not flying to Indianapolis for dinner
Remember the days of air travel when non-ticketed people could escort their friends or family to the gate, and hang out with them until it was time to board the plane? So do I. Until last Friday, I thought those days were long gone.
The Brother and his wife had a flight out of Chicago’s O’hare International Airport, and The Husband, The Child, and I just happened to be driving by shortly after they got there. Since they had a few hours before their flight, and we were in no hurry to get anywhere, we decided to join them at the airport.
Our plan was to meet them for dinner and hang out until they had to board their plane if we could find a way to get past security.
The Husband told me about courtesy gate passes that, if you ask nicely, you may be given to do things like spend extra time with your traveling friends or family. Because he has special status with his airline of choice, we decided to ask at their ticket desk first.
Unfortunately, The Brother and his wife were flying on a different airline. The manager at the ticket desk said that she’d be happy to give us the passes if they were flying on the same airline, but since they were not, it would raise too many questions with TSA; access denied.
With Plan A not having worked, and precious minutes ticking by, we skipped right to Plan C and bought refundable tickets for a flight to Indianapolis leaving that evening. The ticket agent was trying to talk us out of it due to the time and trouble associated with cancelling a reservation, but in the end, she obliged and we soon had our tickets in hand. I expected there to be problems with booking an infant ticket when we had no ID or birth certificate for her, but the ticket agent merely asked for our daughter’s name and date of birth, no proof of any kind required.
Given his fancy status, The Husband and The Child went in the fancy security line, and by the time I had finished collecting my cell phone and jacket, and putting my shoes back on after the non-fancy line, he had already canceled our reservations for the flight we never meant to take.
The process for canceling seemed simple enough, but it’s worth noting that our credit card was charged and that it took a few days for the charge to be reversed. The carrier for this untaken trip was United, and they seem to be pretty easy to work with, as outlined in their booking policy. According to the Department of Transportation, reservations canceled within 24 hours of booking shall be fully refunded if it was booked at least seven days before the flight’s scheduled departure. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any problems with that, but it’s something to be aware of for future acts of spontaneity and craziness.
The Child seemed to enjoy her first tour of ORD, and we all had a nice dinner together before we parted ways. Not bad for just happening to be driving by the airport on a Friday afternoon.