At the End of a Long Day


The woman turned back to checking the tickets of people actually allowed to board the plane, the plane I wanted to get on. 

I walked toward where Joe sat, ready to tell him we’d gotten another no; there was just no way we could get on the earlier flight without paying hundreds of dollars. We were stuck in the airport for another six hours. 

It had been an exhausting day.  We got up before dawn and headed to the airport, only to discover we were wrong about the flight time and had missed our plane.

Oof. Dilemma: pay a change fee ($75 each), plus transportation into/out of town ($40 each), plus a hotel for the night (travel hacking points, but valued around $100) but get to hang out in Melbourne for the day to fly out the next morning, or pay $370 to sit at the airport all day and fly out that night.  Neither sounded appealing, but we were in a bind.  After a few minutes of debate, we decided to fly out that night, and try to get standby on an afternoon flight.

Only to find out they don’t do standby.  So a day of begging and pleading with everyone we could find to get switched to an earlier departure was fruitless.

Asked, and rejected.  Multiple times, by multiple people.

I felt defeated. I’d left Joe sitting with the bags, trying one last time by asking the people at the gate, rather than the customer service desk we’d been trying, hoping Annabelle and I could garner some sympathy. But no dice. 

And now that afternoon flight was going to leave, and we were still sitting there. 

As I passed the service counter, I saw that a different woman was there than when I begged an hour ago. Might as well give it a shot, I thought, though I didn’t have much hope. 

I handed her our tickets. “Can we please get onto the flight to Cairns leaving in a few minutes?” I begged, hoping Annabelle was giving the woman a particularly endearing look.

The woman typed on her keyboard, and I waited for yet another “Sorry.”

Instead, I was handed new boarding passes. “They’re boarding now, so you’ll need to move quickly,” she said. 

I thanked her and left as quickly as I could in case she changed her mind, rushing over to Joe and grabbing our bags. 

We hopped on the plane feeling exhilarated.

Despite the chaos and disappointments and extra expenses of the day, it felt like a win.

We were on a plane!

Sometimes, asking one more person works. Sometimes, Annabelle and I can pull off the seemingly-impossible.  And that feels pretty great, at the end of a long day.

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