My buddy’s engagement was the occasion which got me thinking about planning a trip to the west coast of the US – California. It would have been the first time for my wife to see California, the place where I spent couple years working and eating good Indian food. I was excited. It was Sunday night, all our bags were packed and we were all set for the flight to San Diego next day. The itinerary was packed. A day in San Diego, couple days in and around Los Angeles and four days in San Francisco.
And then Murphy struck. Boston experienced a worst snow storm of the season that night and our flight stood cancelled. I called Alaska airlines and requested them to accommodate me in some other flight. Of course all other Alaska flights were full and it was not in their policy to accommodate me in some other airline. So per Alaska customer rep (this is important, “per Alaska customer rep”), I initiated the process of cancelling my reservation to get a refund and booking another flight. Busy calling various airlines finally American Airlines told me they had a flight to San Diego that evening. I pulled the trigger and paid an extra 500 bucks to get two seats, just so that we stick to our plan. I had no other choice. Yeah, I missed a heartbeat (or may be two).
So we started for the airport pretty early so get a head start. At the airport, I just thought I should stop by Alaska counter and ask for a price match. At the counter, the lady tells me to wait to see if she can accommodate me in some other airline. She comes back and says that because my ticket cancellation and refund was in progress there was nothing they can do. Now I was pissed. Over phone I hear they cannot accommodate me in other airline and ask me to cancel the ticket and on the counter I hear they could have potentially matched me the prices, but now as the refund is in process they are helpless. So the bottom line is “the house always wins”. Who knows even the flight cancellations could be a big scam to jack up prices under the name of “act of god” ! There were indeed other flights taking off at the same time as my Alaska flight! I was not happy.
This was just the beginning. So then we reach to our AA counter and I was not able to print my boarding pass at the kiosk. Worried I stood in the customer service line where I realized that this flight is delayed by two hours. This meant I would have missed by connecting flight to San Diego. There was no other flight that night to San Diego. The AA rep suggested a flight reaching LA at mid night and a connection to San Diego after 7 hrs. So basically I would have to wait 7 hrs on the airport to catch a flight which is 10 mins long.
I reevaluated by options. Thank god I had a hotspot and a fully charged laptop with me. I went ahead with that flight but decided to let go the LA-SD flight and take a rental car instead. It’s a two hour drive. Which meant cancelling the San Diego rental car reservations and the tickets for the train we were supposed to take from San Diego to LA the next day. Now even my flight to LA was delayed, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After spending hours on phone speaking with rental car agencies and Amtrak customer service, I sorted out my travel changes.
So finally 4 hours later, we boarded our flight to LA. We had a rental reservation at LA to drive to San Diego where our ETA was 5am in the morning. We were all set for a good night sleep. Finally Snowy Boston did let us leave for Sunny California and I entered my PTO.
…to be continued