Sunday, February 24, 2013

I hate LAX.

I hate LAX.

If ever there was an airport that sits on the edge of a land the $Diety forgot, this is that airport.  I'd call it Hell, but it's more of a special type of Purgatory where people go to be forgotten, wandering between terminals having to go out of and into security between flights, where you sit in armpit terminals waiting for your aircraft for hours while watching the delayed time increment by 15 minute intervals every 15 minutes.  Best of all, even once your plane finally gets to the gate you're informed over the amazingly unintelligible PA system that there are mechanical issues and they're getting a mechanic to come out and look at the problem.

And that about sums up my afternoon sitting in the American Eagle terminal.

Only that it didn't start or end there.  I was in LAX on a layover between my flight from Edmonton, going to San Jose.  The flight from Edmonton was looking to get in about 10 minutes early, until we got near LAX.  Once about 100 miles out the pilot came on and gave the obligatory "This is your Capt'n speaking blah blah blah landing in about 20 minutes so use the can if you need to" speech.  Shortly after that we started turning right. A lot. Like 1080 degrees of right.  Over a period of time longer than the stated 20 minutes until landing.  

Eventually the pilot came back on and provided an explanation for why we were "driving around in circles".  And some time after that we were eventually on the ground.

Next came the very irritating jaunt across LAX from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4.  This little expedition involves the aforementioned experience of going out of, and back in through security.  You cannot, for no reason other than a piss poorly designed airport, get from one side of that airport to the other without having to subject yourself to the excessively long security lines that permeate this shithole.  The good part is that my baggage was checked through for me, so I didn't have to haul that across the airport, but that only slightly lessens the irritation at that point.

So after I trekked across LAX, reentered security, and took the shuttle from Terminal 4 to gates 44 (a little stubby looking building way at the Southeast end of the airport) I found myself sitting on the floor in an overly crowded, under featured, armpit of a terminal waiting with many others to board our very late arriving flight.

After we finally boarded the plane the pilot was kind enough to inform us that the plane was (still) broken,  Now I make networks go, not planes. The explanation was a bit over my head, but the general gist of it was that the starter was broken.  The plane would fly just fine, but the pilot was unable to start the engines.

The good news, the pilot explained, was that there was a machine that they could bring over to start the engines anyway.  Kind of like a jump start.  The bad news, the pilot explained, was that the only one of these machines that LAX had was also currently broken.

This is the point where you have to laugh.  Not only because you just firmly stepped into the realm of ridiculous, but because every single person on that plane collectively made a "WTF?" face at the same time  I wish I was standing where the lone flight attendant was, with a camera, to get all 50-ish people's "Huh?" faces in one shot.

After everyone had a minute or two to digest this rather fantastical tidbit of information of course the next thing everyone wanted to know was how an airport the size of LAX only have one of these airplane jump start machines?  LAX has <statistics>

And yet only one plane jump start machine.  Or so we were told.

After another 15 minute interval the pilot got back on the speaker and informed everyone that "they" were bringing another plane jump starter over.  Another? Hooray!  They found another one!  A spare, in some dusty corner of the shop that none of the new guys new about.  It wasn't until they paged out the old grizzled tier 3 mechanic who's been there longer than anyone can remember.  Once he was on the phone he proceed to berate the junior mechanic that called him, grunted twice, and told them to go get "Ole Bessy" from mechanic bay 32.

OK, I'm making that up.  But it sure sounds better to me than whatever the truth probably was.  I can't really come up with a feasible explanation for the cluster fuck that was the departure of flight 2685 that Tuesday afternoon.

What was good was the the flight crew were all very nice, and they really did a good job given the shitty situation that they were in with us.  I'm sure the flight attendant was right there with us passengers in wishing that we could just get the plane going. I think maybe even more so since as I was disembarking I heard her mention that they were still going back to LAX that night.  How's that for suck?  The flight crew was, from the looks of things, getting home at least 3 hours late.  And that's assuming they weren't delayed trying to land in LAX again.  I know I'd be rather unimpressed if that happened to me.

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