Our latest Space A Tale of Woe. For reasons unknown to most travelers, the almost every-other-day flights from Hickam AFB Hawaii to Travis AFB California have been reduced to maybe 3 to 6 flights and mostly on the weekend.
We began our attempt to leave on Friday. 40 seats had been advertised on the web page, but when the roll call began only 35 seats were available. I was the 35th standby called, but no seat for Julieann. OK, we’ll try the next flight on Sunday.
YES, 73 seats available and we got two of them. We waited another three hours in a holding area before boarding the plane. I was happy to be able to change our billeting and rental car reservations at Travis to match our new arrival time so we were doing well. While we were expecting a five hour flight to Travis, we received the happy news via an announcement by a crew member that the expected flight time was to be only four hours ---YEA.
One hour and 30 minutes into the flight, pressure problems. Couldn’t fix it in the air; must return to Hickam. They tried to fix it while we were on the plane waiting, but nope – we all had to get off the plane and wait in the terminal. After a couple of hours it was determined that the plane wasn’t going to be fixed today. So we are told to pick up our bags (no security for the bags at the terminal), go home, come back tomorrow morning for a 0500 roll call. Good news is that we will not have to re-compete for the seats; we are guaranteed the seats we already “won”.
We arrived at 0430 only to find out that the roll call has been changed to 1100 with a possible departure of 1300. So we waited another six hours in the terminal. When the 1100 roll call was supposed to happen we instead received the news that the plane has been delayed 12-24 hours.
We have a timeline to meet and these delays are cutting into what we had planned. Visiting long time friends at Travis, visiting a cousin I haven’t seen in over 40 year who lives about an hour from Travis, storing three of our four suitcases in our Travis storage unit, and other “stuff”. So, I bought commercial tickets. The four hour military plane is now going to take 14 hours; we leave Hawaii on Wednesday afternoon and arrive at Travis Thursday morning.
UPDATE: While we are boarding the commercial plane at the Honolulu Int'l AP, our military plane is still grounded. Since the crew is originally from Travis, I'd really like to hear the phone call home to the family -- "Honest, Honey, the plane is still broken and we have to spend our time on Waikiki Beach staring at bikinis" or something like that. Wouldn't want to be in their shoes either way. Good luck guys.
So, we wake up at 0600 and begin the task of “re-packing” our suitcases. Our neighbor and very dear friend, Alden, once again drives us to the airport (he’s driven us back and forth from the condo to Hickam Terminal to the condo, etc., etc., about four times already. This should do it….FINALLY. We catch the flight to LAX (five hour flight), sit around the terminal for eight hours, arrive in Sacramento, pick up the rental car and drive to Travis AFB stopping once for breakfast.