Warning: This is long and boring and the only people interested in reading it are Ben and myself. So, I would probably recommend skipping to the pictures. I wanted to document it for my own records.
Oh my! Thanksgiving this past year was caaarazzzy! Ben and I had a flight to Hawaii at 10AM Thanksgiving Day. A little background information: Michael discovered that we could get a free flight to Hawaii by putting out final destination as Honolulu when we flew home from India. There were some stipulations one of which was we had to fly into and out of one of their major airports, Tampa not being one of them. Boston, LA, DC are hub airports. So we flew from the Maldives –> UAE –> Paris –> Boston (where we had a one month layover) –> LA –> Honolulu. Mike is tricky. We had to purchase tickets from Boston to Tampa and Tampa back up to Boston but it wasn’t much considering we were getting a flight to Hawaii out of it.
Anyways, we had originally booked an evening flight on Thanksgiving day from Boston to LA where we had an overnight layover before finally getting to Honolulu. However, the airline decided to discontinue the evening flight and moved us to an earlier one. We weren’t happy because it meant we would miss Thanksgiving with the kids. We couldn’t change it so we went ahead and purchased a 10 AM flight to Boston on AirTran. Well, we later called American Airlines to complain about our changed flight and we discovered availability had changed and we could switch to a later flight, which flew from Boston to LA with a stop in NYC. We would get to LA much later, but well worth it if it meant getting to have Thanksgiving with the kids. We called AirTran to see if we could switch with them too. They said we could change if we paid their change fees plus the increased cost of the ticket ($250+). No thank you! However, they said we would only have to pay $10 to do a ‘same day’ reservation change (day of the flight). They had a flight from Tampa to Boston that left at 3PM but it only allowed for a 35 minute layover to catch our American Airlines flight. We didn’t want to pay the change fees so we just left things how they were.
Fast forward two months – we stayed at my parents house the night before our flight so we wouldn’t be rushed to transport the kids on Thanksgiving. I was feeling pretty crummy and nervous about leaving so I woke up around 1AM on Thanksgiving Day. I tossed and turned for an hour or more and remembered the conversations with the airlines and decided to get up and check about availability. After an hour and some sweet talking with American Airlines and Airtran, I had successfully changed our flights! Yeah! Thanksgiving with the kids! Instead of leaving at 8 AM we could leave at 1:30 PM. So much better! Our only concern was getting our connecting flight because we only had a 35 minute layover. Also because they were different airlines American wouldn’t reroute us if we missed our existing flight. I confirmed with both airlines that the weather was good, delays were unlikely since less people were flying due to the holiday and all seemed well (Foreshadowing there!)
We had a fantastic morning with the kids! I was so grateful to get to be there to help with the baking and festivities. I think it was the happiest Thanksgiving of my life! I’m so, so, so happy we were able to change so we could have that wonderful morning together.
Well, 1:30 rolled around way too soon and I was crying and saying our final farewells. Ben realized he forgot to print our boarding passes so he ran to print them while I said one more round of goodbyes. I heard Ben say, “Oh no!” from the bedroom and I knew what that meant! Worse case scenario had happened! Air Tran delayed; American Airlines flight missed.
Actually I thought the trip was off at that point. I didn’t know how bad I wanted to go until I realized I wouldn’t be going. Hawaii was so soon after India and I wasn’t ready to leave the kids again. Or so I thought.
So we headed to the airport anyways. Mike called American while Ben called AirTran and they couldn’t get things figured out. Airtran had a flight to NYC (where we thought we may be able to pick up our Boston–>NYC–>LA American Airlines flight and be on our way), but they would charge the change fee and increased cost of the tickets. They were also trying to convince Ben that even though the flight status said delayed 40 minutes, it still might leave on time. Unlikely! American wouldn’t budge about letting us pick up our flight in NYC without actually flying the Boston–>NYC leg, nor would they find an alternate flight if we missed it. AirTran didn’t have any other available flights or any helpful advice. Ben and I were stumped! Do we fly to Boston and hope American will have pity on us and give us another chance? Do we pay out of pocket to fly to Hawaii? $3000. No thank you. Do we just stay home? What about all the hotels and car rentals we wouldn’t be able to get refunded?
We were in the airport running between the American and AirTran check in booths trying to get it all straightened out. Finally after a very stressful 45 minutes American Airlines agreed to let us pick up our flight in NYC (without flying through Boston), and AirTran agreed to fly us to NYC with plenty of time to catch our flight to LA. So, in the end, we had plenty of time in Tampa to catch our flight to NYC, and plenty of time in NYC to catch our flight to LA. We ended up checking and the flight we were going to take to Boston actually was delayed 45 minutes, and the flight we were going to take out of Boston (to NYC then LA) left Boston early! So there is no way that itinerary would have worked out for us.
In the end, it was the most ideal route. It was stressful though. I’ll tell you what! Stressful!
Worth it though. I was happy to have most of Thanksgiving day with the little people in our lives.
It was certainly a memorable day!