How I Missed My Flight to California

Spring Break is all fun and games until you miss your flight. It happens to everyone! It was a snowy Friday, but that had nothing to do with it. This was my first time traveling with just one friend and neither of us were experienced, solo travelers. We made it to the airport on-time, with plenty of time to spare, or so we thought. Over-estimating our time, we decided to get the most out of the trip and eat a nice lunch before our six-hour flight. We took pictures of our Shake Shack and bento boxes at a Jamba Juice that looked out the window of the airport terminal. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 2:15 pm, and we arrived at our gate around 2:05 pm… We arrived to an empty waiting area and a closed door. We had missed our flight by minutes.

Apparently, even for domestic flights, you’re supposed to get there forty minutes in advance to “check-in.” Who knew? (many people probably, but silly me) What I don’t understand is how they could give away our seats when we CLEARLY checked in our luggage AND went through security? #ThanksDelta

Thinking on our feet and panicking, we ran to the information desk and basically cried to the lady at the desk, still in shock that we took such a major L so early in the trip. Fortunately, the lady at the desk felt our pain and urgency and told us as nice as possible, that there was no way for us to get on that flight. Once the doors were closed, they don’t open for anyone. She told us that thankfully, there were four other flights scheduled to go to LAX that day and that the next flight left in an hour and a half. We were put on standby for the 3:50 pm flight and was guaranteed a flight at 9:50 pm if we didn’t make it onto the standby flights. Fortunately for us, this was all free of charge.

How standby works: You basically wait for everyone on that flight to board the plane, hoping that some idiot (like yourself) misses their flight.

So we’re eagerly waiting in front of the gate, constantly asking the flight attendants if we were going to get on the flight. Their answers? “No guarantee until last minute boarding.”

Anxiously looking at the screen that listed our names on standby, we bump into this guy, who also looked like a college kid. He was also anxiously looking at the screen and so we asked him if he missed his flight as well. This guy’s name was before ours on the standby list and he had the nerve to tell us that his flight was actually scheduled for 7 pm but he JUST WANTED TO GET OUT OF NEW YORK. Gee, silly us. Obviously, THIS GUY has priority over people who actually missed their flight?? There was immediate on-site beef. If he had gotten onto this flight and we didn’t, there would’ve been a brawl. 

So this guy’s name gets called and he’s all giddy getting onto the flight and we see that there’s probably only one spot left. We were disheartened and ready to give up until I heard these magical words come out of the loudspeaker. “Dorothy Mai and Irena P. please come to the gate.” I can truly say that I’ve never felt such a relief and weight off my shoulder when I heard those words. We immediately ran to the gate and made a whole scene in front of everyone and boarded the plane with a seat upgrade as well! Instead of sitting in the main cabin, we got placed in the comfort zone! #W

This was a whole new learning experience for both my friend and I. We really thought that was going to be the end of our California trip.

It was a great six-hour flight. We got a nice meal, good refreshments, and I even became friends with this man sitting next to me. This was definitely an experience that I will forever remember, and it definitely taught me some new things about flying without my parents.

It was all worth it in the end, though. California was extremely “rad” and I had the experience of a lifetime. And don’t worry, we didn’t miss our flight back to New York. #lessonlearned.