AYCJ Day 13: I really should not have flown to San Jose


IMG00339-20100919-1722For the second time during my travels on the All You Can Jet pass from JetBlue I had trouble with my crazy itineraries that involved an extra connection in Boston. Last week it was my desire to fly Sarasota – New York – Boston – Las Vegas rather than just New York – Las Vegas. This week it was an even more irrational desire. I really wanted to fly to San Jose, California.

Why the obsession with San Jose? It is one of only two domestic stations that JetBlue flies to that I haven’t yet visited. I really wanted to get there during this AYCJ period. Even if it meant missing my return flight. Yeah, like I said, bad idea.

Shortly after I made it to Boston I noticed that my connecting flight was orange on the monitor – delayed. About two hours. I originally had built the trip with a 2:25 connection so the two hour delay was not critical initially but it was definitely going to be tight. Still, I made the decision to press on with the trip. I really wanted to get that visit to San Jose. It was only after we were fully boarded and the door was closed and we took an extra 10 minute ground hold after pushing back from the gate that I knew I was screwed. Alas, there was nothing to do at that point but enjoy the flight.

IMG00342-20100919-2250About half way through the flight I was chatting with Rodan and Ashton, two of the awesome flight attendants working the trip. Joe, a flight attendant deadheading out to SJC to work the return flight. I was asking Rodan to help me out by asking the captain to call ahead and let the gate know that there was a connecting passenger on board in hopes that they wouldn’t close the flight out 10 minutes early like they have a habit of doing. It was then that Joe piped in, noting that JetBlue only has one gate at San Jose.

Based on when we were going to arrive the New York flight was going to be just getting ready to push back. It was quite likely that they’d push that flight and then let us pull in to the gate. In other words I’d be watching my flight leave without me from my seat. My hopes were further thwarted when Rodan reported back that he’d spoken with the pilot and we were actually even later than expected getting in to San Jose.

I had missed my flight. Not good.

Still on the plane I call in to the JetBlue reservations line. A transfer to the AYCJ line and then I started trying to explain to Toria my itinerary. Or, really, my itineraries. It turns out that I was on three different trips. The JFK-BOS-SJC was one PNR, SJC-JFK was another and the scheduled trip on day 14 – JFK-IAD-LGB-PDX – was on a third. Needless to say, Toria was confused as I started trying to explain everything. Ultimately we reduced the situation to a couple simple steps.

  1. Confirm that my initial outbound was actually delayed because of a mechanical delay. Once I provided her the original PNR she confirmed that bit. Piece of cake.
  2. Switch my SJC-JFK to SJC-BOS. This was made a bit more complicated due to the fact that the SJC-BOS flight was scheduled to depart two and a half hours before I made the call. It took some wrangling but she was able to make that happen.
  3. I still needed to get from Boston to JFK to catch my 9:50am departure to Dulles. Unfortunately, based on the scheduled arrival time of the now very delayed San Jose – Boston flight that wasn’t going to happen. Time to change itinerary number three. We changed it to start in Boston rather than JFK. Flying direct from Boston to Dulles would get me to the same Dulles-Long Beach flight i was originally booked on. Overall, no big deal.

Yes, it took 35 minutes on the phone to get everything squared away. But it was all changed perfectly. The fact that I started the call prepared, knowing what my options were as soon as things went wobbly bonkers, certainly helped. Plus, I like to think that I have a certain charm on the phone. This definitely wasn’t the first time I’ve managed to rebook a complicated itinerary across multiple PNRs on the fly without too many problems.IMGP5261

I walked back over to the counter and the agent printed my boarding pass. I took my window seat – non-reclining but WAY better than a middle seat which was the other option – and took a few minutes to wander about the San Jose airport. I spent most of that time hanging out with some of the other kids and admire the cool art/science model thing that they had in the gate area at SJC. I also got to chat with a bunch of the gate agents. Turns out that they had been paging me for a while prior to the JFK departure. I apologized for missing my flight and we talked about my adventures for the coming week. Yeah, they think I’m crazy, too.

And then back on the plane and a quick hello from Joe, now changed into his uniform and ready to work. And then sleep. Yeah, I had to shush the lady across the aisle for talking so loud that I could hear her over the engine noise and my ear plugs but that was relatively a non-event in my mind. Next thing I knew we were landing at Boston.

So in the end I was victorious.I made it to the airport I wanted to get to and I even managed to keep my total number of new lines flown steady (swapped SJC-JFK for BOS-IAD) and add a few more miles to my total number flown. And through it all I kept a smile on my face and had a great time interacting with everyone along the way. Not too shabby.

And I’m still considering planning more AYCJ connections through Boston, despite these two setbacks. Yeah, I’m a sadist, but I like the new lines.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. Seth, it was great to meet you, sorry about your missed connection in SJC, if you had not flown to SJC you would not have met Rodan and Ashton, who I agree with you are awesome flight attendants, let’s not forget George up front, he was great also. Meeting these three made me readdress the way I interact with the passengers, they made me a better flight attendant. Folks we meet, can change us and enhance our lives, even though you did not make your connection, you did meet some good people.

  2. Great to meet you, too, Joe.

    I’m quite impressed by your statement that watching your colleagues work changed your view of the job. I was sleeping the whole flight home that you were workign but based on what I saw from you on the outbound and during boarding I’d say that you’re probably up there with those guys in terms of providing great service to JetBlue customers already.

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