I’m back! In Manila… at home. This day was definitely not a good day to travel to Batanes.
I was awake since 4:30am this morning. Packed, bathed and got ready… left the house by 6:09am. Got to the old domestic airport comfortably by around 6:50, and checked in at the SeaAir Counter for my 8:20am flight.
Overweight. (the bag not me)
My bag was apparently overweight by 4 lbs. Which was ironic since I actually thought I under brought stuff this trip. Anyway the maximum weight was 10 lbs, mine was at 14. So I paid Php 400 for the excess. No problem. My fault really, because in my “boyscountness” I packed bottles of water and brought some food. Oh well.
I proceeded to the waiting area. Got a nice cold glass of milk chocolate and watched some videos off my Zune HD while waiting.
For a flight which was supposed to board at 8:05, it was already 8:20 — the departure time and we hadn’t started boarding. I then heard my name over the intercom.
Leave the bag behind.
They off loaded my bag because the plane was too heavy, some bags were too big, or both. Anyway they instructed me to just “take some essentials’” and my bag would follow the next day. Naturally… I freaked out. WHAT!? After all my anxiety of underpacking… I had to only bring what I needed for the next day?
To things more complicated… I was off for a tour that had me wake up at 4am the next day which meant I needed clothes for 2 days.
They said that everyone who’s bag was heavier than 7 lbs, was asked to edit their things.
After hopelessly arguing with the nice ground personnel, I decided to just let things be. Since I knew the agenda for tomorrow (which would be wet) I plucked all essential items for the next two days… slippers, my dry bag, swim wear, underwear, my tripod, toiletries and 2 t-shirts.
They then escorted me to the plane… (as I had restricted items like liquids and a tripod in my possession)
SIDE STORY: I later found out, the reason the plane was heavy was due to cargo from the previous flight. Which I got to think, the same thing would happen tomorrow with other passengers because they needed to bring bags left behind today… so forth and so on.
We boarded and were underway. For a flight slated to leave at 8:20, I recalled looking at my watch while we were taxiing and noted that were still on the ground by 9:20… a full hour after. But then the engines started to roar and we were now on our way…
The plane took off.
Hmm… what about my luggage.
While in flight the one thing on my mind was my bag that I left behind. If I did arrive tomorrow, when I leave will I have the same problem? Then I have to go back to pick up my bag the next day after I arrive… bummer.
Take me back to Manila.
Barely 15 minutes after take off… we had to turn around and head back to Manila. The captain said “due to technical difficulties.” When you hear something like that while in a plane, while annoying, people didn’t complain… after all, safety first.
At least I got to see a 360 degree view of Laguna Bay.
The pilot had parked the plain in the SeaAir maintenance area, not infront of the domestic terminal which signaled to me something was really wrong. A bus came along and shuttled us all back to the departure holding area.
“ok we have to deplane, please take all your things”
On the bus I quickly started evaluating my options. Hmm… should I wait? Should I rebook?
We got back to the departure holding area everyone else sat down and waited. I decided to find out what was what so I could review the situation and assess the options.
Option 1. Wait for the plane to be repaired. Having had travelled often, I knew this would not take a mere 30 min look-and-see. Especially if it was aborted. They would either fix the same plane, or get a replacement aircraft. I knew this would take at least… 2 hours for either to happen. That means my sched is already off and the afternoon tours I had planned would be nixed.
Option 2. Rebook to as later date like the next day. At least my tour sched would be intact, and walang nasayang na oras.
While at the customer assistance counter of SeaAir, some supervisor looking woman said that they would know in an hour whether they would repair the plane or get a replacement. In an hour… so clearly I would be losing hours and no way of exactly knowing when we would be arriving… maybe late afternoon.
I texted the resort in Batanes to let them know.
I decided to just rebook instead. Lucky for me my bag was still at the front counter… it was not on the plane. So I was able to get it quickly. I then walked out of the airport and went to the SeaAir ticketing office to rebook.
I also decided quickly just in case there was a mad rush after the other passengers decide on what they would do… if ever.
Tomorrow was full. They suggested I “try” tomorrow. But I knew it would be full because tomorrow the 27th was where they would put those from the cancelled flight from the 25th… 28th was open! I took it.
I advised the resort and they said they could accommodate me.
I took a cab home and got home around… 10:45… thank god walang traffic.
In all of this, I found myself rather calm. I didn’t get angry. I was annoyed, yes. But I kept on going with a smile on my face, and I said thank you to everyone.
Despite everything that happened. How do I feel about SeaAir. Situation aside… everyone, as in EVERYONE of the SeaAir crew and staff were very very nice. Yes I was annoyed… but by the situation and not because of the people. Everyone was nice, and apologetic… and at the end, tried to accommodate me despite everything that was happening.
At least I still get to leave for Batanes before the end of 2009.
BATANES HERE I COME!!!! Later than planned… but I am still off!
In the meantime… I will play more Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2!!!