Let me tell you about my experience trying to get home from Tucson…
I was flying American Airlines from Philadelphia to Tucson. I will pretty much always pay more for a direct flight than for connections, but there are no direct flights from Philadelphia to Tucson. So I choose roundtrip flights that are a decent price and each way have a short layover/connection at O’Hare in Chicago.
The flights to Tucson, smooth as can be. No issues at all. I actually got a ton of work done for Observing Experience, and watch the first episode of season 2 of Barry. It was great.
Going home…not so much. Flight was scheduled for 5:23am (Tucson time), had me in Phila. at 3:30pm (EST). I was about 5 people from boarding the flight when people started coming back off the plane. All flights in and out of Chicago were grounded. We were delayed. The captain still wanted to board us, so I was on the plane for about an hour. However, the flight continued to get delayed — 6am, 6:30am, 7:30am. A bunch of people, including me, de-board the plane. I thought I would talk to the American customer service people to see if there are any flights out of of Phoenix I could take and just fly direct to Phila. In that time, I get an email that my flight from Chicago to Phila is cancelled.
I have to change my flights regardless, at this point. So the American Airlines guy, super nice, booked me on a flight from Tucson the Phoenix (it’s only 29 minutes in the air but took an hour and half, somehow). Then I’m standby on a 10:26am flight to Phila. and booked on a 10pm flight that gets me into Phila at 5:30am(EST).
I get to Phoenix and I see that I’m first on the standby list….theres a chance!
Nope. Didn’t get on. Flight was overbooked.
I am placed on the standby list for the next flight to Phila, which isn’t until 4pm. All possible flight routes with connections to Phila are booked. I wasn’t the only one trying.
Fingers crossed for the 4pm.
Around 12:45p, I decide to check the flights on the American app to see what’s going on.
FLIGHT DELAYED – 10:00pm flight is now delayed until 12:55am!
That gets me in at 8:00am(EST). I actually have clients scheduled for tomorrow morning at 7am, 8:30 and 9:30am. I’d have to cancel or reschedule, and that’s not good for me to do right now, financially. Besides the fact that I want to be home with my family, and Kait is dealing with 1 month old Weston and Avett alone all day. Thankfully, her sister was willing and able to come down this weekend to help out, but she had to leave that morning. Plus I just missed them.
WHAT THE FUCK!?!
So, I check the flights to see if there is anything that possibly changed with other flights.
The flight at 4:00pm shows up… Seats seem to be available… There is one seat available… OHHH SHIT!
I briskly walked to the American customer service center. I ask about being able to get on the 4pm, the app says a seat is available.
The woman is extremely kind with a very gentle way about her. She asks how I got to be on standby and understood that it was not my fault. She notes that the flights get overbooked online, which she also quietly states that she wish didn’t happen. She is looking and thinks that my best bet is stay with the current plan. Standby on the 4:00pm and booked on the later flight, because if I take that last seat (which she said they really shouldn’t give to anyone) there is no guarantee I get on that flight and then I lose my seat on the later flight.
I graciously understood. I thanked her. She then said “I’ll keep you in mind and if anything changes I’ll call the gate and let them know.” She doubled back to look at my name again, “Logan. Ok, yes I’ll definitely keep you in mind as things progress and see what I can do.”
I call Kait. I explain the scenario. Mid Kait’s response, I hear my name being paged.
“Shaun Logan. Please report to the customer service center across from gate B20 to retrieve a lost item. Shaun Logan, please report to the American Airlines customer service center across from gate B20.”
I cut Kait off with hopeful excitement, “They just paged my name, I have to go!”.
I even more briskly walk to the center and the kind woman is holding out a ticket for me. The other woman there says, “She was able to secure you a seat on the flight.” They are both smiling, as am I. The kindness and gratitude in that room was thick.
The kind woman who helped me said, “I don’t know how you jumped ahead of everyone, but you did! Just act sad that you have to be on this flight so no one else gets jealous.”
We laugh, talk briefly, I express my gratitude and I walk out elated. Call Kait to tell her the great news. I’ll actually make it home tonight!
Now, when this situation started at 5am this morning, I did not get mad. I had moments of being a bit upset, but never mad or angry. I was gracious. I was peaceful.
I have no control over any of this. I took the opportunity to talk to Kait, frequently, after not talking much over the previous two days. I also worked on some of these posts, did some learning, some eating, and some dreaming. I even sat across from Michael Imperioli for a few minutes while writing this.
I felt something was going to work out, though I knew it might not. I was kind and gracious to the people trying to help me, and I approached them with a peaceful energy. Some were more helpful than others, but all I needed was that one moment and that one person to feel it and help. And she did, in a big way.
All of the American Airlines people I encountered were extremely nice and helpful throughout this trip.
It truly is always worth asking and being grateful. Grateful, I have always been. Willing to ask, that’s something I have had to and will have to continue to work on.