Got to the airport on schedule Sunday afternoon, checked in, got my seat assignment.
The first sign of trouble was when I got to the gate. An hour before the flight, and there were about 50 people in line at the gate. I asked one of them what it was a line for; he said he honestly wasn't sure. I decided not to get in line, and ten minutes later there was an announcement I didn't hear clearly, something about not needing to be in line unless we needed seat assignments. The line dispersed.
Then boarding started, and it became clear what the line had been for: during the half-hour since I had checked in, the computer system had lost track of most of the seat assignments. After maybe ten minutes of slow boarding, I reached the front of the line and was told I was now on standby.
Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long (and didn't have time to get really upset about it) before they shifted to open seating and told us to just get on the plane and pick any seat.
So we boarded, and I got a window seat as desired.
And then we sat on the runway for an hour. Bad weather was forcing most cross-country flights to detour far to the south, which meant a lot of planes taking essentially the same route, which meant the planes had to be spaced a little distance apart, which meant flights were being delayed. Only as usual, they didn't tell us in the terminal "Your flight has been delayed by an hour"; instead, they got us on the plane and then told us. I can imagine several reasons why they do this, but it sure is annoying to passengers.
As we took off, I counted about 25-30 planes waiting in various branches of the takeoff line, plus any that may've been in the branch of the line that was behind us. The later PHL/SFO flight (which I had originally intended to take) apparently ended up running at least two hours late.
At some point after we took to the air, they brought out the food (available for purchase). And ran out of food halfway through the plane; there was nothing left for passengers in the back half of the plane to eat, on a six-hour flight after an hour of sitting on the runway (and leaving right around local dinner time). They also, if I heard right, ran out of water and ice partway through the trip.
Despite the huge detour, the flight time apparently wasn't much longer than planned, 'cause after an hour delay before departure, we were only an hour late arriving. So we got to SFO and went down to baggage claim, and about half the passengers got their baggage--
And then the baggage carousel got jammed, and it took them a good ten to fifteen minutes to unjam it.
(During which time I added about two paragraphs to this entry, only to find that a combination of iPhone's version of Safari and SFO's T-Mobile hotspot setup wiped out the changes I made when I tried to save them, because it decided I was no longer logged in to the hotspot. Sigh.)
We got to hear the phrase "We appreciate your patience" many many times over the course of the evening.
I should note that I was personally mostly unaffected by all this. I got a fine seat; I napped for most of the hour delay; I had bought food and a bottle of water in the airport to bring on the plane for dinner, because I knew from the previous flight on Thursday that their food-for-purchase supply is limited (and didn't really include much I was interested in eating anyway); I didn't miss a connecting flight in SFO, as several of my fellow passengers may have done; and the luggage delay was really minor compared to everything else that went wrong on this flight, and compared to what usually happens to my luggage when I fly into SFO.
(It's been a pattern: I fly into SFO late at night, usually on United I think, and my flight gets delayed by hours, and Kam comes to pick me up at 2 a.m. or so, and my luggage either disappears entirely or gets hidden in a cage somewhere or . . . all sorts of things, usually requiring at least an hour to sort out. This time I was on US Airways, and Kam wasn't picking me up, and the luggage thing went pretty smoothly.)
So all in all, it was a pretty smooth travel day for me. But I feel sorry for many of my fellow passengers on that flight, not to mention the US Airways staff (flight attendants and such) who had to deal with the resulting unhappiness.
I think my Customer Service Demon must have been taking a break after the shenanigans at the hotel over the weekend; usually when the CSD is in action, I get the service problems while everyone around me is unaffected. (Like when everyone else at the table gets their meal but my order mysteriously disappears into the ether.) In this case, it was kind of the opposite; I was unaffected in the eye of the storm, while most of the people around me got whomped by assorted problems over and over again.