Last week at this time I was crushed. A day after the happiest moment of my life, I was scrambling to salvage my summer vacation. Sidney and I had our reservations set to fly out of Myrtle Beach on the evening of Wednesday, June 24. After finishing the day at CCU I rushed home and packed a few last minute items. As I was zipping up my suitcase and waiting for Sidney to arrive before our first leg of our flight that would take us back to Spokane, I received a phone call from an unfamiliar number. After debating whether to answer it or not, I took the call.
“Hello, this is Brent.”
“Good evening. This is Delta Airlines. I am calling to inform you that your flight tonight has been canceled due to inclement weather.”
Pretty much right at that point I lost it. What inclement weather? It is absolutely gorgeous out. What are you going to do to get us to Spokane? How are you going to make this up to us?
The response from the Delta agent was almost as infuriating as the initial news. She told me that most flights tomorrow were full. She didn’t know exactly when she could reschedule us to get us to Spokane. She said Delta couldn’t control Mother Nature. She said the airline owed us nothing. Her lack of sympathy and solutions sent me off my rocker. I gave her a piece of my mind and she threatened to hang up on me. I apologized and told her that I would regain my composure and we would figure out a solution together. At first the best she could give me was an arrangement where we would touchdown in Spokane at 11 p.m. on Thursday. I told her that was completely unacceptable. Not only did I have an event that I had organized for 6 p.m. Thursday evening, but sacrificing a full day of my vacation with my family would not fly. I demanded that she do better. After much searching, the absolute best scenario she could give me was an itinerary where Sidney and I would get into Spokane at 7 p.m. on Thursday. I grudgingly told her to book us for those flights (noting that I would miss the majority of the event I had planned) but to actively look for a more suitable option.
Sidney’s sister, who was supposed to take us to the airport, instead had to just drop Sid off at my place since we would not be getting on an airplane that night. Sidney immediately sensed my despair and did what she could to work something out. She called Delta and suffered through long hold times until she reached an agent. On more than one occasion, different employees told her that the best they could do was to get us in Spokane by 7 p.m. the next day. It was devastating.
I only see my family a limited number of days each year. We had booked our flights way in advance and paid good money. It was a beautiful evening. I had taken precious time off of work. I had a function that I had organized for 6 p.m. on Thursday night. We simply would not accept this bizarre last minute cancelation with little to no assistance from Delta to make the situation better. Luckily, Sidney came up with a brilliant idea. Perhaps we could fly out from a different airport.
She called up Delta once again and sat through the long hold period. Once she reached an agent she inquired about other airports nearby. It just so happened that we could fly out of Charleston early the next morning and arrive in Spokane at 12:30 p.m. the next day. While definitely not the ideal solution compared to our original itinerary, it was the best we could do. We booked the reservation.
Our troubles weren’t over though. We had to figure out a way to get to Charleston. Of course we wanted to avoid leaving a vehicle at the airport for two weeks. Unfortunately none of Sidney’s family could give us a ride, connections we had in Charleston weren’t available to let us leave our car at their homes throughout the duration of our trip, and a last ditch social media effort on my part to pay a willing soul $100 to take Sidney and I to the city yielded no takers. After we experienced these disappointments, Sidney came up with another great idea. What if we took a rental car one way to Charleston? With Enterprise it would cost us less than $100 and we wouldn’t have to worry about bothering anyone. We made a reservation and at about 11 p.m. we drove to the airport to pick up our car.
We were immediately hammered with problems. When I tried to pay for the car with my debit card, Enterprise told me I needed a credit card. I have never owned a credit card in my life. They said they couldn’t rent to me and Sidney had left her own credit card at my apartment. We went to two other desks at the airport that would rent without a credit card. However, one agency had an astronomical rate that we decided to pass on while another agency rejected me because I had no credit to begin with (as I said, I have never owned a credit card before). Sidney and I drove all the way back to my apartment and retrieved her credit card. We went back to Enterprise only to learn that because of a technicality her credit card would be rejected. We then went to the other company but Sid was rejected this time because of her age. Things were looking really bad.
By this time it was midnight and the bad weather had finally arrived. It was pouring down rain and both of us were soaked and sad. With no other options and our backs up against a wall, Sidney and I came to the realization that we needed to just suck it up and drive ourselves to Charleston. At 1:30 a.m. we made the two hour journey to Chucktown. We arrived at the airport tired and emotionally drained but we made our flight and made it to Spokane before 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Trials and tribulations got our vacation off to a rocky start but we battled through it all and did the best we could to salvage as much of our time in Spokane that we possibly could. It was our first big setback as an engaged couple but we did what we could to problem solve. I was disappointed in the performance and customer service of Delta, an airline that usually always comes through for me. In the end we put the challenges behind us and got into Spokane only a few hours later than what was originally planned. I know these are first world problems but I was really stressing out. Luckily I have a wonderful fiancé who kept a cool head and helped us reach the best possible solution given the circumstances. Don’t Blink.