I did something quite dumb just the other day. I am still mortified that I, of all people, did this but here it is. Mostly because maybe if I air it on the Internet I will stop replaying the 1,000 things I will do differently every single time I fly from now on. The perfect time to do this appears to be as I am trying to fall asleep. Related: I am very tired.
I have to start out by saying that I am the one at the gate a half hour before the boarding pass even suggests boarding will begin. Always. Me and my husband agree on this.
On Sunday, however, after a work trip to Kelowna and spending the weekend with my aunts, mom and cousins visiting in Vernon, I did not do this. In fact, I did what I mock other people for doing.
We arrived at the airport and I was checked in and ready to go through security in plenty of time for boarding. Then I looked at the departure screen and noticed a delay.
So instead of going through security, I stayed out and had tea with the aunts and my Mom.
About a half hour before the scheduled departure of the delayed flight I went through security found a bathroom and sat down to wait for boarding. I even noticed that the sign at the gate still had the original departure time but didn't even think anything of it.
Moments after I sat down, a co-worker came up and told me that they had been calling me - she had stayed in town for the weekend too and happened to be there too. Isn't that awesome?
At this point I started to think that was weird. I approached the gate but no one was there so I waited. Then the agent came back from the plane.
Yes, the one I was supposed to be on that was now taxing away from the bloody gate.
The point at which I knew I had screwed up royally was when he said, "You have missed your flight."
He then kindly (and I am not being sarcastic) showed me that the flight that was delayed was a different airline that was going to the same place and the original departure time was only 5 min different. My flight was right above it. For some reason I didn't notice this - these were the first two lines on the monitor, maybe that is why.
Check the airline and flight number much, Kami?
*smacks forehead again, harder this time*
For the record, the delayed flight only started boarding when I was finding all this out so I was perfectly on time for that one. Hey, I feel like an idiot, I had to point that out, just for the record.
I was mortified, embarrassed and at this guy's mercy. I apologized, called myself a moron several times and asked why they don't call people on speakers outside of security. I asked nicely, not in an accusatory tone because I was curious mostly. It was my responsibility to get myself to the gate on time not theirs. The airport doesn't allow it was what he told me. Fair enough.
Here's the part that steams me - as in I am mad at myself for.
I WAS BLOODY AT THE AIRPORT.
I can see missing a flight because you get delayed in traffic or encounter an accident or...about a thousand other legitimate reasons. But sitting in the Whitespot having tea with your mom and aunts? That has to be a new brand of stupid.
Anyway, the WestJet agent (totally plugging the airline) was beyond fabulous. He was very nice and treated me with respect and really went above and beyond to help me.
He quickly checked my options and found that he might not be able to get me all the way home that day on Westjest due to full flights. He even ran over the other airline to check if he could get me on that delayed flight (yeah the one I thought I was on). They wouldn't do it since it was so close to departing. I couldn't fault them for that and for him to do that? Seriously. I can guarantee that airline wouldn't do the same.
I was so thankful that I was flying WestJet.
Basically, to get home that day, I had to hope a seat would open up on the next flight out. He gave me a 10 -20% chance of that so I didn't get excited. This happened to be the same flight my mom was leaving on.
Somewhere in here I called Jay to tell him what happened. I have to give him credit here too. He could have berated me for my stupidity but Jay is Jay and he wouldn't even think to do that. He was calm even though I know he was upset. We all missed each other. I had been gone 5 days by this point and I had to tell him I might not make it home until the next day. If things had been reversed I am not sure I would have been as forgiving. Thank you honey. It means a lot.
The agent took my credit card (there is, understandably, a fee for this kind of stupidity that is very small in comparison) so that he could scoop up the seat as soon as it opened up. He assured me he would keep checking to see.
I sat down to wait, called Jay again and told him the status and almost started crying as I hung up with him. I didn't though and I was proud of myself.
Then my mom walked up and I lost it. I started sobbing like an infant. Thank goodness my co-worker was gone and did not witness this. It's bad enough that there were strangers there. Awkward.
There is just something about your Mom, you know? Even at 38, I can't help but unleash my inner distress in the middle of an airport waiting room the second I see her. Isn't she lucky?
So we waited and I did not get my hopes up. I was prepared to overnight in Calgary and take the first flight to Regina in the morning. Or alternatively try and make it to Saskatoon so Jay could meet me and my parents half way in the morning.
About 15 min before the flight I was hoping to get on boarded, I checked in with, by now, my favourite airline agent ever and his exact words were, "It's your lucky day! A seat has opened up!"
My response was, "I could hug you, but that would be inappropriate!"
What he relayed to me as he printed my boarding passes was that he not only waited for seat to open up, he actively found ways to open a seat up - he had three people flying through Calgary re-routed onto a direct flight to their destination and he was also prepared to ask a WestJet employee to switch flights if he had to. In the meantime, a seat just randomly opened up anyway.
If that isn't going above and beyond, I don't know what is.
He even thanked me for being so understanding. Um. I guess that goes to show you some people can't admit they are idiots. Me? I have no problem with that.
I have already commended him through the feedback option on the airline website because how could I not?
So. The lesson learned is that I will always go directly to the gate no matter what. Oh and maybe check the airline and flight number.
*alternate title "WestJet is Awesome"