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The United Experience

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Every single year since I was born, I have gone with my family, and usually one or more of my friends, to go to the island of Kauai in Hawaii, a trip that usually lasts 2 weeks. This year though, my trip technically got extended by one day thanks to United. To summarize, the flight ended up being almost 7 hours late and 40 miles away from where it was supposed to leave.


The plane was supposed to depart from Lihue Airport, in Kauai, at 1:20. It took off at 1:23. About 2 minutes later, the left side of the plane started dipping and the plane started shaking a lot more. I thought it was nothing, but my mother, who was sitting in the row in front of me started freaking out. I still didn’t believe her, for I was going to show her a funny clip I saw while watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. My ignorance got her to calm down and we started watching the clip. About 30 seconds into watching that, the pilot came on the intercom, and said that the left generator failed. Luckily a retired United pilot was sitting next to my mother, and said that a failed generator didn’t mean that there was no power, but that our left engine had died. Very subtly, my mom exclaimed “Oh {censored}.”


But rest assured, the pilot on the intercom said that we would have a relatively normal landing. “Great,” I said to myself, “I like my things relatively normal.” But we landed safely, and loudly, but I didn’t care. I was still trying to beat the last level on Super Monkey Ball. When we gated, we didn’t want to leave the plane, especially me. Because we were in First Class. We were living the high life, everything was great. The pilot said that they are going to replace the generator and then run some tests on the plane. During this time, I had to call my dad, step-dad, and friends dad, twice. Once explaining what happened, and then telling each again that we were going to leave.


About an hour and a half later of Super Monkey Ball Space Case tries, the pilot said that everything was peachy keen. Yay (he didn’t actually say “peachy keen,” by the way). About 50 feet from the ramp he said that they were having the same problem with the generator and that they are trying to fix it again. This process took about an hour, and, during this time, the crew of the plane took our orders. I just wanted the salad, for I am a vegetarian. Then an old lady with an odd accent got on the intercom and said that we needed to get on another plane...that would be leaving in about 3 hours.


“Oh {censored}!” my mother exclaimed. She immediately got out her iPhone, which had a run in with the ocean earlier that week, and called United to order some tickets for another plane that left at 9 local time. She got confirmation numbers from everyone, and we had a backup plan. So out to the gate we went. My friend packed the power charger for his MacBook Pro in his checked back, so he had to use mine. We started watching the Pilot episode of Burn Notice, which I have seen at least 3 times. It was getting late, and I was hungry, and you wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry. We started heading down to get some Quiznos. The line was about 10 people long.


Then, on the intercom of the airport, they said that they will have to start boarding NAO. So we rushed back to the gate, only to wait 10 minutes in a line for boarding. When we were on the plane, it seemed that nothing else could go wrong. About an hour after we successfully got in the air, the stewardess started handing out nuts. Yes, nuts. My mom said to “ask her for extra nuts.” I snickered because I have seen that episode of South Park.


About an hour after asking for extra nuts, they started handing out my dinner, or lunch, which I think it was supposed to be. The salad was OK, I’ve had better. I brought with me a power converter for the plane to charge my MacBook Pro while I used it. But alas, my beast computer uses more power than the aircraft can deliver, and only charged for about 30 seconds before the charging light went out.


Before I left, I had downloaded many new albums to listen to, and I was lucky. I feel asleep a few times, and soon, I saw the darkened skies of good ‘ol San Francisco. We were finally there, we were the real Winrars. The flight landed at San Francisco International Airport at 2:32 in the morning, a full 7 hours and 4 minutes later than it was supposed to be.

I never beat that last level of Super Monkey Ball...

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I have a similar experience. After an 8 hour layover in Newark NJ on the way back from Belfast, UK, (compared to an 11 hour one on the way there), we got on the plane at about 9 o'clock and were taxiing to the runway when we suddenly stopped, along with 40 other planes on the tarmac. There was a thunderstorm to the east that grounded all the eastbound planes. Well we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours, "Folks, we should be able to take off in less than 20 minutes, so hold still and when this thing blows over we'll be in the air." Luckily I slept for the last hour, (the guy next to me finally stopped snoring) and woke up in the air. Got into Birmingham at 2 o'clock in the morning though.....

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