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Aug 272010

So, I haven’t been posting very much lately. Work has been very busy, but as the boss says, “it’s better than the alternative.” I was in Washington, D.C. three days this week. Yesterday involved a meeting at the Pentagon. This is my first time visiting there, and it was very interesting. We had to go through three different sign-in’s, and then lock our cell phones and electronics in a safe before finally going into the conference room for the meeting.

The United flight I was planning to take home used to leave at like 6:50pm. Fortunately I looked at the itinerary in time to realize the time was rolled-back to 5:40. I made it to the gate with no problem, but was a little more rushed than I wanted to be. Of course, we didn’t leave on time. Oh we were boarded and pushed back right on schedule. Then, sitting out on the tarmac in a baking hot plane with no AC, they spent an hour trying to a get the engines started. When they gave that up, they said we’d have to be towed back to the gate, and for some reason it took over 20 minutes to get the tug out and hooked up. At least they had it repaired in about 30 minutes.

So, with all that said, here’s something to make your Friday a little more fun. I find the folks able to do this amazing, and I admit to the sin of coveting their skill. I wish I could do it.

Apr 252007

As one friend noted, I’m doing the rock star tour. I am headed to Pittsburgh this morning, and will fly into Reston, VA tonight for some meetings at our headquarters tomorrow. Tomorrow night I fly to New York City for a software user conference Friday. Finally home tomorrow night. I was going to purchase an upgrade for this flight to Pittsburgh. The system messed up and didn’t take my credit card, and he couldn’t backup, so he just issued the upgrade. I can live with that.

Feb 022007

I guess I outsmarted myself. I was on an evening flight from Boston to Dulles that allowed me just under an hour to make the connection. So, I wisely arrived early and got on an earlier flight. This woukd give me a two and one half hour window in case of delays.

Well, this flight is now so delayed, I probably won’t make the connection, and my original flight left on time. They were moving people over, but then quit just as I got up there, as they decided they had this plane repaired. Now they are replacing something else.

It’s 7:30, they are still working on it. It’s 90 minutes to Dulles, and my outbound leaves at 8:55. I’m stuck in D.C. For the night, I can just feel it.

UPDATE: Well, as expected I did not make it on the connection last night due to the extra work that had to be done to the plane in Boston. But of course, it couldn’t be just that. The people at United (as with most airlines) have a great way of piling on insult to injury.

They were moving people with connections to the plane I was originally on. When it was my turn at the ticket counter, the gate agent announced he’d been told they had a good plane, and everyone should get ready to board and depart on that plane. So of course, then there were the additional repairs that too so long they even reopened the cabin door.

At just after 7pm I called the travel agent’s number expecting to roll to their after hours call center. Of course Debbie answered, and insisted on helping out. (That’s why you book with a travel agent rather than an on-line agent.) She saw in my record they had already booked me on a 10:40 our of Dulles the next morning, so they knew at the gate I would not make my connection. Of course 10:40 wasn’t the earliest flight out. There was an 8:00am. flight.

Debbie noted there was a Delta flight leaving at 8:05pm going direct to Tampa. So I started ringing the flight attendant call button. I had to ring it four times, and finally 11 minutes later the flight attendant decided to stop by (despite the fact that I was in First Class). She went out to talk to the gate agents, and returned to tell me they’d be down to speak with me, but it was too late to get me on the Delta flight. Supposed the paper work would take too long, but of course they just didn’t want to pay Delta for the flight.

The gate agent started up on me about why I didn’t get on the other flight. I reminded him that I was standing in front of him to do just that when he announced I should board the flight I was now stuck on. I asked them for the hotel, meal, and ground transportation vouchers for Dulles. Of course they couldn’t be bothered with that, and advised me to check with the gate agent when I got to Dulles.

I explained that I was tired of being inconvenienced and the female gate agent advised me it was inconvenience for them too. (Oh yeah, that really settled me down.)

I returned to my seat on the plane, and while in route I explained to the flight attendant I expected a big problem with the checked bag, and asked her to call ahead and be sure the bag was either made available gate-side or taken to baggage claim. She took the claim number, and returned a bit later to advise me the captain had radioed ahead, and the bag would be taken to baggage claim. I then double checked with her that it was going to baggage claim. Continue reading »