I had to get creative to get to Phoenix. For the outward leg of the trip (Chicago to Phoenix), I cashed in some miles. For the homeward leg, I bought a last-second fare. Let's examine the differences.
Chicago - Phoenix
This was sweet.
"Need to check a bag, Mr. Aw2pp, no problem? How about two, no extra charge? Very good then. Now, see all those people standing in that long security line? Yeah, the unhappy ones looking at their watches? Go around them to the priority lane, and we'll get you through TSA screening quickly. When you get to your gate, listen for priority seating, and board before everyone else does. Sorry we couldn't get you in First Class this time, it's all filled up. But if you book a little earlier next time, we can make it happen for you. Would you like an Exit Row seat instead? Window or aisle? Ok, very good then, thanks again for flying American."
Phoenix - Chicago
Because, as you know, our tournament ended a little sooner than planned, I was at the airport this morning 11 hours before my scheduled flight. Thinking being, it would be better for all involved if Sue could pick me up at, say, 11:30 AM (while Jillian and Jason were at school) rather than at 9:30 PM (when Jill, Jay, Ro and Joey should be sleeping, but instead would have to accompany her on the 82 mile trip to and from O'Hare). So how did that go for me?
"Hey you, if you want to check that bag of yours, it'll cost an extra $25. What's that, you want to be added to the stand-by list for other flights to O'Hare? Are you serious? We only allow our Platinum Plus and Executive Platinum members to stand-by for other flights. You are clearly NOT one of those. In fact, you bought your ticket May 16, so you are way down on the priority list. It'll snow here before you get on one of these earlier flights. On some days, we would allow you to pay $50 extra for a spot on the stand-by list, and you're welcome to give that a try, but today, you have no shot. You'd just be wasting your money. Not that we wouldn't be glad to take it. Anyway, enjoy your 11 hours at Sky Harbor airport, and enjoy your middle seat on your three hour flight to Chicago this afternoon. Thanks again for flying American."
Any idea what to do in Phoenix for 11 hours? At least I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.
- Aw2pp, whose boarding pass says simply "Steerage".