RT Cunningham


Travel from Olongapo City, Philippines to Eglin AFB, Florida

travel The air travel part of this journey was the worst my wife, Josie, and I have ever experienced. I blame it on American Airlines, which we took from LAX to Dallas.

We turned in the DSL equipment on June 11 and departed from home at around 4 am on June 13. Our flight in Manila was scheduled to depart at 12:15 pm.

Travel from Olongapo to Manila was Uneventful

We rented a Toyota Innova (van) for this leg of the trip. It was raining and we didn’t trust our Mitsubishi Mirage to ride high enough above any possible flood waters we might encounter. It only cost us 1300 pesos ($25 USD).

Our driver, Alex (a relative), used Waze to keep that part of journey as short as possible. We ended up being five hours early for our flight.

Travel from Manila to Los Angeles

We took Asiana Airlines to South Korea and then from South Korea to Los Angeles. The layover was about three hours, which is fine with me. I don’t like rushing around airports.

We arrived at LAX and had to pick up the only bag we checked in Manila. I had to pay $25 for that bag to be checked at American Airlines and they don’t take cash. So, I had to buy a prepaid VISA card at a machine for $30 ($5 just for the card). I didn’t have enough on either of my debit cards.

After we checked in, we went to the assigned gate and waited. We missed our flight because American Airlines changed the gate assignment and we didn’t hear anything about it on the PA system until it was too late.

The customer assistance agent put us on stand-by the next flight to Dallas, with confirmed seats from Dallas to Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. That flight departed eight hours later.

Travel from Los Angeles to Dallas

I can understand why American Airlines has issues. It’s their baggage policy, which is not to check any bag for free. Consequently, passengers avoid paying the fees and take huge bags as carry-ons. The agents end up checking a lot of them at the gate for free. They’d run out of overhead storage space otherwise.

Josie’s carry-on was the same size as mine. It had a handle and wheels. American Airlines made her check it but they didn’t make me check mine. When we were on the plane, we saw a lot of bags bigger than hers.

When we arrived in Dallas, we found out our flight was canceled. After a trip to another customer assistance agent, we got tickets to Atlanta and then Florida because the direct flights for the day had no seats left.

Getting around and finding our gates at Dallas and Atlanta wasn’t difficult. We walked a lot.

Travel from Dallas to Atlanta and then to Florida

The trip itself was uneventful. When we arrived, we found our first checked bag waiting for us at a small American Airlines office. A baggage handler brought out the bag Josie was forced to check and it was nearly destroyed. We made a claim for it, obviously.

Our older son and his family live in base housing on Elgin Air Force Base. His wife, Dianne, is in the Air Force. The airport is actually on the base.

The End of the Journey

We arrived in the late afternoon on June 14, when it should have been at around 9 am. The extra hours isn’t what bothered either of us. It was the unnecessary shuffling caused by American Airlines, which always blames passengers for missing their flights.

More than once and in more than one article, I’ve mentioned that I don’t like to travel. Especially by air. It was the only way to get across the ocean, so I didn’t have a choice. Josie and I didn’t eat enough and we didn’t drink enough water. We’re still suffering from jet lag.

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By RT Cunningham
June 16, 2018
Travel and Transportation