Opinion: Hey, here’s to you, California airports: A narrative on why connecting flights are the worst

By Adam Duke

Copy Editor

This past weekend, the younger editors of The Griffin staff attended a conference in Long Beach, Calif.

At the conference, we received ideas and tips from professional journalists, advisers, and fellow student journalists from around the country. We enjoyed our free time by attending an Anaheim Ducks game and going to the beach following the conference on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The California experience as a whole was enjoyable.

What was not enjoyable, however, were the challenges the staff faced at San Francisco International Airport (twice) and Oakland International Airport. Though JetBlue does offer direct flights from Buffalo to Los Angeles, The Travel Team, Canisius’ travel agent, booked our six students and adviser on three flights there and three connecting flights.

The first two flights of the trip went smoothly. When we landed in San Francisco, however, we discovered that our flight to Long Beach had been canceled due to weather complications. After about an hour of figuring out our next move, we were shuttled to Oakland to catch a flight at Oakland International Airport. We were the first in line to receive our new boarding passes, followed by over 40 people that were on the same flight.

One hour passed. Fifteen people, including three of my fellow editors and our adviser, received boarding passes. Another hour passed. Another editor received a boarding pass in the next wave. Another hour passed. And then, two people remained: myself and assistant features editor Abby Wojcik. We got our boarding passes and were rushed through the security line by a JetBlue representative so that we could make the flight.

On the way home, San Francisco International Airport delayed our flight to JFK, meaning we were likely to miss our final flight to Buffalo. We deliberated on whether we should return to Long Beach to shuttle to LAX and catch a direct flight that would arrive in Buffalo at around 6 a.m. or to #ShootOurShot2k18 and either catch the flight in New York or sleep over at JFK à la Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

We decided to travel back to New York and thanks to an understanding flight attendant, we were able to get an announcement to the plane to allow us to exit first, as the flight landed at 10:31 p.m. and gates closed at 10:35. Because the 20-something-year-old the row ahead of me decided not to listen to this announcement, I used my 5-foot-10, 140 pound frame to box her out like Shaq and sprinted past the mint-class passengers. I didn’t stop, sprinting all the way through the food court to get to Gate 7. I tripped, fell, slid five feet across the ground in front of a crowded JFK airport, similar to the way Editor-in-Chief Janelle Harb did just 364 days before, but The Griffin editors made it. Again.

Do I wish we would’ve gotten a direct flight, or at the very least, more than a 45-minute layover? Of course. Do I think the way Oakland International handled that boarding pass situation was dumb? Absolutely. Would I trade the nearly 40 hours we spent inside airports and in the air for the world? Yea. I’d probably trade it for a prepackaged airport turkey sandwich at this point. But it was fun. I had a good trip. *Trips.*


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