We just got back from a sweet little dive trip to the Keys. Took our newly certified diving youngsters, R & A, for their first real ocean diving experience.
From a week out of our planned excursion, the flights looked WIDE open. Rob was hugely optimistic. Things hadn't looked this good for pass travel in a long time. And we knew it would be tricky traveling with 5 people; we never even entertained the idea that we would all take the same flights.
As our travel dates drew nearer, we realized we had a small problem. Rob had only recently undertaken to add R to his travel benefits as an approved "friend", and the paperwork had not yet cleared. Not good!
It came down to the day before we were to leave. I was on call, Rob at the end of a 4-day trip and it was decision time. The kids were psyched to go; Rob's dad had taken off work, Rob and I had finagled our schedules to get the time off as well, and our dives and hotel were already reserved. We decided we would go whether R was flying free or not. We would book him on Delta and Rob would fly with him while the rest of us played the standby game. Gulp.
When I got home from work, at the end of a long shift, with only 2 hours of sleep the night before, Rob and I sat down and looked at the flight loads again. He showed me what the bad weather had done to flight loads: everything was now overbooked. Not good! With a good imagination and endless optimism, you could possibly envision the 5 of us getting to the Keys at some point the next day, but it sounded exhausting. I knew my day would be starting at 3am, whether I made it to Miami by noon or by midnight. With that information, we gave in and booked a full-price ticket for me as well. Rob, his dad and A, as immediate family members, got discounted fares. Sigh...
Of course we love Delta, for the Biscoff and peanuts, but mostly we enjoyed the ease of traveling as a group with guaranteed seats!
That's the caveat with pass travel. You always have to have a plan B and plan C. Buying full-price tickets is usually plan D (desperate), but it is always a possibility. In the past, I've only done it when I needed to get home to cover my call shift. Doing it because we had not planned fully in advance to get R's paperwork approved, and being too exhausted to play the game, it felt like a pass travel FAIL.