by: Jennifer Poure

Three years ago, I won a radio contest to an all inclusive trip to a Caribbean island. I have never won anything so expensive before so you could only imagine my excitement. The only thing that we had to pay for was the plane rides and the taxes on the trip.

Keep in mind that at this time I am almost one year into my unemployment. Taking this trip at this time could have not been better won. And to top it off, it was all inclusive: meals, drinks, accommodation, etc. DH and I chose to take the trip around the tax dependents’ spring break. We were not messing this one up or giving up this opportunity. We would bring our cameras to capture memories, emergency money, and a very microscopic amount of spending money for souvenirs (you know – bottled water).

Obstacle #1 – the price of the tickets was the equivalent to the average monthly mortgage in DH’s home state! Breathe; we have the funds to cover that. We always saved for our annual vacation. We just thought this time we would have extra money left over for insignificant things like sunscreen lotion. We decided on the pricier fare because it had a 1 hour layover and we would arrive at the resort early.

Traveling with children: Pros – you get called first to board the plane. Cons – entertaining them if layover occurs. The equivalent of the road trip “Are we there yet?” becomes “Is that our plane?”

Obstacle #2 – first plane arrives 20 minutes early. YEAH! It taxies for 3 times that amount due to an airline error. BOO! This causes everyone who had to change flights stuck and waiting longer for the next plane. Our 1 hour layover now becomes an 8-hour work shift.
(Thought going through my head, “How much can I drink before appearing drunk and disorderly?”)

Needless to say, I was one very pissed _____ (you fill in the blank) and send that airline company a very detailed and slightly explicit complain on their major, major error! To my surprise they responded swiftly, apologetic, and gave us 4 free round-trip tickets.

Remember when I told you I was unemployed and used our vacation funds for this year?
Now we have new options:

A. Borrow money from my parental units and take another trip. The fact that I am celebrating a one-year anniversary of unemployment does not help when I am asking to borrow money that they may never see again.

B. Visit the U.S. most beautiful airport terminal by flying there, check out baggage claim, tour the gift shop, eat, and fly back in time to put the kids to bed. Sounds like a plan! A mixed-state couple with Southern born children and no luggage, wearing summer attire in the middle of March, catching a plane will definitely not bring up any red flags.

C. Call the airline, explain our situation, and asked if we can transfer the tickets to someone who could use them.

Let me just tell you that San Francisco’s New Terminal 2 is the most beautiful terminal ever. Simply gorgeous!!

Seriously, I donated the tickets. Eight college students got to help out others during their alternative spring break.

Flying It Forward!!

DH, to answer your question; that’s what happened to the tickets. It is true; anyone can say anything hiding behind a computer.