Many of you who have been reading my work (and thank you for that by the way) know that I live way out in West Texas pretty far from everyone and everything that I know and love. You can imagine how expensive it is to fly in and out of my regional airport (quietly weeps). I stalk airline sales and get very creative about how to negotiate this distance.
This time I just couldn’t swing a $600 roundtrip ticket on Southwest to fly from Lubbock to Atlanta. Yes, Southwest, I’m giving you a significant side eye for that one. United and American Airlines weren’t much better. So I came up with two plans to get where I needed to go. One was truly insane, we’ll call it Plan B, involved flying one way on Southwest from Lubbock to Dallas for about $250 then DARTing over to a Megabus pick up at the East DART transfer station and spending about 18 hours on the bus to get to Atlanta. Then I could fly back one way on Southwest using all of my rewards points. There were several issues with that particular plan the least of which was sitting in an unfamiliar part of Dallas waiting on a Megabus that may or may not have shown up that particular day and you know Texas weather. (smile)
The Plan A that I actually elected to use was to ride over to Dallas with my hubby who left early for his trip home to Mississippi to celebrate his mother’s 50th birthday (yes, his wife and his mother were both born on June 23rd). We left Lubbock in the morning and arrived in enough time to stop off and grab some dinner at Pappadeauxs (I am so addicted to that King Crab) and spend some quality time since we couldn’t be together on my birthday.
With a wonderfully full belly, my beloved dropped me off at DFW and I caught a $230 roundtrip ticket on American Airlines from Dallas to Atlanta. Now y’all, American Airlines and I don’t have the greatest history together, but from time to time I find myself having to rely on them to help me get where I need to go. But I tend to take certain precautions when I travel with them.
(1) I do all I can to avoid checking luggage. Seriously, a backpack and a purse is my norm cause I’m not trying to have my blood pressure go crazy when someone tries to overcharge me for checked luggage or for my checked luggage to get lost or misdirected.
(2) I leave TONS of extra time because I am going to be on an overbooked flight either flying out or flying home.
(3) I always make sure I have toiletries and a spare pair of clean underwear because you never know when you’re going to get redirected to a foreign country due to an engine failure and held in a plastic room with little to no food with 300 of your new best friends and one bathroom. Yeah, that really happened.
(4) I ALWAYS travel with my passport (See #3).
(5) I travel with moist towelettes because you never know when you’re going to be held in the plane on the tarmac and forced to use the airplane toilet when you just KNEW you were gonna be able to make it inside to the airport bathroom that doesn’t shake.
(6) Most importantly, I ALWAYS use my calm, de-escalating voice when dealing with any American Airlines employee, even when I know I’m right and they are wrong. (whoosaaaa)
So, it really was a pleasant surprise for me when my flight went smoothly from Dallas to Atlanta and when we landed on time despite Tropical Storm Cindy cutting up the Gulf Coast states “Hallelujah” was the song playing in my heart until the pilot came on the speaker to announce that a plane was sitting at our gate and there weren’t enough gate agents on duty to get it moved so that we could park and deplane.
Everyone on my side of the plane raised their window covers to look out at the over six gates that we could see that were unoccupied and asked the obvious question, “Can’t we just use one of those?” It was after midnight before we were parked and deplaned. Once I found my dad it was around 1am and we still had an hour drive out to the house. To say I was tired just can’t capture the flavor of my exhaustion, but I took comfort in the knowledge that I was home.
Tune in next Sunday for Part 3.
~ Marta C. Youngblood