One of the reasons that I married Josh is that he is bionic. He can do things that most people can’t do. At first I was stunned by this, but after all these years, I am used to it. I kind of take it for granted. However, sometimes my confidence in his abilities gets us into trouble. Yesterday was one of those days.
As you may recall, I had some challenges booking our flight to Kauai. (If you are curious, I had a momentary brain malfunction and…ahem…forgot to book our connecting flight from Honolulu to Kauai. You can read about it here.) Our connection was on the tight side (50 minutes), but I wasn’t really worried about it, because both of our flights were on Hawaiian Airlines. I even called Hawaiian a few days ago to confirm, double check, and button up. Twice. On both calls, the agents assured me that everything was fine. The first one said that she could simply connect our two flights in their system so that we could check our bags all the way through from San Francisco to Kauai with no hiccups. The second one confirmed this.
When we got to the San Francisco airport Friday (yesterday) morning, the agent helping us began to frown as he studied his computer screen. Never a good sign. “You’ve got an illegal reservation,” he told us. “Too little connecting time between flights. I can’t check your bags all the way through.”
We spent a few unproductive minutes discussing the situation. The agent insisted that it was simply impossible to check our bags through. He pointed to a family of four at the counter next to us, embroiled in speaking to a different agent. “Those folks were in exactly the same situation,” he cautioned, “and now they’re rebooked on a connecting flight seven hours later, at 8 pm.”
I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland. Nothing he was saying really made much sense. But we were really at his mercy; the dejected family next to us was proof of that.
So we made a quick decision: once we landed in Honolulu, Josh would go bionic. Our plane from San Francisco touched down at 11:50, our connecting flight to Kauai left at 12:39. In those 49 minutes, Josh would sprint through the airport with a carryon bag, grab the two bags we checked, fly through security, and meet us onboard.
It was worth a try.
The situation looked promising. One of the flight attendants onboard got swept up in our enthusiasm. He pledged to help us by calling ahead to have a Hawaiian Airlines rep meet Josh at the gate to help him once we landed. Although the agent never materialized, we weren’t discouraged. Josh took off towards baggage claim as the kids and I headed towards our flight. All of us were optimistic.
Ironically, things came to a screeching halt once the kids and I arrived at the gate. “You can’t get on this flight,” the agent told us, “because it leaves in 20 minutes, and they’re closing the doors in 10 minutes.”
“Um, but we’re here right now,” I said, as we watched other passengers board in a leisurely fashion.
“Yes, but the doors are closing in 10 minutes.”
“But the doors are 15 feet away.”
“We can rebook you on the 8 pm flight.”
I flew into a frenzy of talking, searching, and texting. I was trying to reach Josh, reason with the agent, and figure out my options. The hapless family who was in similar situation was at the station next to us, pleading a similar case, but I couldn’t stop to eavesdrop because I was desperately trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast the agent in front of me. Josh had the bags but didn’t know what flight to check them on. I couldn’t tell him because I didn’t know. Things were getting more confusing by the second, until out of the blue, the agent said, “Okay, you can get on the flight.”
Yes, she really said that. She really did. I didn’t look back. I grabbed my kids and we ran to the plane before anyone changed their mind. (Remember how the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland demands that the white roses be painted red? Yes, it was like that.)
Clearly, Josh did not make the flight. They told him that they could book him on the 8 pm. The kids and I proceeded as planned: we landed, took the shuttle to the rental car counter, and stood in a never-ending line to rent a car. I wasn’t stressed about it. In fact, I played Scrabble with Ginger while I waited, and the kids read. As soon as I got the the front of the line, I sensed a disturbance in the force. I looked up and saw a familiar face walking in the door.
It was Josh. He joined me at the front of the line without a word. The agent called us up, I grabbed his hand, and we continued our vacation.
Take that, Hawaiian.