With all the predictions of a blizzard heading our way, we decided to postpone our departure for Denver and fly instead of drive. Tickets were expensive, but we opted to pay the price as we only visit Sabra’s family once a year. By the dire predictions of the meteorologists we didn’t have a chance of making it on the road, so we gambled on a chance by air.
I got on the Internet and was pleased to see that if we acted fast, there were two tickets left on the Sunday morning after Christmas for a non-stop flight from Cedar Rapids to the Mile High City. A couple of quick clicks later we were in; we were even able to select our seats.
Come Sunday morning we brewed a pot of coffee, filled our car cups, said goodbye to the dogs (Buzz refused to come out of the bedroom), and headed out for the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.
We arrived in plenty of time to check our suitcase, $20 extra, and to have the ticket agent explain that we really didn’t have seats; the flight was overbooked. We were told this as a matter of fact. Tomorrow is Monday, hell’s unpleasant and the seats you paid for might not be available, that’s how we always do business.
While waiting I decided to get something to eat at the airport canteen. I paid nearly $4 for a bagel that is overpriced at 25 cents at the grocery store, and got a look like I was crazy when I asked if I could get it toasted.
Up in the terminal they started making announcements for people to step forward if they wanted to give up their seat for a free round trip ticket at a later date. No one budged but we kept hoping. Our flight was to leave at 8:50 a.m. The flight board showed it was on time right up to 9:10 a.m., when the announcement was made that it would be delayed, as the plane had not left St. Louis yet. Finally, around 11 a.m. they let us know that we would not have a seat after all, but they would do us a favor and give us first class accommodations on a flight the next day. As an added bonus they also offered to retrieve our suitcase, but I got the “you want it toasted” look when I asked if our $20 could be refunded.
I did have some fun with first class tickets, however. For the rest of the evening I worked it into at least a half dozen conversations that I couldn’t talk long as we were flying first class to Denver in the morning.
Monday, we got up early and repeated the routine, with Buzz looking even more dejected on the bed.
This time, miracle of miracles, United actually had a spot for us on the plane, although Sabra soon found out that her seat would not stay in the upright position. Apparently, the brass at United has decided that besides selling seats that aren’t really available, they can squeeze an extra dollar by cutting back on maintenance. We tried to cut our losses by having two free cocktails and trading snide remarks about the cattle back in coach.
The flight even arrived 20 minutes early, which so shocked the folks running the terminal that we were kept on the tarmac for 45 minutes. This mix-up in turn caused Sabra’s father, who had driven 45 minutes to pick us up, to turn around and go home.
But in the end we arrived to spend a couple of pleasant days in Denver. As I write this I’ve got my fingers crossed that we will actually get the seats we paid for on the way home. Just for the heck of it I checked the Internet; United is still urging potential customers to act fast as there are only two seats left.
Maybe the underwear bomber was not a terrorist after all but simply a frequent flier on United.