MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World

In San Francisco again

Posted on 2010-07-19 01:00:00
Tags: Travelling, San Francisco, TV, Rant, Trains

As stated before, I'm in San Francisco right now. And the flight to here with United Airlines was kind of a nightmare...

I might be spoiled, but with in the travelling I've done in the last ten years, I didn't encounter an airliner which on its long haul flights didn't come with complementary eye-patches and inflatable neck pillow. Oh, I did this time, and it sucked.

Also the "entertainment system", for a lack of better word, were old-fashioned TVs hanging on the roof and a projected on the wall in front of me. So, no eye-patches and this light constantly flashing in front of my closed eyes: To sleep you don't need brain-stimulation like that! Getting rid of these TVs would be a good thing.

The people in the plane where acting like they were on a school trip with zero clue of what was going to happen. The plane left at 14:00 Body Time, which means that it got dark at 17:00 Body Time. So far so good. The cabin crew turned off the main lights and everywhere the reading lights went on and people started to talk loudly and laugh. Did I tell you that there were no eye-patches? AAAAAAAAAARGH! So at 23:00 Body Time everybody kind of fell asleep (finally), but then at 01:00 Body Time the guy next me opened the plastic cover in front of the window and kept it open because he wanted to see the sun. Still two hours to go and had barely any sleep.

Now the good news... I digged up a set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones before I went, new battery in it and oh man, that noise-cancelling works great. Too bad I didn't have an inflatable neck-pillow so I couldn't easily wear it, but the quietness was kind of what prevented me from going totally insane on the plane.

The flights I had went from Sydney to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The transfer time I had in Los Angeles was 60 minutes before boarding and 90 minutes before take-off. That was a close call... First you have to go through the DHS checks, which takes 25 minutes before it is your turn, then you have to get your luggage and go through customs, another 20 minutes. Then it's getting rid of the luggage and run towards terminal 7 (It is warm in LA, so my jacket and shirt and singlet were way too much, huff puff). And then you see this huge queue in front of the security check to get towards the gates again. And you hear in the distance "Flight UAsomething to San Francisco is now boarding". Talking to customer representatives doesn't help, the queue is one giant string of people and you just have to wait until it is your turn. Tick tick tick... And finally when they announce the final final boarding call for flight UAsomething, it is my turn and I woosh through. With my laptop and my belt in my left hand and my backback and jacket in the my right hand (I know that it sounds impossible, but that it how it happened) I ran towards the gate and was the second last person to enter the plane. Just in time!

And then San Francisco... Covered in brownish clouds (ugh). They still haven't fixed the awful sounds on the BART trains, I wonder if people who travel daily with it wear earplugs or get compensation or just go deaf early...

But now everything is fine. The hotel is close to Chinatown, so the food will be good, and I had a walk through the area (more or less randomlay walked from the hotel to the west and to the south and to the east until we came to the water and then back to via the Abraham Lincoln Brigade monument and the Villancount Fountain while lots and lots of water was pouring out from it. Very impressive.

Later this week more.

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From: Jac Goudsmit
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Posted on: 2010-08-10 09:38:01
CommentUnited and Delta are "you get what you pay for" as far as I know - which is not much... For the way back you should buy your own travel pillow and eye patches. At least you had the Bose! As for the crap with customs: you ALWAYS have to go t...hrough customs the FIRST time you land in the states, and you'll have to pick up your checked baggage and drop it off elsewhere. Customs was a pain in the butt 10 years ago before 9/11 so I imagine they're an even bigger pain now, so I recommend when you come next time if you can't get a non-stop flight to where you want to go, try planning it so the stop-over is NOT in the USA. I know, you may not have a choice coming from Australia...
From: Jac Goudsmit
URL: -
Posted on: 2010-08-10 09:38:16
CommentSecond, when flying within the US, fly Southwest Airlines if possible: they're not as cheap as Delta or United and they probably won't feed you (except maybe on a cross continent flight) but their prices are reasonable and they don't have silly surcharges for checked baggage and snacks. Whenever I'm at Phoenix airport, the only airline that always has lines of people waiting is Southwest, and there's a reason for that: value for money.
From: Jac Goudsmit
URL: -
Posted on: 2010-08-10 09:38:27
CommentLastly: you should have rented a car instead of deal with public transport :-)

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