To Book or Not To Book?

Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 20, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Friday, January 20, 2012

We left Atlanta last Wednesday the 11th for our adventure.  Thomas shut off the gas and water at our house, our neighbor Faye dropped us off at the airport and we were ready to go!  We had two big suitcases, three carry ons and three backpacks, far more luggage than we usually have.  Our flight was scheduled for 10:50am and we arrived at the airport at 8:30.  Plenty of time to get settled and wait and wait. 

Oh, I didn't mention that we were flying standby so we didn't have assigned seats. If I had hair, I would have been pulling it out.  Our non-stop flight to Honolulu was completely booked and we were number 45 on the waiting list.  We prayed, we set our intention to get on the flight, we meditated....we counted down the number of people...we waited expectantly to hear our names.  10:45am, they were still loading the plane.  We still had hope.  10:46 they call Mecca!  Oh yeah, we're close.  Wait a minute.  Mecca is 6, she can't fly by herself.  We explain this to the gate agent.  "Yes, you're right she says, what would you like to do? Please decide quickly, it's time to go."  Thomas and I look hopelessly at each other.  If it were two seats me and Mecca could go and Thomas would catch another flight over.  But with just one seat, no go.  We give up the seat and a young man excitedly boards the plane to Honolulu. 

Apparently, Delta is set up for this kind of thing because right around the corner is a complete service center for distressed travelers.  And I was certainly distressed.  Thomas said we could always go back home and try again the next day, but I was determined to go somewhere!  So we booked ourselves on the next flight to Los Angeles which was already overbooked.  Needless to say, we didn't get on that flight either.

The very nice Customer Service agent spent a lot of time brainstorming on how to get us to Los Angeles, then over to Hawaii.  At this point, I would have flown into Maui or some other island just to get out of Atlanta.  So we flew to Philadelphia, then to Los Angeles.  We booked a hotel through for an overnight stay in Los Angeles while in Philadelphia.

We arrived in L.A. around 9:30pm and found out the 5:46pm flight to Honolulu had been delayed and was now scheduled to leave LAX at 11:55pm. Wow, what luck we thought. We checked in for that flight and had dinner at the airport. We ran into some friends from Atlanta who were returning from Maui. 

We heard our name called--we had actual tickets! So we waited again.  The plane had mechanical problems which had delayed it in the first place.  At 12 midnight, they announced the plane was still not ready.  By 2am we gave up and checked into our hotel.

We slept in, had a nice walk and breakfast before heading back to the airport.  But we had a new attitude.  After talking with our friend who works for the airline, we learned we didn't have to sit in the airport all day.  We decided if we didn't get on the next flight to Honolulu, we would hang in L.A. overnight and enjoy our time instead of stressing out.  Our chances didn't look good.  The flight was completely booked and we were number 25 on the wait list.  We got the last 3 seats on the plane!  

What did I learn?  Flying standby requires patience and time.  I'm still working on the former, but we have plenty of time.  We saved at least $2,500 by flying standby so it was well worth it.  Also, never book a hotel in advance when flying standby.  Had we gotten on the 11:55pm flight to Honolulu, we would have wasted a hotel night in Los Angeles.  And had we booked a hotel in Honolulu for January 11th, we would have wasted a hotel night there as well.
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Ardrene on

I am loving it. I just read about your experience! I am glad it finally worked out. You guys are having the time of your life. Oh my Lord bless me to fly on a plane at least once before I leave this earth.

MommyExec on

Thank you for sharing your experience. As an employee of the airlines I travel frequently on standby and I'm happy that you made it to Hawaii!!!

Stacey on

Glad you all made it safe and sound! Flying standby is not for the faint of heart. It took us two days to make it back from Newark on standby. Grrr! Sounds like you're off to a fun start! Peace to all!

Doreene H on

OM God-ness!! I was holding my breath reading this. I too fly standby and know all sides of it! Too Funny. I guess the good part of flying with folk is that its more than 1 prayer, its a family of prayers.
I'm glad you made it so the real adventure can begin. I look forward to hearing more.

Eboni Lemon on

lol the pic of your hubby knocked out is funny

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