Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That was all about ME.

I spent a good portion of the holiday weekend booking flights for an Alaskan cruise I'm going on in early September. I wanted to wait to book the air travel until a good fair popped up, maybe in July or August. But with the uncertainty of fuel prices and the airlines adding charges for checked luggage and an actual seat that's not on a toilet other things like food and headsets, I decided to just book it and be done with it.

I'll be meeting up with eight friends in Seattle, then we'll rent a few cars and drive up to Vancouver, BC together. The ship departs the next day, late in the afternoon, so we'll have time to party all night see a bit of Vancouver. The cruise ends in Anchorage, Alaska, and I'll be flying home from there.

So, this isn't a round trip ticket I'm trying to book, it's a multi-destination ticket. Of course, I'm flying out of that small little regional airport that goes nowhere outside of Texas. Because really? Why would you want to go anywhere else? I am flying to Seattle, then I have to change planes in Dallas, worry about my luggage going to the same destination at the same time. I will be on the first plane out of the small regional airport at 5:30 a.m. to arrive in Seattle by 11:30 a.m. to meet up with my friends. Don't forget the two hour time difference, making my not so simple trip from Texas to Washington eight hours.

Getting back home is the fun part. We dock in Anchorage at 12:30 a.m., then have a 2-3 hour ride to the airport. The first flight I can get on back to Dallas is too late to catch the last flight to the small regional airport near home that day! I decide not to go home, but stay and become an Eskimo fly from Anchorage to Orange County CA...and start my next vacation. See? Kill two birds with eight stones.

All these details and time-lines were giving me a headache. The airlines aren't as user friendly as they used to be. In fact, I called the airlines to see if they could help me coordinate my flights, and they told me there is a fee for that service. Huh? In the past couple of years I haven't had a trip that didn't have a cancelled or late connecting flight, making me miss my flight. American Airlines has had to put me up in a hotel three times in two years. Not good.

I was reminded of a group trip I took in the eighties. When the airlines cared about their image and your travel experience. My vacation tale is one I should keep to myself, but because you guys are all close personal friends, I can tell you...and you won't be judgemental, and realize what a selfish, self-centered person I am was.

I loved skiing, and wanted to experience good skiing, not in the crowded expensive slopes of Southern California. Spending more time in traffic and long lift lines, than actual skiing had lost it's appeal to me.

The local community college had a ski class with a trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada for the final exam...dirt cheap. The class met two nights a week on the grassy slope backing up to the football stadium. For the purpose of the class, it was covered with AstroTurf,then sprayed with WD-40 to make it slick and fast. Hey, don't laugh, this is surf country, sometimes you have to fake it.

The morning we departed for our Canadian ski trip, I was supposed to meet my instructor and forty classmates on campus, then travel to LAX on a bus. Well, I over slept, and missed the bus. I took my own car to the airport and met the class in time to board the plane. The instructor was a bit ticked at me, but hey, these things happen.

So, now we're all on the plane, finally settled in for the flight. Not so fast, readers! The flight attendant makes an announcement that the flight is way over booked, they want volunteers to give up their seats.

After much back and forth offers, yep, I give up my seat for $200 and a seat on the next flight to Calgary. SWEEEEET! Of course my instructor was ticked...AGAIN. No one told me that once we landed we still had to travel about 90 miles to the Banff Springs Hotel.
So there they were, waiting for me, for four hours, to take the charter bus to Banff because we were supposed to travel as a group.

So, I have to say, the airline was very accommodating. Not only did they pay me $200 to take a later flight, they sent me a voucher for my inconvenience. Air travel sure has changed, hasn't it? Or maybe bad Karma finally caught up with me.

Oh, and the instructor gave me a failing grade.


heartshapedhedges said...

Glad you got it all booked. I was nervous for a minute, when you spoke of going back to TX, because if you arent here for Grandparents Day (which I *think* is in Sept.) you will have two angry elementary school kids to contend with (or, I guess I would have to deal with them, because you would be in Texas.)

And, um, I hate to ask, but, is the Alzheimer's setting in? Because, I think you already told us that Banff story.

Remember when you also took a Spanish class at that college, and then had those dolls that you named, Cinnicienta and Don Miguel? Good Times.

Grandma J said...

Ummm HSH, I haven't told this tale before. I did mention our small regional airport here in TX, in a post about the TSA. I think you need a vacation.

Karen said...

My brother used to always brag about getting paid to give up his seat. I always wanted to be on one of those flights because I would totally do that. I wonder if they still pay, or just boot you.

foolery said...

Air travel looks like a giant nightmare to me these days. I flew to Las Vegas from Sacramento on Southwest two years ago, and it was completely easy, but now I'm very skeptical of the whole idea. DRIVING to Las Vegas Thursday, ARRGGHH.

heartshapedhedges said...

I recently read that Banff story, remember? Maybe you told about it on someone else's blog, anyways,it's a good one, that's for sure. Dont you have some pics you can post, of you skiing? Im pretty sure you have pics of Cinnicienta and Don Miguel.

and....yes, I need a vacation....maybe you can give us one for Little One's birthday, you could send us all to Beaches, because they have Elmo,and Little One would really like to see him.

madame x said...

Cannot wait to see the photo of you in front of taxidermied 'Balto the Wonder Dog' wearing your 'I heart Alaska' tractor hat.

cannot wait

Holy Crappers said...

I wouldn't give up my seat, that is fer sure, not me, no way, no how !! But then again, I never go anywhere

Sista #1

M, Ms. R, Mom, Auntie M, Marey said...

Okay...I remember the story too....I think you wrote in in a comment on my blog? But then again I can't remember much these days either!

I am very jealous of the Alaska trip!!! Very cool!

Jason said...

I just want to go with you to Alaska...................please.

I Really Ought To Be Doing Something Else... said...

Excited for your cruise! We moved back to "the lower 48" just over a year ago from AK and loved it!