Growing up my summers were always spent flying to Alaska to spend time with my family. With a flight that long it is natural that some trips would be better than others, but there is one (my first trip post 9/11) that will forever stand out in my mind as being the worst trip ever taken.
It all started when my sister called to see if I could fly up earlier than we had planned. She had just found out that she was going to have to have knee surgery in a few days, and I had just finished my finals for the semester. No problem! She changed the dates and I got packed.
My flight left early on Friday and I was excited about the trip. Jess’s surgery wasn’t until Monday, which gave me a few days to hang out with family before I started playing nursemaid. But even as excited as I was, things went down hill right off the bat. In fact, I think that the only way to make sense of the chaos that ensued is to break it down by day.
Friday: Day 1
Ticket pulled by security in Knoxville due to the last minute date change. Got to watch my luggage get picked apart in the middle of the airport. Nothing like seeing a strange man with gloves on rifle through your underwear. Flew from Knoxville to Memphis. Connection canceled. Spent the night in Memphis.
Saturday: Day 2
Arrived in Seattle but missed connecting flight to Anchorage due to weather delays. Put on later flight, but given invalid boarding pass and not allowed to fly. Put on later flight again, but given boarding pass for the previous flight and again not allowed to fly. Put on third flight for the day and pulled out by security due to my name being on so many different flight manifests in a 24-hour period. Not allowed to fly again, plus time spent with security caused me to miss the last flight out for the day. Spent the night in Seattle.
Sunday: Day 3
At this point I am out of money to eat on or pay for hotels. Plus I am starting to panic as my sister’s surgery is in less than 24 hours. I talk with ticketing and find out that all of the flights into Anchorage are full for the day, but that I can fly stand-by. My hopes are high, but after the first two flights leave without my being on board I really start to panic. So when the third flight announces that there may be room for stand-by passengers I run up to the desk and beg for someone to help me.
The ticketing agent turns to me and very snottily says. “Miss, this lady has been waiting for over 6 hours to get on a flight. You are just going to have to be patient.” My response to this was very well thought out and mature….I started to cry. And through the crazy amount of tears I manage to blubber out my tale of the last three days.
The agent (and the lady he was helping) took pity on me and got me a seat. I was the first person in line to get on the plane and you couldn’t have moved me with a crow bar! The good news is that the airline upgraded my ticket home to first class airline tickets to make up for the mess.