I suppose United Airlines could have screwed up our flight home even more than it did, but overall, the airline did a pretty good job of it without trying that hard.
In Shanghai, we learned that the aircraft for the 13-hour flight home had been changed–to a smaller plane. So UA reps are walking through the crowd asking if anyone wants to fly to Chicago the following day. And because the aircraft was smaller than the originally scheduled, the seat assignments went out the window. Of course. So instead of getting the two side-by-side seats near the lavatory, which we initially selected while making our reservation and which were confirmed, we end up four or five rows apart in the middle of the five-seat center section. Regrettably, I have a low tolerance for this sort of thing. I wish I could just roll with it, which, in the end, would probably be better for my blood pressure and my overall disposition for the trip home. But I only have those thoughts after I am absolutely livid and have calmed down.
Anyway, I did not relish the thought of spending 13 hours on a flight without the company of my travel companion. So I summoned a flight attendant, told her where my wife was sitting, and said I would leave it up to her to figure out how to get us seated together. After the plane was airborne, that worked out.
In Chicago, it turns out that the the connecting flight must have somehow been affected by the debacle in Shanghai, and we realized that our seats for the hop from Chi-town to the Twin Cities had also been changed. They were also adjacent when we made the reservation. This was much easier to live with because the flight is only an hour. Besides, my body oder was growing stronger from the 13-hour flight with 300 other humans, and I would rather subject a total stranger to that than my wife.
But, alas, United Airlines was not finished messing with us. After a three-hour layover in Chicago, we discovered that our 9 p.m. flight was delayed until 11:45. This, of course, necessitated calls to our sons at home to make them aware of the situation.
So, from being so upset that I could have been recruited to carry a picket sign in protest of United Airlines, I have returned to a relative state of c’est la vie. Actually, I’m grateful for this episode, now that I think about it; I now have the opportunity to amuse my readers with another travel story.