To Book or Not To Book?
Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
41Trip End Jun 20, 2012
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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
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 Hotels.com 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.