August 11, 2021

Why Southwest, why? Plus making friends in the cab

I didn't rent a car in Omaha for Tank's orientation, partly because the hotel had a free shuttle for the airport and the college. When I called to ask about where to find the shuttle once I landed, I got:  OH, WE AREN'T RUNNING THE SHUTTLE RIGHT NOW DUE TO STAFFING ISSUES. I still opted not to rent a car. 

Tuesday morning, I asked the cab driver who drove us to the college, if he'd be willing to meet us at the college at 2:15 to take us to the airport. He agreed, and I asked him for his cell number just in case our plans changed. 

Tank finished registering for classes and a moment later I got a text from Southwest:  


 I'm sorry, what the what? 

My new mom-from-home friend had asked me earlier if my flight was OK. She'd heard that Southwest was having 3rd party weather system problems. All day my flight showed 'on time.' 

I called my cabbie guy, Hamid. He agreed to pick us up in 10 minutes. I had no intention of staying another day. I told Tank if they couldn't get us on another flight, I'd rent a car and we'd drive the 6.5 hours home. 

Tank had chatted with Hamid that morning. We'd learned that he was from Morocco. When you're with Tank, you meet people. On our drive to the airport, Hamid continued the conversation. He gave Tank some life advice in his very thick accent. "Listen to  your mother. You hear me now, what I say to you. So, you know. Right?" 

He was a character and we enjoyed our short ride with him. As we approached the airport he said, "You going to school here, then? Yes, great. You keep my number. You call me. I want you come to the house. Have a bite. With me and my family. Why not? Sure, you do that. It'll be great." 

We got to the airport and told Hamid that we'd call him next time. I have no doubt in my mind that Tank will end up at a barbeque in Hamid's backyard. 

While Tank waited in  the mile long line at Southwest, I ran over and asked United if they had a flight to Chicago with seats available. I bought two tickets for Tank and I for $175 a piece. I was relieved it wasn't $500 each. They made us pay to check  my carry-on. Another $35. I emailed Southwest the next day, but I haven't heard back yet. I hope they'll pay for our tickets. 

*Editing to add, Southwest emailed back:  HERE'S $200 LUV POINTS, or whatever. They think they're gonna give me a gift card worth less than what I paid for my original tickets? Not over. 

As we were heading through security, I got another text from Southwest. GOOD NEWS, WE'VE BOOKED YOU ON ANOTHER FLIGHT. YOU DEPART THURSDAY AT 7:30 AM. 

I laughed. I had three kids getting a 2nd vaccine shot the next morning. Things to do. This flight took off a little later than our original, but I was so grateful that we managed to get home. 

While we waited for our flight, I got another text. It was Hamid checking that I'd gotten my flight sorted out. How sweet is that?


Nicole MacPherson said...

Wow, I'm glad you got home! Talk about stress! I love meeting new people, the world is full of such interesting folks.

Ernie said...

Nicole- It was so strange and unexpected. I've gotten Southwest to reimburse me for my flights but still need to make another call to ask them to cough up the difference in the flights I bought on United.

I enjoy meeting people too. This man was very interesting. Meeting people from all walks of life tends to happen more when Tank is around.

Ally Bean said...

Flying makes me stressed. Not the actual flying part, but the games the airlines play before you get on the flights. It's annoying that any airline thinks that it's okay to mess with their customers' lives, and we all know you have to put up with their crap if you want to get to where you're going, BUT when I become Empress of the World, they gonna be sorry.

ccr in MA said...

Okay, I kind of love Hamid! Checking in on you like that was so sweet. I'm glad you were able to get back home with no more trouble than that. Flying is so messed up lately.

Ernie said...

Ally- I look forward to the day when you are Empress. I agree that airlines make customers dig deep into their pockets and I find it so irritating. Particularly the COST to bring a bag on a plane. How else is one supposed to travel?

Ernie said...

Ccr- So true. I thought it was very good of him to check up on us. And you are right . . . it could've been worse.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love people like Hamid and we seem to meet them everywhere we go, which makes me think we're all gonna make it; we're not all horrible.
Can you imagine being the one who didn't look for another flight or COULD afford another flight and had to make arrangements for another 2 days? WTH?
FYI: as much as we (did) travel we've only flown SW once and Coach and our bestie Don said we would NEVER do that again. HA! They are Princesses!

Ernie said...

Suz - I love that sentiment - we're gonna make it. ;) Cheers to the many personalities out there and the people who aren't afraid to put themselves out there. Definitely makes life more interesting and enjoyable.

Exactly - those that had to stay in Omaha - well, good luck. The Olympic trials were happening, followed closely by the baseball world series. Hotel rooms and rental cars were over-the-top pricey.

I don't mind traveling Southwest - usually. Sprint Airlines, now that's one I've sworn off. I'd say they're only for those people who enjoy pretending they're conjoined to the person sitting in the seat along side them. What on earth? And talk about tacking on extra fees.

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

So Hamid is my favorite person. Like Suz, we usually encounter humans like Hamid everywhere we go as well. During times like this, it's comforting. I'm hoping Tank sends pictures from the BBQ, because I'm invested now. :)

Also, I hate flying for this exact reason.

Ernie said...

Kari - Ha. So true. We drive him tomorrow. Just finished ordering him a backpack from LLBean that will ship to him and arrive next week. Someone is NOT on his A-game and that's fun. Since we drive him out there, we won't need to call a cab, me thinks. But I will be sure Tank has Hamid's number in his phone.

Beth Cotell said...

I feel certain that Tank will be quickly integrated into Hamid's family. I can even picture them at Tank's wedding one day!

Ernie said...

Beth - So funny. And you could be right. Nothing would surprise me. Someone sent us a link today that Creighton put out about kicking off the school year. Tank was one of the kids they interviewed in the short 1.5 minute video. So funny. He can't be out of the limelight for long.