Facts about Southwest:
- Southwest Airlines has it's headquarters in Dallas Texas.
- It services nearly 3,400 flights a day.
- The net income for the company in 2010 was $459 million.
- In 2010 they helped 88 million people travel across the United States.
- Southwest has 548 airplanes.
- Southwest's Average passenger fare is $130.27 one-way, and the average passenger trip length is about 885 miles.
- It has 35,000 employees, my uncle being one of them.
My uncle is a pilot for Southwest Airlines. We are blessed to at times get "buddy pass" tickets from him. That translates into being able to fly free of charge on any Southwest flight as long as we have the ticket in our hand. The downside, there has to be room on the plane. And this is where my adventure starts.
This last weekend I thoroughly enjoyed time back home. I drove with Rachael and Brady who were in town visiting.
The trip home kind of looked like this:
So the weekend came and went and I had a lot of fun being home. I had every intention on being back to Provo by Sunday night.
As a rule of thumb, try not to use the Buddy Pass on a Sunday. Sunday travel is always busier than lets say a Tuesday-Thursday. On top of busy weekend travel, Southwest has recently decided to get rid of their nonstop service from Spokane to Salt Lake.
So on average the travel time from Point A to Point B takes 3 hrs longer than it would doing a nonstop flight.
With that in mind, I needed to get back to Provo and we were saving money by using the Buddy Pass.
Strike One: all the flights were full on Sunday. So we took off to the airport Monday morning (7:30am) to catch an assuming "wide open" flight at 10:10. I get to the customer service counter (past security but before the gate) and they tell me I probably won't get on because the flight was OVERBOOKED. But if it was full, I would get on the next available flight. 3 1/2 hours and 3 flights later, I was able to get on a flight.
Talk about stress relief...for about 5 minutes. As I was obtaining my boarding pass, the nice customer service lady said that "it wasn't looking good" from Las Vegas to Salt Lake and I might not be able to get on....great. There were 136 booked for the flight and 14 non-revenue (I'm apart of the 14).
I arrive at Las Vegas at approximately 3:50 pm...and my supposed flight (if I get on) won't be leaving until 6:30.
More waiting....(in nervousness mind you) I wouldn't know if I can get on the plane until everyone is checked in, meaning about 10 minutes before the plane leaves the gate. Unfortunately, if I didn't get on, I would have to wait for the next flight leaving at 9:05, and that was even more booked than the 6:30 flight...and that's the last flight of the day.
I sit at the gate at 6:05, when the plane starts to board. 6:15....no standby passengers called. 6:19, 3 standby passengers get called to board (I'm not one of them). 6:20, two standby passengers get called and they don't come up to claim their boarding passes. 6:21, myself and another stand by passenger get called to get our boarding passes. The gate manager actually had to reopen the door to let us in. 6:24, I am taking my seat.
At that point I was giddy with happiness, but torn with paranoid. I honestly believed that there would be some mistake and a paying passenger would show up and they would make me get off.
Even after we were taxiing before take off, I was thinking they could still turn the plane around and make me get off. I didn't stop worrying about it until we were taking off.
I have never been so happy to be on that plane before in my life. I felt soooo much relief. And I have never been so happy to see the Utah Valley before in my life...well maybe...10:00pm: I was back to Carly's house. Thinking of the crazy miracle of the day.
Moral of the story: I would have gotten back quicker if I drove...that shouldn't be the case.