Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Homeward Bound

It all started when John was given a pair of buddy passes to fly anywhere in the Continental U.S. for only the price of the taxes! We wanted to take advantage of this generous opportunity so we planned a long weekend back up in Utah to visit with old friends. The trip was fun. We headed out last Thursday, got to indulge in First Class even, and arrived in time for lunch. We spent the next couple of days just visiting, got in a game of poker (and for me got to catch up with my Rude Rammette ladies!), snowboarding (for John who's been craving snow since we moved to the desert), and spent Easter day at our beloved Church where we had made many great friends. A special thanks goes out to all those who made time in their busy schedules to hang out with us, and especially Matt and Karie for putting us up through our stay! All in all the trip was enjoyable and we're glad to have gone! Thanks to those tickets, we got out and were able to cultivate precious relationships that we built during our Utah assignment.

Hanging out with Tyler

Easter Egg Hunt with the kids

However, the way back was a little more trying. After carefully examining the travel trends, we noticed that there were two larger airplanes traveling back from SLC to Phoenix Sunday evening, but with considerable vacancies, ensuring good fortune for us "Standby" passengers. We showed up the standard 2 hours prior to departure and quickly learned that in 24 hours, the plane had filled up and even over booked it's available seats. The Standby list was horrendous too, as we were last on the list at #20. That's nineteen other people hoping to hop onto the (already too full) plane that had priority over us. That's alright! The next plane had even more vacancies so we'll just catch that one! Wrong. It had also over booked within the last day and led to a hopeless night for us. Luckily, John remembered a friend of his lived in Salt Lake City, not far from the airport. To our good fortune, "Bring'em" was still there (he's on his way out to Korea- leaving in a week or two) and even came and picked us up. We cuddled up, watched a movie and pulled up a nice piece of carpet and went to bed. The next morn, we showed up at the all too familiar airport around 9am. Three missed planes later, along with the stress of missing a work day (I won't even go into all the cool plans John had for that work day that he was missing), we changed our tactic.

We began checking the availability of flights to Tucson. After-all, it wouldn't be too bad to fly there and rent a car to drive 90 minutes to the Phoenix airport to retrieve our car and drive home. Hope surfaced in a seemingly unpromising day. We grabbed our bags and ran across the airport, downstairs and to the counter for assistance. Upstairs, as the last plane flew off, the clerk made the Tucson suggestion when she saw that they had 3 vacant seats with nobody waiting on standby! But apparently in the time it took us to run down there, the plane filled up and again we peered out as our ride when home without us. Finally- we went onto Orbitz and bought one way tickets into Phoenix. Bummer!!! Our cheap trip turned out not being as budget friendly as hoped- isn't that the way it always goes?! Moral of the story: I'm not even going to say don't travel standby. It was an awesome opportunity and I'm sure that we'd take it again... Just know that there's a possibility that it won't work out as planned. I think next time we will leave a little more room for "slop" (like 3 days at least) which would take some of the stress out of the forced flexibility. Well- it feels GREAT to be home!


Mom said...

What an ordeal! I remember only too well when it took us 2 days to get out of Los Angeles on standby! Lucky that you knew someone nearby - a windfall of sorts! I watched for a visit to The Ranch from AZ and maybe a comment! I saw evidence that you were back! I know how stressful and disappointing that kind of travel can be! Especially when in your mind's eye, you see things going smoothly and it's not costing much at all!!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a familiar story... like what happened to Trav and I flying AMC this summer.
I've flown standy-by a few times and learned my lesson that if you need to be somewhere on-time, it's worth paying the price of the ticket. At least it's worth the price of your sanity!
Glad you guys had a good trip otherwise.