I had some pretty fantastic luck with Space-A this time around to close off an overall really smooth trip. That said, there were still a lot of ups and downs in the process, as there always seem to be. This is how my timeline turned out, to give you a little taste of how sporadic it can be.
Sunday, June 22
5:50p - Roll Call - Seat assigned on C-17 heading to Andersen AFB in Guam.
6:58p Hey boo - I went to the terminal and was the 2nd person in line for the 11 seats available on the C-17. Got my boarding pass, checked my bag, then the flight broke and wouldn't be fixed in time to meet the crew rest standards, so they pushed it back 24 hours. I think I will give up my seat and try for one of these earlier flights, because that will set me up to arrive in Guam at a more reasonable hour for being picked up. Will keep you posted, obviously. Luckily Ashley had a dinner group with her friends from the squadron for me to return to. Nothin like leaving Space-A let down to head to a party! Doesn't get much easier than that. Hope you had a great flight. Miss you already :)
Nick: Okay honey, let me know what your plan is when you find out. I love you and can't wait for us to get back to normal life!
[side note: ME NEITHER!]
Monday, June 23
8:29a Hey boo - I am manifest on flight 7979 a KC-135 that is scheduled to leave here at 10a. I will keep you posted if we take off. Also, I figured out I do not have my Guam phone with me so I can't call or text you when I land :( If you could call the Guam passenger terminal for flight updates I'd appreciate it. LY! I will still try to get in touch with you when we land if I don't see you. and can always call my Andersen friends if I need a holding spot. LY!
9:40a - TEXT: About to take off on a KC 135. I think it will land 1500ish. Fingers crossed!
[Side note: my USA phone has about 30 cents left and I have no idea if I will need it past today... so this is a pretty confident text]
11:03a - Just kidding! We boarded, engines fueled up to take off, then they announced the fuel pump was "acting up." So off we go again, meal refunded, waiting on our bags back at the terminal again. No other flights out until tonight, so I will keep you posted. Love ya, ~P
11:10a - Hahaha - 6 minutes later we find out that they are not bringing our bags to us, they are bringing us back out to the plane. Here we go again! Love ya :) If you don't hear from me in like 4 hours call the Guam terminal for arrival info. p
(Uniformed guy is yelling at me to get on the bus, but I don't know if I have phone credit left so I continue emailing while I have wifi access).
11:36a - Back on plane, engines on, everything loaded, doors closed. Ready to go.
12:15p - Still in Hawaii. We have been sitting in a "penalty box" on the runway for the last 30 minutes soaking in our own sweat (temperature control is a luxury completely taken for granted flying commercial, FYI). Since our flight was originally canceled, our flight plan had dropped from the system, so we were waiting on air traffic control to give us a new flight plan. If we did not take off in the next 45 minutes, we would miss the window for crew rest and the flight would be delayed 24 hours.
12:23p - We have a flight plan! We are taking off - hooray!
16:23p Hawaii time - We are now halfway through the flight and therefore "safe" that we won't turn around and head back to Hickam (hey, it happens).
1615p Guam time (8 hours later) - Hooooome!!!!!!
This is my 5th or so time to travel via Space-A and I have learned sooo much. The main thing I have learned is not to get excited or disappointed. About anything. The flights will do what they do, and whether or not you make it where you are going when you want to merits no emotional effort. It won't change a thing.
I have had a lot of friends ask me about Space-A recently, saying I make it look and sound easy. All I have to say is that if it weren't SO unbelievably expensive to get from Hawaii to Guam, it would not be worth the hassle. I am SO lucky to have the easiest possible Space-A scenario, with my good friend Ashley living right down the street from the very terminal we Guammies are most likely to get stuck at. Not to mention a flexible job that won't give me a hard time for taking a few extra days (or, uh, weeks) away.