“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…” – Samantha
A bunch of the group members and I were all on the same flight from Spokane to Seattle and we had all checked in, and made it through security without incident. I may have failed to even pull out my bag of toiletries, and forgot I had a couple lighters with me in my bag. I didn’t get stopped or subjected to a pat down. It had been a long week, and an even longer two-and-a-half years, so I could not have been any more ready for my spring break in Honduras with Mission Possible – my final spring break, at that. As we sat at the gate waiting to board the group did the standard, “Ooooh! I’m wondering who I’m sitting next to!!” Everyone started shouting out what seat numbers there were in.
And as for me, “Please see gate attendant for seat assignment.” Yikes!
Up until that point I hadn’t even looked down to see where I was seated. I had no clue what was going on and we were about 15 minutes away from boarding. So, I walked myself and my backpack up to the Alaska Airlines gate counter.
“I’m sorry ma’am. You will have to wait. We don’t currently have a seat for you. You are currently third on the waiting list. Please wait in the boarding area until your name is called.”
I said nothing. Part of me was speechless, and another part of me really wasn’t that worried. This had happened to me a few times before and I never had any issues getting on my plane. At this sometime I had received a phone call from Ashley panicking that she was late and was going to miss the flight. I assured her she was fine, and told her about my ticket situation. She informed me that her boarding pass said the same thing. When I met her on my side of the security check point I told her to rush to the gate counter to get on the list of passengers waiting for a seat. She went to the counter. She immediately got her boarding pass. At this point I started to panic because not only was it apparent that I was the only one from the group without a seat on the flight, but boarding had officially begun.
I charged the counter again to get an update on what was going on with my seat. I was informed that Alaska Airlines had over sold the flight from Spokane to Seattle and that there were still two people in front of me to get priority on any available seat on the flight. It was looking like everyone who had purchased a ticket had shown up for the flight, and I was going to get bumped from the flight. The following flight was also oversold, and the earliest they could get me to Seattle was the next morning at 10:00 a.m. Slowly I watched the group all board the plane without me …
The doors shut, and everyone was off to Seattle. So, um, yeah, a flight at 10:00 a.m. was definitely not going to work because our flight out of Houston to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was leaving at 9:00 a.m.
I marched up to the counter and what started out as a rational conversation with the man at the counter slowly turned into trying-to-keep-myself-from-bursting-into-tears-or-going-ballistic. I think the man was visibly uncomfortable. At this same time, I had ran into Ian
Stamme, a 2L
who was trying to go home to Seattle for spring break. We didn’t really know each other very well, but we knew each other from mutual friends and passing in the hallway. He came over to see what was going on. I explained to him what was up, and let me complain to him about my frustrations.
In addition to me, and the two others in front of me on the list were
three others who were behind me on the list and a couple of fellas who were still trying to get on a flight after getting bumped off their flight at 2:30 p.m. for the same reason. Things were not looking good. I pulled out all the stops, talked about my community service trip to help the needy in Honduras, talked about the cost of my other flights, and mentioned the fundraising we had done to go on the trip.
Yeah … no dice. There was no way I was getting on the next flight. I was not the only one with a sob story.
There was a GU undergrad who was in complete tears, distraught over the thought of missing a planned family vacation, and there was another tale of a woman who had been traveling for the past week and spent the last couple days getting displaced from her planes.
These two ladies were the ones in front of me on the list. They agreed to take a guarantee on the 10:00 a.m. flight the next day, but also said they would try their luck on the chance they could get on the 8:30 p.m. flight. Yes, they would still be ahead of me on the priority list.
Another gentleman just wanted to go home, and the airline offered to refund his ticket and get him a rental car to drive to Seattle. He offered to give me a ride, but that still would not guarantee to get me to Houston on time.
Other people would come up to the counter, and the Alaskan Airlines man would tell them he could do nothing and a couple times said to them, “This lady is trying to get to Honduras for a service trip, and there is nothing I can even do for her at this time … “
Wow. I had become the example.
The best Alaska could do for me at this time was give me at $300
travel voucher and put me on the next flight they had an opening on. As much as I would have loved to use a voucher on an exotic trip to Hawaii or something, I was heartbroken that I was not going to be able to go to Honduras with the rest of the group.
Crushed, I took my voucher and moved off to the side and plotted out my next move. It looked like I had a wonderful spring break ahead of me in sunny Spokane.
As this whole debacle went down, little did I know, but Ian Stamme
had been watching. Again he approached to ask me what was going on. After I told him what had happened he went up to the counter to talk to an Alaska representative.
“What would happen and would it be possible for me to give my seat on this flight and give it to her?”
“WHAT?” I thought to myself. Could it possibly be that there was a chance?! Could he possibly be the patron saint of Mission Possible
“Well we cannot offer you any kind of rebate or voucher for doing so. So if you just want to do this out of the kindness of your own heart we can do that, and we can put you on the flight tomorrow at 10:00am.”
“Let’s do that then.,” he responded.
An unbelievable smile had completely taken over my body. I could not believe it. I repeat, I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I said about a million thank-yous, told him he was my hero about five more times than that, and gave him my $300 travel voucher. I gave him a big hug, and told him that good karma was coming his way because it was just like he was helping little Honduran kids! He laughed and told me to have a great trip and told me to do some good.
At this same time, everyone from my previous flight had just landed in Seattle and I was receiving text after text asking me if I was getting on the next flight. I excitedly responded with, ”Yes. See you soon.”
I was on my way!