I debated whether to write this post.
I try to make my posts about happier or informative topics. Writing about a bad airline or a crappy travel experience isn’t my jam. However, I wanted to be real. And the truth is, shit happens.
Sometimes you are thrown through a loop, and hopefully you learn something. I was reacquainted with lessons on staying present, patient and being open. Life hands you monkey wrenches and plans aren't set in stone.
Lo mas barato sale caro - The cheapest things end up being the most expensive. This is a common saying here in Miami, and I keep running into it as I get older. This story being a shining example.
Months ago my boyfriend and I were on a saving spree. I was starting life as a freelancer and we decided to begin saving for some other grown up purchases. Things were tight and we were being conservative with our budget. Around this time, we had to purchase tickets to North Carolina, our annual Christmas visit to see his wonderful family. Allegiant Air had some pretty cheap tickets, $100 each cheap. And so, we booked the flight. Our trip over was all right. The staff wasn’t very friendly and they wanted to charge us $5 to print our boarding pass. The aircraft was old, sure, but we thankfully made it in one piece.
After two awesome weeks in North Carolina, we were ready to come back to our sweet home in the Grove. Our flight was delayed by an hour. Okay, not a big deal. We’ll leave by 3PM. Happens all the time. We hung out at a family friend's house waiting. An hour later, it got moved back again. This time 3 hours. Hmm, okay. Let’s make a phone call just to touch base. We called Allegiant. The wait was an hour. We were hung up on. Three hours later, they pushed the flight back to 11 PM.
We called immediately and waited 2 hours to speak with someone. No one was available at the airport as Allegiant Air does not have anyone manning their desk until an hour before any flight. Headquarters says only local employees know up-to-date information. We asked for another flight? Options? We were given none and we were treated rudely. At 10:35 PM right as we were leaving to the airport, we get a text message. The flight was cancelled. We called the airline, again waiting around 2 hours. A horribly rude employee told us she would refund us half our ticket.
Their headquarters said the best they could offer was another flight the next day at 1 PM. We received a text that said it was actually 10 AM. No one knew how to help us or what was going on, and we weren’t treated with kindness or understanding. Given the choice, I took half of my refund and we rented a car. I was not about to trust the airline again.
I'll never fly Allegiant Air again. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and this is one of the most important: Don't devalue your time by investing in shoddy service. I'll always spring extra for a reliable airline.
First world problems? There’s a difference. I am understanding of bumps along the road. Mechanical failures happen. Bad weather delays happen. But being tossed aside without so much as some kindness? No. We are all human beings and deserve respect.
Despite getting to Miami an entire day later and looking at a good 16 hour car drive ahead of us, we decided to get positive. The damage was done, and my own pessimism was getting to me. And I'm glad I did, because I didn't know one of the best days of our trip was ahead of us.
That Monday morning we were so tired. Being up at 6 AM and immediately jumping in a car was exhausting. But, we grabbed coffee, played music and had a really wonderful time.
The open road gave us a gorgeous ride through mountains and lush green wilderness. Early on, we sipped our coffees and just stared at the beauty in silence. As the caffeine kicked in, we began to laugh about the day before. We really need to remember the importance of staying optimistic, we said. We didn't know we'd have an amazing road trip to look forward to, but we still should have stayed in the moment. Our heads were stuck in the next day and all the things we'd be missing, effectively outside of the present. Plans are never ironclad. The universe moves us all around like chess pieces, so it's important to remember every delay is all part of the plan (see what I did there).
Once we embraced this, we even decided to take a detour to St. Augustine. It put us over our arrival time, but who cares?! At this point we were owning the road trip and being spontaneous. I loved it. I try to be as spontaneous as possible, but as you grow older and have people who rely on you and work responsibilities, it's harder to say, "F**k it."
We felt like kids on a field trip and were so excited to go back to one of our favorite spots. Freshly-caught fish for lunch. Definitely wouldn't have guessed we'd be ending our snowy Christmas trip with a quick visit to a sunny Florida beach town. And it's detours like this that can make life exciting.
Embracing life's detours is just as important as being present. Plans often fall through and you have to be adaptable to the circumstances life throws at you. I still struggle with it, but it's natural as humans to want control. However, releasing that need for control can be one of the most liberating feelings you'll ever have. Seriously.
Lucky for us, this was just a travel snafu with a lovely road trip and detour. The lesson I'm taking here is to be flexible and treat these curveballs with optimism and laughter. Who knows where the universe is trying to move you? It's kind of exciting when you think about it that way.
Stay bendy my friends,