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This weekend we flew to what should be our last out-of-town getaway before the baby is born thanks to the US Airways $99 Companion Certificates and a booking made at The Phoenician before the most recent SPG category increase. To say we needed some family together fun time would be a little bit of an understatement. Between the stress from the months that my husband was between jobs, to the time he started his new job that keeps him away from home much more than we are accustomed, we have been operating in different circles more often than not. We needed some fun together in the sun, and a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, seemed like the perfect destination.
It was somewhere we had never been, offered something for all of us, but it was a pretty short nonstop 2 ½ hour flight from Houston so a weekend getaway was realistic. We booked our flights out of Houston for Friday evening after work since vacation days don’t really exist for Josh right now.
My daughter and I headed to the airport after school on Friday and looked forward to meeting Josh there since he was coming straight from work. Then the first call came. Traffic was bad. Worse than normal bad. Not moving at all for the last hour bad.
That got us a little worried, but we stayed optimistic as we have cut flights pretty close before and been okay. He was checked in, he had Pre-Check, he could valet park, he wasn’t checking bags, and with a little luck he could still make the flight. Fingers were tightly crossed.
C and I cleared security, had some dinner in the terminal, kept our eyes on the clock, and then the next call came. Traffic hadn’t improved, and while he was a little closer than he was on the first call, he wasn’t going to make the flight. Our family weekend away together was going to at least start without a very key family member.
We debated about what to do, but our realistic options were pretty limited since this was already the last US Airways flight operated for the night and we only had the weekend to work with. We could have potentially booked a brand new ticket for him on a later United flight, but there was no saver award availability, and a new ticket wasn’t really in the budget.
After talking to the US Airways agent at the airport we decided that my daughter and I would fly as ticketed and he would get rebooked for the first flight the next morning without penalty as long as he arrived at the airport within two hours of the original missed flight. Every time I have had to deal with a missed flight situation the airlines have outlined similar “flat tire” policies that do often help get passengers rebook without penalties on the next flight possible assuming they were reasonably close to making the original flight.
Naturally, he arrived at the airport while we were still on the ground, but as the boarding door closed. He was re-booked for the morning flight (which meant at 3AM wake-up call) and we flew to Phoenix that evening with an empty middle seat.
In the end of course it wasn’t a huge deal as we all eventually made it without further incident. However, considering that we were all looking forward to time together, it was a pretty sad and empty middle seat.
For us it was a good lesson as this was our first trip booked after he no longer had a pretty flexible schedule. On almost any other day he would have made the flight with the time he had allotted, but he no longer has the sort of job where he can just leave at any point. Booking evening departures at the end of a work day is now a risky proposition for us unless the departure really is truly a late departure well after the risk of traffic gridlock has subsided.
I’m grateful this was just a simple nonstop flight to Phoenix instead of a big first class trip to Australia. We have already become much more conservative with booking weekend getaways than we were in the past, and it seems even that has to be reigned in further to risk potentially being split up again in the future. These are all realities of our ever-evolving family, and our style of family travel has to continue to adjust to align with the realities of our lives.
Do you have any “missed flight” stories? If so, I’d love to hear them!