My heart felt as though it was failing as I reached for the door. To my surprise, the open doorway presented nothing more than an empty airport lobby. My heart dropped into my toes, and there I could feel it continue to beat. The two hour trip to Rapid City had been more than a disaster. My husband and I had both woken up late, we had left the house later than originally planned, and we hit construction that had left us at standstill for over 20 minutes. Late + even more late = holy cow we’re in the lobby watching the minutes until our flight takes off tick away.
In our defense, we arrived only a couple minutes late. 6 to be exact. We did not know that our specific airline check-in closes 45 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave. 9:51. Even though baggage check and security would have taken a fifteen minutes max, Zach and I were forced to sit on our luggage, praying an Allegiant worker would happen by our pathetic display. One did, and they promised to return with a supervisor’s verdict on the situation. 9:56.
We waited in front of the counter with another couple who had become our fellow partners in misery. As the women whose name I never got, searched online for other possible flights, I was attempting to telepathically deliver someone who could actually help us. 10:01. Zach and I made the decision to call his parents. They were, after all, the people who were supposed to come pick us up from the airport, and also the reason for our travel. 10:03. We began discussing options and other possible flights if we would not be able to board the plane.
Las Vegas, which was a five hour drive from Phoenix was a viable option. Or we could drop nearly $1000 more to grab a flight from a different airline in the same building. 10:07. The more I was forced to sit, the more I felt my frustration welling up inside me. Where was the lady who said she would return? And why had no one come to help the 4 people helplessly standing in the lobby? 10:11. With a flash of color, I saw the door behind the counter open, and my heart flooded with overwhelming hope and relief, which then turned into outrage and devastation as the door was shut. I called out, but this made no difference. 10:16
By this time, we all knew boarding the plane was not going to happen. I helplessly watched as the boarding signal came on. I could see the terminal signs, and I knew that if I could just make it upstairs, my plane would be waiting. 10:23. Zach and I grabbed our suitcases with defeat and made our way to the chairs. Hopefully someone would come to the front and help us. 10:30. I saw the words “Departed” flash across the screen. Gone was the plane, and gone were my plans.
Plan B. What was that going to be? Zach and I weighed our options. The expensive flights were absolutely out of our options. We could either wait until Monday and shorten our vacation, or we could fly to Vegas. After some debate Vegas was our only option. 10:35. 10:40. 10:45. 10:50. 10:55. 11:00. I saw a hint of movement behind the desk. An Allegiant agent had miraculously and finally returned. I have a strict rule, and that is to always be polite to customer service. I shoved down the anger I was feeling at having to wait over an hour for a person who knew we had been needing to see them. I leaped up at the counter.
Thankfully, she was sympathetic. She apologized sincerely, she gave us a phone number to call, and she recommended to the airline that our money previously spent be transferred over to new tickets. I sat down on the chairs again, but this time with a newfound hope. 11:07. I dialed the phone number, and to my great relief, a flight was set up to Vegas with a small transfer fee. We would be flying out that evening. Zach and I left the airport for lunch, both of us exhausted before our day was even to begin. We had inadvertently given ourselves the entire day in a wonderful city. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a disappointment after all. 11:25