It was the night of December 14th. Stacey and I were both getting ready to leave the next morning. We both waited until the last minute to pack and had a lot of other things going on that night. I had my trade with Ali (she puts on my eyelash extensions and I give her a massage) and it was her turn to come to my house, which was nice since I needed to get ready to leave. However, she wasn't able to come until later and we didn't end up finishing until midnight. After that I still had to pack and so did Stacey.
While Ali was over, Stacey had called me and told me that our ride to the airport fell through. Ali offered for us to drive to her house and crash there and she would take us to the airport on her way to the gym since she gets up early to go to the gym anyway before her kids wake up. So we thought... this will be perfect. We will finish packing and then just drive in the middle of the night when nobody is on the road so we don't have to worry about ice roads and not feel rushed. So we decided to take her up on her offer.
Stacey and I both finished packing around 2 in the morning. Stacey came and picked me up and we were on our way to Ali's house in Salt Lake. We got there a little before 3am and she had left the door unlocked for us and left some blankets on the couch so we could take a nap before heading to the airport. We didn't worry too much about sleep since we would be in airplanes all day the next day. There was time to sleep later.
Our flight left at 6am. We should have gotten there at 5, but were not in too big of a rush since it was super early and we were 5 minutes from the airport. My alarm went off, but I just laid there waiting for Ali to come down the stairs and tell us she was ready. She didn't come down. 10 minutes passed by and I thought... maybe I need to text her. So I text her. No answer. It is now 5:15 and I start to panic because even though we are only 5 minutes from the airport, they board a half hour before the plain leaves and they will no longer check you in. I started to text her again and then I started to call her over and over and over. Stacey is now panicking with me and called a taxi to see how long it would take... but it would take them an hour. It is now 5:20 and I still have not seen any sign of Ali and I know it's too late, but I get desperate enough to go upstairs and find which room she is in a risk waking up her kids and or husband. Thankfully I chose the correct room and she happened to be on the side of the bed towards the door so the light shined in her eyes when I opened the door. She quickly got out of bed and we all got in the car and drove to the airport.
She dropped us off at 5:35am. Plane leaves at 6 and I know we are already too late, but Stacey and I run in and run to our airline to try and check in and they look at us and say... oh, your too late. Sorry. I had never missed an international flight before. I didn't know what they would do for us, but my frustration was going through the roof and my hopes and dreams for Brazil were going down the drain. Stacey was as calm as always. Super bummed, but wasn't going downhill like I was.
We bought our tickets online through Google Flights back in August. For some reason, the cheapest flight at the time had us flying through one airline for the first leg of our trip and another airline for the rest of the legs of our trip. This made things even more confusing of what to do. Both airlines were telling us we needed to talk to the other airline. This wasn't looking hopeful. Our plane was now long gone as we were trying to figure out how to fix the situation. Our first flight was going to LA and I could see that our airline had another flight to LA. Why couldn't we just get on that one and catch up to the rest of our flights? We were even willing to purchase a separate ticket in order to still go on our trip, but it doesn't work that way and they wouldn't let us. More time goes by and now that flight is gone too and I am starting to lose hope that we are going to go on this trip. They tell us all we can do is call corporate and see what they say. So Stacey calls the corporate office. They quickly tell us there is nothing they can do. If you miss your flight, that is it. You have to cancel the flight and take the credit of what you spent on the flight and keep it for another time or put it towards buying a new flight to the same place at that day's price... which we found out was around $3,000. Which we both couldn't afford. Stacey tells them to cancel our flights and give us the credit since there was nothing they would do. When he got off of the phone he looked at me and said, that sucks... but what can you do, we will just have to go another time. Knowing Stacey and his schedule, it wouldn't happen another time. I almost broke down in tears and maybe started raising my voice about the situation out of frustration.
What were we going to tell people? I have been telling everyone for months that I was going to Brazil. I had two weeks off of work and I wasn't about to go back. The more I thought about things the more upset and frustrated I got. We talked about maybe going somewhere else instead (which is what would have happened... I wasn't going back home) and maybe we weren't supposed to go on the trip. Then I told Stacey that we were not leaving until we talked to a manager at the airlines. He looked at me like.. ok I guess, not thinking it was going to make a difference. I didn't think it would make a difference either, but I couldn't leave without trying.
We walk over to the check in desk and ask to speak to a manager. They tell us the manager isn't there yet. A nice lady we asked sees the frustration and defeat looks in our faces. She tells us, there is probably nothing that can be done because they are so strict about missing international flights... but that we should talk to a lady that has been working there for over 20 years. She takes us to her and she didn't look like someone that was going to help us. We tell the entire story over again to Levon. She hardly cracks a smile as she is typing away at her computer looking at our info. Stacey and I just look at each other as she continues to type away. All of the sudden she looks at me and says "Ok, you are taken care of, now let me work on Stacey's". Our frowns quickly turn around. Is this real? Did she really just make it so we can still go to Brazil?!! We are in shock. She then fixes Stacey's flight and even has us sitting next to each other on all of our flights which we were before. She tells us that she just did a flight transfer like they would do if it were a domestic flight and we just had to pay $75 fee for that. She said none of the flights were overbooked so it seemed to be fine. We both get the biggest smiles on our faces and I start to cry because I am so happy and she gave me a hug and said Merry Christmas. Stacey asked if he could also have a hug and took her picture and said he was going to write her the best review. She said we could write that she helped us, but not what she did or else she would get in big trouble because she broke the rules big time for us. Levon is THE BEST!!! We squared everything away and I asked for one more hug and we left with the biggest smiles on our faces and a renewed excitement for our trip.
It was a roller coaster of emotions to start our trip. We went from being excited for the trip, to being panicked about getting to the airport on time, to stressed that it was going to work out, to upset that it wasn't working out, to sad that we weren't going to hopeful that maybe it might still work out, to SUPER pumped that we were going again. I just kept thinking how lucky we were that Levon was there. Lucky that it was so early and not crowded because they probably would have been less likely to help us out. We told Levon she was our angel. We wouldn't have been able to go to Brazil if it weren't for her. THANK YOU LEVON!!!
P.S. Never miss your flight when flying internationally. I have now learned my lesson and am going to be SUPER cautious in the future even though this situation was out of our control.