We arrived at the airport this morning at 8:30am for a 10:20 flight, checked our bags, breezed through security since we have TSA PreCheck (courtesy of our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card), and settled into the Priority Pass Lounge, the Club at PHX, (another perk of our Chase Sapphire Reserve). We were all set to fly to MCO for four nights of fun at Universal Orlando.
Then I received an email. “Your flight has been cancelled.”
It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I know what kind of flights are available from PHX to MCO, and basically there are two nonstops that run daily. Ugh. What do I do?
We’ve had other flights cancelled before. Once, we were cancelled on a leg from Salt Lake City to San Jose. They sent us back to Phoenix and put us on a nonstop to San Jose. That was fun. Another time, we sat on the tarmac for two hours before they determined that the plane we were on wasn’t fit to fly. We got rebooked on another flight later that day. The first time, the gate agent helped us because we had just stepped off the flight from Phoenix on our way to eat some dinner on our layover. The second one, we got off the plane, but the line was too long, so I called the 1-800 number to rebook while I was standing in line. That worked like a charm. I had a new flight by the time I got to the front, and just asked the desk agent to change our bags for us.
I considered my options. First, I called the 1-800 number to find out that they had a 22 minute wait, but that they could call me back. I went ahead and put in a callback number to save my virtual place in line. Then I decided to try Twitter’s direct message system. It took several agonizing minutes for the agent to message me back, but it was just a link to rebook online. Since it was a trip delay, there was no charge, even for the now more expensive flights. There were three to choose from, all of them with us getting into MCO very late evening. Yuck. I picked the earliest one, but it gave me an error. Same with the others. I was very frustrated by this time, thinking I was doing something wrong.
Finally, the phone operator called me back. Same thing on his end. Only this time, he could tell me that the error was that since I had checked bags, I would have to go down to the ticket counter to rebook the flight. By this time, the earlier flight had sold out, so I knew our options were limited.
Up until this point, I hadn’t told the kids. I figured it would be better to wait until I had a new plan. Well, that wasn’t going to happen. We had to schlep ourselves and all of our stuff back downstairs behind security and stand in line at the ticket counter.
We try to avoid lines. FASTPASS at Disney. Express Pass at Universal. TSA PreCheck. Self-serve bag check. All so we don’t have to stand in line.
We weighed our options while we stood in that line, which wasn’t too long with everyone else in self-check. If the later afternoon flights were sold out, too, we talked about flying to another city, one closer to MCO, today, and then taking an early morning flight in order to make it to the park by 9:00am. I made the kids promise that if we had to take a later flight, they would not use their iPads on the plane and sleep instead. They agreed. We shall see if they try to renege on that promise.
The desk agents were able to book us in the final three seats on the later afternoon, thankfully nonstop, flight. It was in seven hours. We could have gone home, but our bags are already on their way to Orlando, so we decided to wait it out in the lounge. Carter said it best, “If we go home, we’ll probably have to do our chores.” I’m just hoping my frozen bottles of tea keep our packed food fresh for an extra six and a half hours.
We headed back to the lounge, so I took to Google to find out what happened at MCO. Evidently, an on-duty, uniformed TSA agent had jumped from an upper floor into the middle of the airport atrium in an apparent suicide.
First and foremost, I am so sad that the agent felt that ending his life was his only solution. I’m also very sorry that his family and friends and everyone at MCO who witnessed this very public tragedy will be dealing with the aftermath for some time to come.
It certainly puts my little inconvenience this morning into stark perspective.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Know the warning signs:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
Please ask for help.