Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Thrown a Lemon...

We have managed to make and enjoy a large pitcher of lemonade from the sour lemons thrown our way yesterday.

After an exhausting day boarding and disembarking three planes, hours waiting in the Philadelphia airport, a stop in Washington D.C. to change planes on our way to San Francisco – we finally arrived at the SF airport 4:00 a.m. west coast time.

Airline personnel were waiting to help us make arrangements for the next segment of our journey. We received a free hotel room and meal vouchers while we waited in San Francisco for our plane to Australia, leaving 10:30 p.m. that evening. A van took our tired bodies to a hotel for some much-needed rest and a shower.

We collapsed upon entering our room. Minus our luggage – we were not allowed to claim our bags since they were ticketed through to Sydney – we had minimal amenities. Luckily I had thrown a clean pair of underwear and a bra in my backpack – a trick learned from previous travels.

We slept a few hours and spent the afternoon relaxing in the hotel room. Hub spent time on the phone entertaining folks back home with our tale of woe.

Our (eldest) son took pity on us. He travels for work and has collected huge amounts of frequent flyer points and other bonuses. He called United to use his bonus freebies to upgrade our seats.

The airline representative could not believe the price we paid for our trip. Where/how did we find such cheap fares?

We worked hard for our fares, spending a lot of time online searching and monitoring prices. When a good (read: cheap) one popped up we went for it. Evidently it was an unusually low price.

After telling the rep our story and after the airline verified the information, our son managed to talk them into upgrading us to business class. Although used to cattle car coach travel, the overseas flight is a long one – almost 15 hours – and any extra comforts appreciated.

So here I sit in a comfortable, reclining seat somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Hub and I each have our own TV monitor offering a selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, audios and audio books, video programs and games. We have two small cubicles to store our belongings. I have a comfortable blanket to keep me warm. The stewards/esses are extremely attentive.

Immediately upon boarding we were offered pre-flight drinks and handed a menu. No charge for alcoholic beverages. Drinks are served in glasses and mugs. Hot washcloths are provided to wipe our hands before meals are served (we get dinner and breakfast). Dinner arrived on real dishes with real silverware and cloth napkins.

Imagine the front-page headline:

Couple Paying the Cheapest Fare Get Great Seats, Meals and Service!

We lost one day of sightseeing, but our Australian adventure is back on track.

Only twelve – 12 – more hours and we will be in the Land of Oz.


  1. Wow, treated like royalty. I'll bet you will hate to get off the plane. hehe

  2. Never been to Australia, but I hear it's great, and I'll be looking forward to your reports from the land down under. Have a good trip -- after all your airplane trials and tribulations you certainly deserve it!

  3. After all that time in the airport, you certainly were entitled to a bit of pampering and a touch of luxury. Have a wonderful time in Australia.