A few months ago, I was looking at my work schedule and realized I had a four day weekend coming up, I took the opportunity to book some tickets to make a quick stop in Alaska for the weekend. Fly up Friday, spend Saturday + Sunday then fly back to North Dakota Monday. Perfect. Right? I mean, what could really go wrong with this plan? Obviously, everything, but that isn’t what we are talking about.
That four-day weekend? Was this past weekend. I’m still on it.
The problem started Friday. In order to make my connections, everything has to line up just so. Friday, things did NOT line up just so, and I missed my connecting flight (thanks to delays) by an hour or so. Since I was booked on two different airlines, one pawned me off on the other and they pawned me off on the other. It was a lot of back and forth (walking from two different services centers, because they wouldn’t set up camp next to each other) before I finally managed to get Alaska airlines to put me on the next flight for only a change fee. Something that would have normally cost me in the ballpark of $500 (thanks cheap tickets). I begrudgingly booked a hotel and caught a flight to Alaska the next morning.
I now only had the day there. It was a glorious day. Full of sun (yes, I’m serious!)
I left Alaska behind, not even 24 hours after arriving. Because of connecting flights, I couldn’t make it back to North Dakota in one shot (thanks to the airlines canceling the last flight that made THAT possible) …it meant I had to overnight in Seattle. I had already planned on this tho, so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, things were going swimmingly. The Alaska Airlines agent that helped me booked my bag all the way to my final destination, despite the fact that I was going to have to overnight in Seattle. Having come to Alaska with just a carry on, I forgot that I packed ALL my clothes in my checked bag.
I spent the night without any spare clothes -which was ok. It was just one night.
Except that my flight leaving Seattle was delayed…which meant I had 15 minutes to catch my connecting flight in Minnesota…we arrived at gate A —my connecting flight was at gate F. I was in no way shape or form ready for that marathon, but I had no choice. Suited up in my rainboots and 500-pound backpack (slight exaggeration) I hauled it thought the airport. I made it in record time, if I do say so myself. My flight was scheduled to depart at 6:00 -at 6:03 I realized I probably wasn’t going to make it so ran up to the closest gate and gasped and panted and heaved.
“I’m gonna need you to take a super deep breath and slow down” the lady told me
“Im….NOT….MAD…..RAN…” I gasped out
She breathed relief “I was going to say woah girl, I didn’t do anything to you!”
I squeaked out my dilemma to which she told me to “Just run” since there was nothing she could do.
I raced into my gate to see the plane deboarding. I was slightly confused and went to see if it was actually my gate.
The gate agent gave me a very sympathetic look “Your plane left you sweety” she said “But then they couldn’t take off, so they came back. We have to wait to see if we are leaving now.” I nodded and ran for the bathroom. Running for I don’t know how far -if you have never been to the MSP airport, it is big. Spread out. Drags on FOREVER and gate A to gate F is a journey, on a good day! Running in rainboots, in a sweater, with a 20-pound bag (not QUITE 500, but close enough) was enough to make me sick. After recovering briefly, I went back to the gate –only to discover the flight had been canceled. They were now booking people on the next days flight.
Which meant another night in a hotel. With no clean clothes (because my bag was going to stay the night at the airport). I would have probably cried but I was too exhausted. I booked a hotel. Caught the shuttle (after getting lost) and made my way BACK to the airport this morning.
Which is when I discovered that the storm that prevented me from leaving last night (hello 15 inches of snow, closed roads and canceled schools) was making its way to Minnesota. It didn’t look promising that my flight was going to leave and they were asking for volunteers to give up their seats (For $200 travel voucher) and go on the evening flight. I had already done my research and knew there were only three seats left on that flight. If my original flight got canceled, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be going until the FOLLOWING morning. I decided to take my chances and get a seat on the evening flight.
It wasn’t until AFTER I agreed to it, that I realized I wasn’t guaranteed anything unless the flight I was supposed to be on, took off. Which meant I basically gave up my seat on my current flight as well as my chances of getting on that evening flight. I parked myself as close to the podium as I could to increase my chances of being first in line. Which isn’t something I normally do, but missing another flight was not going to be in my mental ability to handle. The next 45 minutes were the longest 45 minutes of my life. It was like playing musical chairs: the adult version. Where there are only 3 seats left on the next flight and 50 people wanting them. I’ve never liked musical chairs, and I don’t like them anymore now!
After a few delays the flight finally took off, I was given my seat (sigh of HUGE relief) and to my surprise a $700 visa gift card. Not just the $200 travel voucher I was promised. It almost made up for all the mishaps this trip.
Now I wait to see if planes are still flying tonight and HOPEFULLY make it to my final destination. I’ve spent more time in hotels and airports than I have at my actual destination. With almost four days of travel for a one-day visit. So, you know, follow me for more travel tips -like attempting to travel out of North Dakota in the middle of winter, during blizzard warnings. Because I have plenty more!