If you have ever flown standby, you know the game:
- days before you check the passenger loads, and keep checking the loads multiple times daily
- you do the math: 20 seats open, 15 non-rev, we are the 2-5 people on the list...we should have no problem
- the night before the flight you check the loads again...things look good!
Wake up, head to the airport, get through security, and then march to the gate. You wait patiently.
The gate agent announces "final and immediate boarding call for all ticketed passengers to Orlando on flight 123."
Now, this is where you start to get a bit antsy. But, you know better than to shark around the ticket counter area so that you don't piss anyone off. Now, Steve logs into the company website, watching our names on the flight list, waiting for our names to switch over from STBY to 32A. You wait patiently until your name is called.
"Benjamin 'Last Name'" the gate agent calls. Steve walks up to the gate agent.
After a couple minutes Steve looks at me "Joanna, there are two seats left."
What do we do? What do we do?
"Steve, you make the decision. I am not going to do it. I will do whatever. Just tell me what to do," I told Steve. You see, Steve knows the total ins and outs of the whole non-rev game: pass classifications, other flight options, ect. I always follow his lead.
Steve tells the gate agent "Joanna and Cecilia will go."
"Nope,"says the gate agent. "Since you wouldn't go, their classification drops down and others would be ahead. Note, when traveling with your kids as a non-rev, always use vacation passes. So, Steve looked back at the gate agent and said "we will just wait for the next flight."
So, we got out of the way, sat by the window and waited for the flight to close so that we could get listed on the next flight.
All of the sudden, the gate agent looks at us and says "there is a family of five that didn't show...you guys are on..."
So, we gathered our stuff, and walked onto the plane. Hurray!
The FA looked at us, knowing very well that the flight was totally loaded and we just needed any seat. She says "three seats up here (first class), and one in the back." Well, that isn't going to work.
Ok, let's run through some things now. Ben is 3, turning 4 in August. CC is 22 months. I can sit alone. Steve can sit alone. Ben and CC can not. There were two seats next to one another in row one, a solo seat in row three, and then another solo seat in the back.
Think...think...quick...quick...what are you going to do. The door needs to be shut in 4 minutes!
Steve and I looked at one another. I confirmed that CC is still of age to be a lap kid, and then we decided that Steve and Ben would take row 1, and I would sit with CC in row three...in one seat.
Gasp! I never thought I would do it.
But, I did.
Will I do it again? Probably not, since she turns 2 in July and we have no flight planned before her birthday. I won't even have that option in a couple months.
Would I do it again? Yes, probably. Since I know that nothing happened, it is easy for me say yes. But, the flight was hell. We were 'that family' with the crying baby. She was fine at first, but then she was her typical antsy self and wanted to do this and that. I struggled with her the entire time. At one point, the only way for her to settle down was to lay in the middle of the aisle. Thank goodness the FA had little ones herself, so she had total empathy for me and we just chit-chatted over CC.
So, there you have it. I swore up and down I would never do the whole lap kid thing. Steve swore up and down he never would. But, we did. I am thankful that nothing happened. I also have to mention that CC was in her car seat on the way back. And the flight was MUCH more enjoyable, since she zonked out for the entire flight.