Traveling Southwest: Part Two

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
While on the phone with a rep, they suggested I check the Baltimore flight leaving Seattle towards Albany.. that flight only had one seat available. That is a definite downside of traveling during the holidays. All flights are full. We waited around for awhile longer and finally heard our names being called over the intercom. Because we were going to miss our connecting flight from Chicago to Albany, they decided to reroute us through Baltimore. They gave us a voucher for a hotel in Baltimore, and then a flight that would leave in the morning for Albany. Personally, that wasn't the route I wanted to take. I was extremely upset that we wouldn't be arriving on time, but we didn't really have too many other options.

10am rolls around and we were FINALLY able to board our original flight that departed to Chicago. Departing almost 4 hours late, you'd think the staff would be understanding to the frustrated passengers, right? NOT. AT. ALL. I am a stickler when it comes to poor customer service, so I was less than pleased and already had the notion in my head that we would never fly Southwest again. During the flight I ordered wifi so I could browse the web a bit and track the connecting flight in Chicago. A small part of me was hoping it'd be late so we could still get on that plane to head to Albany... that definitely didn't happen, but I did think up another plan that would get us to New York a lot sooner. There was a flight departing from Newark, New Jersey from the Chicago airport that was leaving about an hour after we arrived in Chicago. All I had to do was check and see if there were seats available on the flight. If we were able to use this connecting flight, we could rent a car from Jersey, drive the 2.5 hours to New York, and drop the rental car off in the morning.. The only other problem was actually retrieving our checked luggage so we could recheck it for the Jersey flight.. Yeah, this part not so easy. I wouldn't suggest ever asking a flight attendant about anything with baggage, as they proved to be completely clueless.

The flight attendant allowed me to sit in the 10th row of the plane to get off quicker so I could ask the people that were in charge of our baggage to pull our luggage off, so we could take it up the terminal with us. NOT.POSSIBLE. for several reasons.
# 1 Southwest does NOT track their luggage
# 2 Just because you check your luggage, that doesn't mean your luggage will end up on your flight
# 3 The goal is to send the luggage where ever the destination tag says to go

Aside from the luggage fiasco, I had my fingers crossed that things would work out that way.. and they did. When we touched down in Chicago, I immediately went to the help desk to see if they could get my family on the Newark flight, and they were! All set there. I also got the phone number for Albany luggage at the airport in New York and was able to describe our bags, have someone present to check to see if our bags came in on an earlier flight, etc. They called the Chicago airport luggage department to make sure they were tracking the situation. Our luggage was said to be on the last flight from Baltimore to Chicago. I was so nervous about our things getting lost, but was hopeful that it'd be in Albany once we got there. We made our way to the gate for the Newark flight and found out that the flight had been delayed.. that wasn't too terrible because we were able to get in some dinner before our plane took off.

About 20 minutes after we ate, we boarded the flight when family boarding was called, gate checked the carseat yet again, and made our way onto the plane. This plane was a little smaller than the first one, and it was fully packed. The flight was suppose to be just under two hours, but apparently the arrival airport in Jersey wasn't ready for the plane to land yet... so we spent like 45 minutes doing these circular motions in the air. I was completely annoyed because instead of arriving at 830pm Eastern Time, we didn't end up getting into the rental car until almost 10pm. The ONE thing I was grateful for throughout this entire experience was my child. She was so, so good. We received multiple compliments on how calm, easy, and relaxed she was through each hustle and bustle.

After getting our rental car just before 10pm, we started our commute to New York. Ava knocked out as soon as she got in the car, and I was in awe of the New York City skyline, like i was the first time I saw it. Since it was late at night, traffic was minimal and the only thing that separated us from New York was the open road. We did stop for a bathroom break and a coffee break (Justin has been raving non-stop about having Dunkin Donuts again), we drove straight through to Albany to pick up our baggage. Justin's step mom actually ended up arriving at the airport before us, and she was there when our bags arrived. We didn't end up actually getting to the airport until after 12am, and we dropped off the rental car with the rental agency at the airport.

♥- Leilani

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