Thursday, June 05, 2014

Day 0, continued in Greece

You might wonder why, on my flight from TLV to PHL to LAX to SFO I am posting a picture from the Athens international airport that says "Welcome to Greece".

Apparently, a number of people smelled fumes on the plane out of TLV and got sick, including the lovely Bahai girl sitting next to me on our unexpectedly short flight. She didn't throw up, but she felt close to doing so.

So we diverted to Greece and had to collect our luggage (I don't have any checked in) and rebook entirely new flights. We landed in Athens at 2:00, they let us off the plane at 2:45 (after emergency medical people dealt with some of the sick 'uns) and then we queued up at the US Airways ticket counter. By 5:00, about 10 people had successfully booked new tickets, with hundreds more waiting in line. I know they woke those two poor US Airlines people to come help us out, but 30 minutes per person is just a tad slow. No one has had any sleep or eaten since Israel.

Lucky for me, some woman in line called the US and re-booked her ticket directly with the US Airways ticketing office and then gave out the number to others to do the same (she even lent her phone to me to do this, since mine doesn't work here). So, while the line is still going and probably will until, oh, July, I am already re-booked. Another 15 minutes of cajoling the airport workers, and they also opened boarding lines for those of us who had re-booked, so we could get our boarding passes (US Airways won't open any lines until 3 hours before the flight; they can't check in luggage yet, but I don't have any haha). And we got a 15 EUR voucher for food (or, in my case, cans of coke I'm guessing).

My new tickets skip LA entirely and go straight to SFO from PHL, arriving 2 hours later than the original itinerary. So instead of 7 hours in LA, I now have 9 hours in Athens, but it's all in the airport. I was planning on buying a Ready SIM in LA, which is not available in SFO, so I'll need an alternative plan.

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