Persistence Pays – Airline version

I flew out to Iowa last weekend to visit a close friend of mine. Her baby was three months old, and absolutely adorable!

I was able to sneak in some training. I took her long neglected road bike for a hilly, windy ride! I decided to go for an hour and not kill myself with the hills. I rode out a half hour, turned around, and was back in 20 minutes! I guess when it felt like I was riding uphill against the wind, I really WAS riding uphill against the wind. I also did a 30 minute run/walk on her treadmill. My knee hurt just looking at the hills!

We went to a baseball game, played with the baby, and caught up ūüôā It was good times! I’m sad she lives far away. I’d love to spend more time with her family.

Now, for my airline story…

I got to the airport to see that my flight was overbooked, probably because the next flight to O’Hare was cancelled. I tried to check in on the kiosk computer, but my flight was also delayed, and I was scheduled to miss my connection. It offered to rebook me on a flight that left over 30 hours later. I don’t think so… So, I hopped in line to see an agent, and I immediately called United customer service.

Lesson one: Don’t assume the first offer from the airline is the only one.

Lesson two: Whenever you are in line, get yourself on the phone. You might get an agent on the phone long before you get to the counter.

So, I made it to the counter while still waiting for a United agent on the phone. She informed me that I could take my¬†original¬†flight to O’Hare, spend 7 hours in the airport, and catch a flight that would get me in to Miami at midnight. Not cool, but better that waiting for the next day. I asked about flights into Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. ¬†Turns out, I could get to Fort Lauderdale by 6pm. I called Patrick, who said he’d pick me up and take me to my car (I promised dinner in return!). I let them rebook me on the Fort Lauderdale Flight.

Lesson three: Know your geography. You may have multiple options. The agents usually will not suggest nearby airports, so it’s your job to know. When there are a few airports in the same area, there are usually shuttles or shared rides between them.

So, I landed in O’Hare a little earlier than anticipated. I checked my watch, and sure enough, I had 20 minutes to try to make my¬†originally¬†schedule flight! I took off my flip flops and ran barefoot from the far end of terminal E to the far end of terminal B. I told the agent that I was on that flight, and had been rescheduled because United assumed I’d miss the connection – but I was there on time! Luckily, there were still available seats, and I was rebooked right there at the gate. I made my¬†original¬†flights!

Lesson four: Never give up!

Lesson five: Be nice to the agents. It’s not their fault! If you’re nice to them, they can be nice to you. I had an agent give me extra food money while stranded at JFK because I was polite and easy-going.

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