flying united to bob hope airport in burbank

Friday, January 3:  Thursday afternoon, January 2, marked the first time I’ve flown domestically in possibly 20 years.  Maybe more.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I flew somewhere within the U.S.A. as most trips I’ve taken within our borders have been by car.

I had no idea that airlines flying within the States have become such penny pinchers.  First, when I checked in with United Airlines at 3:00 p.m., I was surprised and annoyed to find I had to pay $25 for my FIRST (& only) checked bag.  I grudgingly paid it, but I wondered why the airline doesn’t just include your first piece of luggage in your ticket price.  I’ve been flying internationally for the last 3 years, on every conceivable airline, and NEVER have I had to pay for my first checked piece of luggage!

We get settled into the plane as the temperature outside drops and a light snow begins to fall.  Our plane is due to take off at 5:00, but at 5:30, we’re still attached to the airport by the boarding ramp.  I’m watching the time closely, because I have a 1 hour layover in Denver, connecting to Burbank, California, and already we’re a half-hour behind.  We’re told by the captain that we’re waiting for about 30 passengers from connecting flights.  We wait.  And we wait.  And finally, I guess the 30 have straggled in, because they detach the boarding ramp and we slowly pull onto the runway.

We don’t get far.  The captain announces that because of our delay, combined with the snow and the falling temperatures, our wings now need to be de-iced.  This process takes another 30 minutes plus some.  By this time, I can see that there is no way I’m going to make my connecting flight, as we’re already over an hour behind.  And I thought this was going to be easy, this flying over the land of the free.

Free is one thing it’s not, because in addition to paying for my one piece of checked luggage, I also have to pay for any food I consume.  The choices are slim: boxed snacks of crackers, cheese, hummus and apples.  All for just $10!

The flight is uneventful, but when we arrive in Denver, it is 8:05 and my flight to Burbank was due to take off at 7:56.  I think perchance the flight has waited for me, as we waited for all those connecting passengers in Washington, but by the time I run from one end of Denver airport to the other, it’s about 8:20 and I see my plane, still sitting on the tarmac in plain sight.  However, it’s already been detached from the ramp and the door is locked and there is not one United employee in sight.  I wave frantically out the window to no avail.  I head directly for customer service.

Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn

Lined up at Customer Service are all the people who have missed connecting flights this evening; there are plenty of US and only one of THEM (meaning United Customer Service).  I wait in line a full 1 1/2 hours before I get to talk to the one United employee manning the desk.  She tells me I’ll be staying overnight in the Holiday Inn Quebec Street and I can take an 11 a.m. plane to Burbank on Friday.  She then directs me to the hotel shuttle outdoors.  I ask if the airline will bear the cost for this unplanned layover and she tells me it depends on what our delay is coded.  Apparently if it was coded “delayed due to weather,” the airline would not have been responsible!  My flight must have been coded something else, because in fact, United did pay for my hotel room and gave me meal vouchers as well.  Ah, redemption.

When I get out to the shuttle, for some bizarre reason I tell the shuttle driver I’m looking for the Queen of Sheba Hotel.  They all look puzzled until I look at the voucher and find it’s instead the Holiday Inn!  Where on earth did I get that?

The Holiday Inn Quebec Street is actually quite expansive, modern and comfortable, even a little artsy, with a huge open lobby where you can look over the interior from the hallway/balcony outside each room. The breakfast buffet is delicious, especially the omelet with cheese, avocado and tomatillo sauce.

Atrium lobby of the Holiday Inn
Atrium lobby of the Holiday Inn

The shuttle deposits me back at the airport by 9:00, and our flight leaves right on time.

Waiting for my morning flight to Burbank in Denver
Waiting for my morning flight to Burbank in Denver

I’m excited during the flight to see the snow-covered Rocky Mountains down below; I wouldn’t have seen them if I had been on my night flight.

Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains

When I arrive in Burbank at 1:50 p.m., my suitcase is nowhere to be found.  Research shows it went to San Francisco, and a flight is expected later that afternoon which can reunite me with my bag.  I give my sister’s address, and head to the curbside where she picks me up in her nifty little Fiat.

Bob Hope Airport
Bob Hope Airport

We make a stop at her house, drop off my carry-on bag, meet her dogs, and then head out for sushi at Akari Sushi.

Akari Sushi
Akari Sushi
Akari Sushi
Akari Sushi

We share a Sunset Roll (sweet combination of shrimp tempura, freshwater eel, avocado, and crunchy powder drizzled with sweet sauce for perfection) and a Fire Dragon (tempura white fish & avocado with spicy tuna on top drizzled with a special sauce), accompanied by Sapporo and warm saké.

Sunset Roll
Sunset Roll
Fire dragon
Fire dragon

I’m of course worried that my bag won’t show up as promised, but I can’t sit around waiting at her house.  Stephanie wants to see The Invisible Woman, a film about a complex love affair between Charles Dickens and a young actress named Nelly.  We go downtown to the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood.  Where better to see a movie than in the land where movies are made?  I find the movie ultimately unsatisfying, but our dinner of Japanese small dishes at Nanbankan on Santa Monica Boulevard more than makes up for it.  More Sapporo doesn’t hurt.

Here is my artistic sister’s homage to our day.  I adore her lists accompanied by paintings from her journals.

~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit :-)
~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit 🙂

My sister’s illustrations can be found here: KONSUMERISM.RUN.AMOK: the most random of desires.

34 thoughts on “flying united to bob hope airport in burbank

  1. Always a silver lining – free hotel and breakfast, a look at the Rocky Mountains…and, yes, they are trying to make money off of everything these days…on domestic flights, most people only bring carry-ons And BYOF – bring your own food 🙂

    1. Yes, Annette, trying to squeeze every penny out of us! I sure miss my international flights on much better airlines. Probably all airlines will go in this direction eventually. Oh well, I did get to stay in that nice hotel, a Holiday Inn at that (!), and to see the Rockies. But then I missed out on more than a half day of my holiday….. 🙂 Oh well, what could I do? It was a lovely time to visit friends and family….. and to be warm. 🙂

  2. I think the airlines are making flying a test of patience and endurance now – when I flew to Seoul in 2010 I felt like I was compressed into my seat (do not have short legs), knees against the back of the seat in front of me, nearly up to my chin. We’ll be flying to Fort Lauderdale for the cruise and since I have to pay to check a bag, I figure I might as well make it a big one!

    1. It’s funny, Carol, I had good flights when I flew to Korea; on a long leg from London to Seoul on Asiana Airlines, I had no other passengers on the row with me and was able to stretch out and sleep the whole time! Lucky me. That doesn’t happen often though. When is your cruise? I’m happy for you! I must have missed your post about that. Have fun!! 🙂 (And yes, you may as well take the largest suitcase you can, since you have to pay anyway!)

  3. ah….nothing worse than missing your flight! okay, maybe there are worse things. reminds me of THE worst trip of my life returning home from our week in Spain to celebrate our 20th anniversary. we missed two connections, I got sick and our bags were lost for two days. ah, the memories. biggest lessons learned from that trip: when returning to the U.S. 1) do NOT fly through CDG in Paris!! Avoid it at all costs! or if you do, leave AT LEAST 3 hours between flights. no, make that 5. I am dead serious. 2) leave at least 3 hours between flights at ANY airport on your return to the U.S. oh yes, worst trip of my life hopefully never to be repeated.

    okay, sorry to go on and on……..I love those photos of the rockies! and the art of your sister and oh yes, the sushi looks divine!! I hope you had a wonderful trip out west. can’t wait to read more about my old stomping grounds. oh, when did Burbank airport become Bob Hope airport? how foreign….’course I’ve been gone 22 years……

    1. Your trip home from Spain sounds awful, Toby. At least I hope you had enough fun in Spain to make up for it. I think a one-hour layover is always risky, especially if your hub is a huge and sprawling airport.

      It was lovely to see the Rockies from the air. I haven’t seen them in over 30 years, so it was a treat. I always love my sister’s art; she’s very talented and she’s got a great sense of humor. The sushi was divine. I think the best Asian food in America must be in California! I don’t know when Burbank Airport became Bob Hope Airport, but I think it’s commonly known by both names.

      It was a fun trip, but will be slow in the telling. Sadly, I made a resolution to myself to do no more than 2 blog posts a week in 2014. I didn’t do any for the first two weeks of January, so I can do a few more, then it’s rationing time. 🙂

      1. oh yes, it was a GREAT trip! so yep, have to focus on that but it was hard at the time. oh my, that’s a tough resolution to keep. good luck with that!! I’m glad you had a fun trip. you needed that.

  4. I had some great adventures when flights have been mucked up – Vegas, Limerick – and some not so great ones as well. Your asian meals, and the beer, are making me salivate and it’s only 9 am and I’ve just had breakfast.

    ‘Low cost’ airlines here charge for baggage, food, seat allocation, lavatory usage (no, I jest). Mr C and I had the same on United flying down to Palm Springs. The second bag is EVEN more.

    I love your sister’s diary. There’s a book there. Maybe a children’s one. Put me in mind of the Madeleine illustrations.

    1. I had a lot of great food in California, and I think some of the best Asian food I’ve had outside of Asia! I can imagine how much the airlines will try to get you for that second bag!

      I’m sure my sister will appreciate your compliment on her diary. I always love her diary entries. Here is a link to her website that has lots of cool stuff, but this one is to her illustrations:

      You might enjoy having a look. She’s lucky to have time now to pursue her artistic dreams!

      1. Yes, Toby, she’s really amazing. She was art director for Shape magazine at one time, and most recently for Fit Pregnancy, but she’s now free to pursue freelance work. I hope the best for her!! I’m going to write more about her in the “family” post for the WordPress Challenge. Hopefully I’ll get to it today. 🙂

      2. well I love love love her site (me and mid century modern, her house, style etc etc. Oh and her drawings, of course.
        I can’t see where one follows her blog – help.

      3. I asked the same question myself, mrs. carmichael. She’s not on WordPress and she doesn’t know how we can follow her blog! I told her she should switch to WordPress because of the community. 🙂

      4. ah – even more in common with her – semi hopeless with technology.

        I have saved it in favourites but not as good as follow. She should come visit when I ten the Frey house in Palm Springs sept/oct time.

      5. It’s funny, she’s actually leaps and bounds ahead of the curve in technology as she’s been in magazine production for years. I just think that platform doesn’t offer the ability to follow. I get frustrated when I can’t follow a blog myself. I bookmark it, but if I don’t get an email in my inbox, I tend to never get to it. I can certainly mention your offer for a visit. Let me know more when it’s getting close to the time. How far is Palm Springs from LA?

      6. An easy 2 hour drive especially if one is south side of LA. We did it in that so for a local probably faster.

        The modernist architecture there is heaven for an adorer (not to mention the weather).

        You’re right about so many other blog platforms – nowhere to follow – it confuses me.

        Your sister’s is very visual but I’m sure she could recreate on WP.

        I see I was on the right track re book covers. God I wish I could draw (and sing and dance and)

      7. I wish I could do all those things too, mrs. carmichael. I wish for many talents that I simply don’t have!

        I don’t know why so many other blog platforms are so difficult to follow. I have a friend on blogspot and no matter how many times I sign up to receive emails when she posts, I never get anything! So frustrating. WordPress is the best!

  5. You obviously haven’t flown budget airlines from the UK then Cathy! We tend to avoid them too as by the time you add all the extras it is often cheaper and better timing to go with a scheduled airline. The only time I have had any problems flying was actually in the US – got stuck in LA due to mechanical problems and had the same horrible wait to get sorted on a connecting flight! Don’t want to go through that again, ever!
    Love your sister’s journal – how talented – wish I could draw.
    Jude xx

  6. I can’t remember where you left the comments about Mike and Adam, Cathy? How long are they in Libya/Australia for?
    Trust the journey home was more straightforward? Big hug! 🙂

    1. Jo, I can’t remember where I left those comments myself! Adam will be in Australia until the end of March. Mike is just in Libya until next Wednesday. His company has a new contract with Libya so he may be visiting from time to time for business. I don’t think there’s any fun to be had there. Yes, the journey home was fine, thank goodness. Just long and cramped (and I had to pay the $25 again for the luggage!). Hugs to you!! xxx

  7. I fly much more domestically than internationally (sadly) I learned that having a CC with USAIR gives me lots of perks including last minute upgrades and pre board . I always take my own food and accept the luggage charge as there is no choice unless you want to be herded like cattle on South West. I also paid for the TSA Pre-check and fly through customs normally and I am the only one inline, with my boots on and no unpacking. LOVE THIS. I would rather be alive than dead and flying nowadays is not the 80’s anymore ! Streamline your flights and take advantage of all points programs!

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