Did I ever make the right decision in trusting my gut!?
The American Airlines flight to Dallas was canceled more than four hours after it was supposed to depart. Passengers were loaded and on the plane (I saw them loaded before I got on my Philly flight), and then had to wait for hours before the decision was made to cancel.
Meanwhile, I am now over Canada, or at least Canadian waters, on my way back to the US.
Airline travel is fraught with possibilities of things to go wrong, and that things do not usually go wrong as a testament to hard working ground and maintenance crews. Today’s flight to Dallas just felt ill-fated, and I am counting my blessings.
Confession: I usually avoid USA flagged carriers when flying on international trips, preferring the greater comfort, better food, and amenities of international carriers.
This trip, however, has been on American (and two legs on Iberia once in Europe).
The American Airlines experience this trip has been remarkable indeed.
At Saint Louis Lambert, the airline staff were happy, helpful, and friendly. Smiles abounded. The Philadelphia staff was less happy, but that may have been the late-leaving Orlando flight coloring everything for them.
The outbound flight to Madrid left on time and was only 1/4 full. My upgraded (for a fee) seat got me a couple of vodka tonics and a better meal, plus a reclining seat.
Now back at Madrid, I can say that I’ve had a bad feeling all week about the MAD>>DFW leg of this trip. I woke this morning to find the inbound flight all in good shape, and came to the airport. At the gate, just as the flight was supposed to board, the announcement: mechanical issues are being checked.
I really want to get home today. As I write, the DFW flight is still waiting to board, and will now be, at best, 90 minutes late.
So I walked over to the connection desk, and inquired about changing to the Philadelphia flight leaving at 1 p.m. Senora Maru told me I’d have to call customer service, that this desk was not able to issue tickets.
And then she loaned me her phone!
(AA is now bringing sandwich lunches for the passengers who are delayed on the DFW flight, and offering apologies and thanks for patience.)
Bottom line: customer service got me changed without penalty to the Philly flight, which is shorter anyhow. I will be home only 30 minutes later than planned.
And the connections desk staff got me in better seats that I’d originally had.
And then one of the staff called the baggage folks and got my bag switched to this Philly flight.
I should give a special shout to Manu (Maria Eugenia) who loaned her phone. But the entire AA staff here today has been gracious and helpful, restoring my confidence somewhat in domestic-flagged carriers.
(And as I finish writing, AA is now boarding the DFW flight. But I’d miss my final leg if I had stayed on DFW, and the Philly flight is shorter by nearly three hours. Assuming Philly leaves on time, I made the right call.)
On a layover, a three-hour ramble around central Madrid. I watched some street dancing, caught the 7 p.m. bells at the Cathedral, sat through most of Mass in Spanish, and found some pizza and beer, which really it the spot.
My room at the airport Hilton.
This Hilton, near the airport, is a solid 1 km walk from the nearest Metro stop, which is itself more than a dozen stops from the city center. I got my walking in today.
Scenes from the San Miguel Market:
From the airport —
The pilot took off heading east, and then past Tangier banked a 270 pig-tail turn.
And I got to see Tangier from the air!
Notice the scallop-shaped bay on the east side of town. That’s the bay about which I wrote on Wednesday morning — a natural harbor for sailors and pirates alike.
In the cropped photo, you’ll notice three taller building just to the right of center. The buildings have dark window glass. The most easterly of these is the Hilton. My windows, on the other (north) side of the hotel, looked out onto the bay, and over to Spain, which you can see most clearly in the cropped (second) photo.