Flight irregularity foils arrival at pussycat nightclub

“Why didn’t you book a later flight?” Nazy asked.

“There wasn’t a later flight,” I explained. Carefully. “
There wasn’t an affordable later flight,” I thought.

We were at Nazy’s brother's house in San Francisco - helping him celebrate his birthday. And, in fact, my 9:00AM flight wasn’t
that early. I was going to Geneva to begin a consulting gig with UBP, a private bank. Nazy and her sister Shahrzad woke early to drive me from Shahriar’s house in Tiburon to SFO. (That was early, we left at 6:30AM.) The drive was uneventful and since our drive featured Just--in-Time awakening they had missed breakfast. So, I asked to be dropped off. “No need to come in dear,” I jovially told Nazy.

Brimming with confidence, I, international traveller extraordinaire, strutted to check-in.

How can you strut?” I asked myself, “When youre dragging so many heavy suitcases?” [I would be in Geneva for an extended time and Nazy had packed for every eventuality.) I had forgotten that the past few years of limited mileage accumulation had eroded my exalted platinum frequent flyer status. United Airlines had not missed this point. Redirected from the ‘premier’ queue to the pedestrian hovel appropriate for my blue status, I struggled through the crowd.

At the self-service check-in kiosk, I scanned my passport and...

Due to flight irregularities, you have been rebooked

7:52AM departure via Washington select by clicking here
1:50PM departure via Frankfurt select by clicking here

It was 7:14AM, so I chose option 1. The kiosk laughed.

Reader interrupt: “The
kiosk laughed?”

Correction: It was 7:14AM, so I chose option 1. The kiosk giggled and displayed:

See agent

That doesn’t look good,” I thought as I fruitlessly waited for a human being in a United Airlines uniform. In the end I was directed to the right and the end of a lengthy queue.

“Is this the line for..”

“ .... handling screwups?” an obviously distraught passenger interrupted. “Yes.”

By the time I got to the head of the line, the 7:52AM option had departed.

Just my luck,” I thought, “to be late for the only flight of the day that will depart on time.”

Wallowing in misery, I called Nazy. She had left her phone at home. I tried Shahrzad who was driving back to Tiburon with Nazy.

“We’re stuck in traffic on the Golden Gate,” Shahrzad explained.

“I’m stuck in superglue at SFO,” I replied.


“International travel is so glamorous,” I continued.

“Just take advantage of the extra time and get a good breakfast,” Shahrzad suggested.

“At the airport?”

“Would you like to talk with Nazy?”

“I’d be happy to come back and get you, Dan,” Nazy began.


“Except the traffic is terrible and by the time you got here, we’d have to leave again. Besides, Shahriar is taking us to Napa for wine-tasting.”

“Well I wouldn’t want to interfere with that,” I replied.

“I’m so sorry this happened, Dan.”

“Me too.”

“But I thought you said there was no later flight.”

“Hrumph,” I replied. “
So,” I thought. “This is how you get on the later flight without paying extra.

I hung up in time to read an SMS from my sister Marjorie.

Why did they cancel the flight?

I replied quickly:

Because I was on it?

Later, Nazy also called to let me know that she was touring a beautiful vineyard in Napa and looking forward to a glorious lunch nearby. I was relieved to know that she could carry on in spite of my tragic situation.


My new flight, United 900, was non-stop from San Francisco to Frankfurt - where I had a 4 hour layover. UA900 used a Boeing 747 airplane with an entertainment system that was state of the art - in the 1970’s when the 747 entered service. Fat screens were affixed to the ceiling..

“You mean flat screens,” a reader interrupts.

“No, I mean fat screens. FAT screens that couldn’t be seen from my seat (39K).”

I didn’t know that airplanes this old could still fly,” I thought as an octogenarian purser began her pre-departure announcement.

“.. Captain Wright, assisted by first officer Lindberg, will be in command of our flight today.”

At least he’s experienced,” I thought.

At this point in a recapitulation of a flight I usually complain about a late departure. However, in a break with tradition, I am happy to let you know that UA900 left on time and arrived in Frankfurt an hour early.

Thank God!” I thought. “An extra hour to wander around the Frankfurt airport.”

I got to Geneva and discovered that my state-of-the-art AT&T iPhone 5 didn’t work in Europe.

I shouldn’t have bought a phone in a technologically challenged country,” I thought.

I found my centrally located apartment,next to the Pussy Cat Nightclub and across the street from a dog and cat grooming business. (I am not making this up) I met the landlord, unpacked (my computer) and went to sleep. Work begins tomorrow


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