Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spokane to Miami – First Class the Hard Way

The worst possible thing a person could do when they are waiting to travel to a location is to get a phone call from someone who is already there and learn that the activity that they will be doing once they arrive is stellar. For example, if you are going skiing and your friend calls and says “The pow is awesome!” or you are traveling to Mexico and you find out that the weather is beautiful down there. You know, the anticipation is heightened to a point of frenzy. Today Don and Caroline Skyped us and the first thing they said was, “Oh my gosh, the bonefish are everywhere!” From that point on all I can think about is getting there and fishing!

We checked and rechecked our bags and constantly questioned each other about what we might have forgotten. It was to the point that if we had left something out, then it probably didn’t matter. Emily Compton arrived on time and we loaded into her car. She was great to talk to and we really appreciated her taking time to get us to the airport. The drive was uneventful in spite of my ravaging need to fish.

Last night we had tried to check in via the internet, but we were not allowed to do so, so in the morning Linda had called our travel agent and they talked thing out. We are flying international so the two of them came to the conclusion that we would need to arrive early and make sure we had plenty of time to get checked in.

When we arrived at the Alaska flights check-in desk the young man entered our data and immediately started shaking his head. He worked the keyboard and kept frowning. Linda started to worry, but held up pretty good. As it turned out, our travel agent had booked an American co-share flight and when they tried to check us in on it the system would not let the Alaska desk open the reservation and confirm us. (Something like that.) So our check-in person had to call a bunch of people and rebook our tickets which took us about an hour.

At about 3 pm we entered the boarding area with tickets in hand ready to catch our 4 pm flight to Seattle. Linda had settled down and we were ready to start the first leg of our adventure.

If you have ever traveled with Linda you would know that every detail about the trip is captured in her mind. Departure times, gate numbers, concourse numbers, flight numbers and even seat assignments are logged into her brain. This happens at the grocery store also. If she picked up something that is on sale for $6 and it rings up as $6.25, she is all over it. That is a great trait and it saves me from worrying about anything. All I have to do is carry things and take care of little stuff, like holding her hand on takeoff. At 3:10 pm Linda looked up and noticed that our 4 pm flight was posted as leaving at 5:25 pm. She immediately walked to the boarding desk and confirmed that our first flight had been delayed one hour and fifty minutes.

If one would look at the start of our trip one might cringe a bit, but you know… there’s bonefish out there.

“May I have your attention please? Horizon flight 2509, which was delayed coming out of Seattle due to a problem with the flight attendants PA, is now delayed in Spokane for the same reason. We will be leaving at approximately 5:50 pm. If you have any questions regarding people issues, connections, etc. please see me. If you have any questions about electrical issues that the plane may be experiencing, do not see me because I only deal in people issues, and I am very good at that.” Gate agent humor never helps to calm Linda at times like this.

The clock now reads 5:58 pm and our flight has been pushed to 6:15 pm. Linda has confirmed with the gate agent that we will miss our flight from San Francisco to Miami if we don’t get going. The young man has now re-booked our flight leaving Seattle, and instead of Seattle to San Francisco we will be flying directly from Seattle to Miami. He smiled and called it the “Red Eye”. Then he told us that it the redeye flight would have to be in first class seats! Wahoo! First class!!! Our first time in first class!

With all this joy, we still have a bit of a problem. We have not left Spokane and our flight leaves Seattle at 10:30 pm. We should be able to make that departure because our flight needs to leave here at about 9:10 pm to make that happen. But that still does not ease Linda’s mind. She is a wreck and all I can do is try to keep smiling.

I love to look out the window of the jet at the fluffy white clouds. Right now I’m looking at the bright sun reflecting off the pillows of white tufts. It is very calming. We need some calm.

Back about 30 minutes ago the gate agent, now known as Brandon to us, finally gave up on flight 2509 and told everyone in the waiting area that they were going to squish them on to any flights that they had going out to Seattle. Linda was right there in line when he made the call and he re-booked us on to flight 695. It was being held at the C gate so we had to run over to that check-in area. We made it and got settled with about ten minutes to spare.

The connection from Seattle to Miami went smooth as silk. I now sit in a big cushy chair in first class on my way to the Bahamas, well we still have to land in Miami and take off, but it sounded real cool to say first class and Bahamas in the same breath. On this flight we have been provided free WiFi, drinks, a cheese plate, movies to watch and lots of leg room. I am hoping Linda does not grow accustom to this comfort.

Once we land we will have time to eat some breakfast and get some coffee. I will probably try to post some time tomorrow night, that will be Thursday. I am so excited that I can’t sit still. Did I tell you they saw bonefish in the flats just a few blocks from our house?

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