the nightmare before christmas

December 20, 2006 | 9 Comments

This journey is far from over…but we hardly remember how it began.

We pulled out of our driveway at 11:30 this morning. Wait…yesterday morning. The plan was that we would be safely in Austin by 11:30pm…that was almost three hours ago.

Everything seemed fine as we checked into the airport in Seattle. Our connection was through San Jose on Alaska Airlines (remember that name). Our 2:40pm flight was running about 25 minutes behind, but we still had some cushion, so the connection wasn’t going to be a problem.

That all changed when the flight actually pulled away from the gate about 45 minutes late. Then we sat on the tarmac for a while, and they finally explained that some piece of plastic was cracked and it was affecting the rudder. So they brought us back to the gate so that they maintenance could look at it. They came, but apparently, they had to look at a manual, because at one point that’s what they told us we were waiting for.

At about 5:30pm, they finally told us our flight had been canceled. That’s about the same time we should have been settling in our seats in San Jose to fly the final leg to Austin. But we were still in Seattle.

Alaska worked some magic. They gave us boarding passes on a flight to Las Vegas an hour later there at the gate. Then they told us to go stand in the 45 minute line to get some piece of paper that would tell America West to let us on a flight from Vegas to Austin, where we would arrive at 3:26am. We had to rush, but I was still thankful that the Alaska Airlines agent was kind enough to call America West to make sure there would be room for us on that flight.

All seemed well…until our flight to Vegas arrived about 30 minutes late, leaving us an hour to go to the America West counter to get ticketed to Austin, and then back through security. It might have been doable – had Alaska actually confirmed our seats to Austin. They didn’t, and we had no seats.

We were sent to the Alaska ticket counter, where we arrived about 5 minutes before they were going to close for the night. They were happy to see us. They worked more of that magic, and hooked us up with an America West flight to Dallas. Of course, we had to go back to the America West ticket counter, get it booked, get through security, and go to a gate at the very end of the terminal within 45 minutes.

Thank goodness for the TSA. They were kind enough to pull our family, with our conniving preschooler and suspicious toddler, into secondary just to add to the excitement. We made the flight – somehow, and that is where I sit now.

Once in Dallas, we’ll have three glorious hours in the wee morning to dream about a final flight to Austin that should get us there at 8:40am. If we’re truly blessed, maybe we’ll have our bags by Thursday!

(I apologize if any sarcasm dripped on your keyboard as you read this.)

  • man that is lame, especially with the kids.

    well, welcome to texas.


  • dude, give me a call when the randomly reroute you to Philadelphia on your way home!

  • sounds like something off a movie! i hope this isn’t foreshadowing of my own adventures flying back home to nashville on saturday…

  • As I wipe the sarcasm from my keyboard, I also am kind of giggling inside. No, not laughing at the hardships you have suffered mind you, but a reminder as to why my wife and I always fly Southwest. I believe I have made it very clear in recent weeks that flying with Alaska could be interesting. First, you may take off from the wrong runway, that is if the plane is “healthy” enough to take off. Once in the air, you may wonder?!?, are we going to land where it says on the ticket. Oh my goodness, and then to compound it, you accepted a flight on America Worst…not a typo there people, America West= America’s Worst. So, the lesson is……although Southwest isn’t flashy, may not have 1st class or assigned seats, I always know I will make it there, and usually early or on time. Hope you guys have a good one, from here on out. Love you all.

  • I just finished reading the chapter in “Death by Suburbia” about suffering. According to the book, you are closer to God right now than I am. 🙂

  • Alex

    I am very angry at “my” airline for this. 🙁 Sorry for your experience. At least you are going to miss Wind Storm Part Deux – but we hear it will not be as good (bad) as the first.

  • Sherie

    I hope the snacks and milk we packed on Monday were enough to keep Sherri and the kids “content” through all of that. I am sorry to hear that you had such a trip, but glad to know that if you posted it you must have arrived safely. I hope you make it through your long tired day today and get loads of sleep tonight.

  • Alex

    Glad you guys made it safe – tired, but safe.

  • scott

    hey, at least you didn’t fly to Phoenix 2 days before 9/11 like I did. travelling back was interesting.

    to follow up on Josh, Southwest has always been my best experience in flying. Cheap seats, entertaining crew, and very rarely any delays. Business travellers don’t particularly like them because of the lack of assigned seating. But when travelling with 2 darling girls (3 when we count Sherri) like yours, you get to pre-board (which is like assigned seating).