Thursday/ Alaska Airlines to the rescue

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The air plane on my cup of tea looks just like the one that I was sitting in – a Boeing 737-800 with its turned-up wing tips. In the seat on my right was a young Alaska Airlines pilot reading a dog-eared paperback copy of ‘Lone Survivor’ .. a non-fiction book about Navy Seals in Afghanistan.

My United Airlines flight back to Seattle was booked for the usual Thursday night fly-back (bought and paid for three weeks ago), but I wanted to take the first flight out Thursday morning*.

*Flight MH17, Air Algerie crash in Mali last night with 166 on board, Taiwan airplane crash on Wednesday that killed 48 .. maybe all of this made me just want to get the flying over with and get home!

Anyway – these days airlines charge $200 for any ticket change, and I wanted to avoid paying the penalty.   My firm’s travel agent recommended to go to the airport early Thu morning, and have the airline agent change the ticket on the spot – then there would no change fee.  ‘Plenty of seats left’, there should be no problem.

Alright. That meant I had to get up at 4.30 am, be there at 6.00 am for the 8.04 am flight.   I actually did a check of the seats on the flight as I left the hotel : 5 open ones.  So I had a shot at it.  But forty minutes later when I showed up at the United Airlines counter to claim one, they were all gone.   No other flights until the afternoon, and the afternoon flights were full, anyway. Of course. Great. (Not great).  Plan B could have been to go to the gate for the 8.04 am flight and hope that seats for no-shows will open up .. but no – ‘I’m not going to do that’, I told the United Airlines agent.

What to do?  Spend 12 hours at Denver airport? No. Go get a hotel room to catch up on the sleep I lost this week?  Let me check Alaska Airlines, I still have some frequent flier miles in my account, I thought, as I considered my options.   Sure enough, there was a 7.00 am flight with open seats.  I booked it with miles – hey, why is the internet so slow? It’s 6.05 am already and I have to make it through security and to the gate! I thought.

Security was painfully slow, but done with that, I ran to gate A-52 (52 means it’s a long way there!) .. and made it with just a few minutes to spare.  I was on my way home early.  Yes!

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And here is the real flying machine after we had landed at Seattle-Tacoma airport.


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