Saturday, December 20, 2008

We Luckily, and Finally Made it to Utah

So, Friday was actually a fairly stressful day for us. We had booked awhile ago to fly back to Utah on Jet Blue since I had a frequent flyer award that was going to expire. We had a fiasco to start the day when I realized I had told our friend to pick us up at 3:30 when that was actually the time that our flight was going to be leaving. Fortunately, his schedule was very flexible so leaving earlier wasn't a problem. It is about an hour before we are supposed to head to the airport when I get an email from Jet Blue telling me that our flight had been canceled!!! I frantically call their office and they say that the earliest flight that they can get us on is Sunday morning. The problem is that my dad begins ward attending on Monday and he is then SUPER busy practically living at the hospital. I had looked at travelocity and the other flights were ridiculously expensive- like $1000 a person to leave Fri night. We called my mom to tell her that we were not going to make it when inspiration hit me to try Southwest. Amazingly, they had seats still available for their 9 pm flight to SLC- and for very reasonable prices. I waited to book these tickets until I ensured that we could receive a refund from Jet Blue. I waited for like 10 minutes to speak to an agent but I fortunately talked with one of the NICEST sales reps that I have EVER met. She was so kind and friendly and even called the home office twice to find out what to do with my award pass. It turns out that I needed to immediately rebook the flight for another date and so I'm headed to Boston May 26th-April 1st to defend my dissertation (just in time for the August deadline). I immediately expressed my thanks to this wonderful representative for doing such a fantastic job at helping me. It was a frustrating situation and emotions were close to the surface, but this woman was so gracious and full of the Christmas spirit that it made all the difference. My conversation with her totally changed my mood for the rest of the day because I knew that everything would work out alright.

We booked the flights on Southwest and told our friend the new time to pick us up. Then, later on in the evening, after some reflection about rush hour traffic, we decided to leave even earlier since our flight was still ontime. Our friend Lars was SO PATIENT and cooperative with our crazy changing schedule AND he even took us all the way up to Oakland. Yet again, people truly exhibiting the Christmas spirit. It turns out that after arriving at the airport, our flight was delayed, and then delayed again. So, we walked around the airport, ate at Chili's, looked at some books, and just waited. The airport was PACKED with so many people, most of whom were so upset and frustrated with bad weather causing major delays. I knew that we were going to make it to Utah that night, even if it was late. The Southwest flight attendants had great humor despite the situation and it really does make a difference. We arrived in SLC at 1:15 am and then had to wait on the tarmack for 30 minutes before a gate opened up that's how delayed the flights were. Once inside, the airport terminal was a ZOO. I have never seen so many people, many of whom were upset, or sleeping on the floor. I felt so grateful to have been able to have made it in- and our luggage came as well. Many thanks to my dad for coming and fishing us out from the airport.

It makes me so sad to know that some people really dislike this holiday season and get so stressed out and frustrated by it and get upset and even angry with others. How you react to situations has a HUGE effect upon others and can make all the difference in how you feel and how they feel. My whole attitude changed given that one helpful Jet Blue representative-as upset as I am for just randomly cancelling the flight at the very last minute, they completely redeemed themselves by having this amazing employee who truly cared about customer service and just being curteous to people. I am now trying to help evoke the true feeling of charity that should celebrate the birth of the man who gave his own life for that of the world.

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