As always, we spent Christmas Day traveling back to AZ for the winter. At least much of the day, because though the flight itself is only an hour-and-a-half, between getting to the airport, getting through security, buying and drinking the required Bloody Mary, and buying the mandatory M&Ms to eat on the plane, you have to allow for a significantly greater amount of time than you would imagine.
And then, of course, there is always someone who holds up the entire show because they can’t seem to get themselves situated onto the plane in a timely manner.
And, oops! This time it was Bill and me.
Actually, we got seated quite quickly. For reasons I can’t explain, the fact that there was someone already sitting in 4D (which was the number on Bill’s boarding pass) didn’t raise any alarms with us. We just took 4E and 4F, and began getting comfortable. In fact, Bill had put our bags up in the overhead bin, we had figured out which seat belt was which, and we had settled in for a long winter’s nap, when another friendly fellow stopped at our row and said to me, “Excuse me, I believe you’re in my seat.”
Nope, I replied to him with great confidence, and showed him my boarding pass which clearly said 4E.
Being a congenial sort, he turned around and began swimming upstream from the people still boarding, like a salmon getting ready to spawn. But by that time, Bill and I were starting to get a bad feeling in our stomachs; something was amiss. Bill pulled out his boarding pass, and looked at the flight number, which was NOT the number of the flight on which we were currently seated. And, in fact, the time on the pass indicated a flight that was leaving an hour later. By this time, the nice man had reached the front of the plane once again and was starting his spiel about double booking. At the same time, the flight attendants were making noises about closing the doors. I stood, waved my hands, and said, “STOP! DON’T CLOSE THE DOORS! We’re on the wrong flight.”
“Where are you going?” the flight attendant yelled to me. (By this time, everyone in rows 1 through 6 was getting in on the fun. They looked at me.)
“Well, we’re going to Phoenix, but not on this flight,” I yelled back. (They looked at her.)
“Well, then you need to get off of this flight,” she said. (They looked at me.)
So we climbed over the young man in 4D with whom I had already bonded, learning that he was traveling with his grandmother and coming to Phoenix to visit his favorite aunt. (I learn a lot about people in a short period of time.) Bill excused himself profusely as he began pulling our bags back out of the overhead where he had placed them mere minutes earlier.
We then began swimming upstream like salmon getting ready to spawn. But all the while I was very confused because we had received a confirmation from Spirit Airlines for our flight, and it was leaving at this time. What went wrong?
Just as we were leaving the plane, I asked the flight attendant to please let my sister know that we were no longer on the plane. Jen was traveling with us, and she was in the back of the plane, wholly unaware of what was transpiring in the front of the plane. The flight attendant assured me that she would tell her.
We stepped out of the plane, understandably discombobulated. Bill set down the bags and literally ran to the check-in desk like a 25-year-old man . I begged the flight attendants to not close the door because we were certain we should be on this flight. In an unbelievably short period of time, Bill came back with two new boarding passes for seats 4B and 4C. We climbed back on the plane, found our new seats, and Bill began putting our bags back in the overhead bin.
“What happened?” I asked Bill as he sat down.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “But she the lady at the counter shows us on this flight, and gave us these seats.”
We spent the entire flight trying to figure out what went wrong. After much consideration, we realized that the boarding passes we had used were from a previous flight when we flew from PHOENIX to DENVER back in November. So, how did we get through security, we wondered.
Friends, it wasn’t until Sunday night as Bill began unpacking his suitcase that it all came together. This was the reason for the whole debacle: Bill had apparently not tossed those old boarding passes from back in November, and they were in the same suitcase pocket in which he always puts our boarding passes. So when we went through security, we used the correct boarding passes. But when we went to board the plane, the boarding passes he gave the gate attendant were the old passes. For reasons I can’t explain, she didn’t catch the error. So we sat in the seats in which we had sat back in November instead of the correct seats.
But perhaps the funniest thing about the whole mixed-up affair was that about halfway to Phoenix, I asked the flight attendant if she had, in fact, told my sister that we had gotten off the plane. She said she had.
“Would you like me to go tell her you are on the plane?” she asked me pleasantly.
I said that would be very nice, so that she wouldn’t worry about how we would connect up in Phoenix. Jen told me later that she had never been told that we had disembarked from the plane, and sitting way back in the plane, she wasn’t even aware of our plight. Or that there was even a plight. So when the flight attendant came and told her, “Bill and Kris are on the plane,” she was fairly puzzled, but said, “Well, that’s good.”
But it’s Spirit Airlines, so who knows what makes sense and what doesn’t.
All I know is that we were glad to get settled into our AZ home and equally glad that we won’t be flying any time soon. Frankly, so is Spirit Airlines.
And Bill threw away the boarding passes with great gusto!