It’s been a while, I know. What can I say? The holidays, some last minute print orders, and a huge monkey wrench in my plans have made updating the blog a bit cumbersome. I hope that current events in my life will make you realize how nice the past few days have been for you.
We (Jen- The Wife) have a really great friend: A Delta Pilot. He gives us buddy passes for trips here and there. Occasionally we get lucky and get to sit first class. That one time I came back from Japan was especially memorable. I was loaned a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones while sipping on champagne with my feet up at 35,000ft. The endless cadre of libations put forth was enough to make me feel like I had just come home from a good night out my sophomore year in college; and that was only the first few hours! I thought, “Man, it doesn’t get any better that this,” and it never really has. The other morning may have been the ultimate opposite in the annals of the buddy pass system.
Awake at 3:00AM, I shower and make a quick bite to eat. I don’t know why. I’m not really hungry. It’s just something to do to pass the time until the cab comes. Load up and off we go. We arrive at SFO around 4:15AM and head towards the sliding doors to wait in line with, jeez, a hundred of our closest friends. We are greeted by a Delta attendant who asks us where we are going. “We’re flying stand-by to Orlando via Atlanta,” I say. “No chance you’ll make it today. Everything is backed up from the storm on the east coast. Maybe in two days you could get lucky,” he states emotionlessly with barely any eye contact. “Next!” he barks.
Jen’s jaw dropped. I just nodded. I had almost been expecting this. Things have just been too easy in the past. Slowly I turn my head. I have just enough time to look out the window and watch the cabby drive away. Standing morosely off to the side and looking at people with secure tickets, I scowl. Then I heard the same heartbreaking sentence again. An older couple from Atlanta was informed of the same situation, and we both stumbled together, down-trodden and beaten, to the unopened food court to grab a few booths.
With unbent optimism, Jen tried in vain every possible avenue to secure seats. But it was all for not. Since Reagan International and JFK were closed, all passengers were being re-routed to Atlanta through any combination of paths available. Sleep deprived and knowing our chances for getting out in the next few days were becoming slimmer by the minute, we chose to do what I had avoided for so long. And now it was to bite me in the ass with a vengeance: Purchasing tickets.
A few “good” deals were found on Priceline, considering our flight was peak holiday travel time and in a few days. But for some reason the system avoided purchasing our tickets, stating that, “Airline prices and availability fluctuate frequently.” Each time I tried to purchase a ticket, I was denied, re-directed to the possible remaining flight options (now with a higher price), and denied again. Three tries later and I fled to Expedia, where we secured tickets for the stately sum of $630 a piece. Ah, round trip to FL in high season. Such a deal at 250% more than the regular fare!
Accepting my position (bent over), Jen and I packed it in and returned home. For the rest of the day, I felt horrible – like I had been drinking all night before. My head was in the strangest place, and I can say that I’ve officially had a Virgin Mary hangover. Hey man, I’m quoting that one!
My stupidity for attempting to fly stand-by during the holidays should be a lesson for all. Don’t.
And so I hope my failed attempt at saving a few hundred bucks makes you feel a bit better.
See you down the road.