There are some things we have to relearn over and over again before we finally get it. I mean REALLY get it. I had one of those experiences today.
Oh, and you remember the part about us ALWAYS having a story to tell from our vacations? Well our streak continues! Grab a cup of coffee…
Mr. Tattered put together the vast majority of the trip to Alaska. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to come up with much, if anything I contributed. It ended up being pretty complicated because of all the different things we’re trying to do.
Getting around in Alaska can be a little dicey. There are areas you can’t get to very easily, and Skagway, our destination for today, is one of them.
The original plan was to fly from Anchorage to Juneau, stay overnight one night, then catch the Alaskan Ferry at 6am for the six hour trip to Skagway. It meant basically two travel days. BUT, he heard about a smaller ferry that left from Juneau in the late afternoon and arrived in Skagway that same evening, thereby getting all the travel into one day. So
we he rearranged everything, cancelling the lodging reservation, and the reservation on the big ferry (which included a penalty) adding an additional night to the lodging reservations in Skagway and booking the new ferry trip, (non-refundable) keeping in mind the whole time to allow extra time for mishaps along the way.
So, of course, there was a mishap. Our plane experienced a mechanical problem in Nome and was delayed 1/2 an hour, then 1 1/2 hours. With each passing minute we were getting closer to the time when we would miss the ferry. We adjusted the pick up point to save time, made new lodging reservations for Juneau just in case we missed the ferry, and we had until 3pm to cancel them without forfeiting the money. We re-made tentative reservations for the big ferry for the following day which needed to be cancelled by midnight to keep from getting ANOTHER cancellation fee. We did everything we could think of to mitigate the problems. Mechanical failures happen, and you have to roll with them.
At 2:30 it looked like we would make it. The ferry company was willing to hold the ferry for 10-15 minutes, and a supervisor with Alaska Airlines called the taxi company in Juneau to make sure that a van taxi big enough to carry us and all our luggage would be waiting for us. It looked like we were good to go. We called and cancelled the lodging reservations and boarded the plane. We were a little frazzled, but optimistic.
We sat in the plane for five minutes, then ten. FINALLY the flight attendant came on the loudspeaker to let us know there was a holdup in getting the proper catering on board. I spoke up and suggested that no one cared about the food (which is just snacks you have to purchase – it’s ONLY an hour and twenty minute flight – no one was going to starve.) After another ten minutes they decided to go ahead and leave, sans food. Then we sat some more, the minutes ticking by. We were getting closer and closer to having the day blow up in our faces. We’d been praying for everything to fall into place, but it wasn’t happening. By now we are figuring out we’re not going to make it to the ferry before they need to leave and we were VERY UNHAPPY. We had non-refundable ferry tickets and lodging we would not be using to the tune of nearly a thousand dollars. PLUS, we had no place to sleep for the night.
After what seemed like an eternity, the pilot came over the loudspeaker to tell us that the company had over-ridden their decision, and we would be staying in Anchorage until the catering situation had been taken care of. There were three stops after ours, and Anchorage was the supply stop – they were unable to do it along the route. All hope of a happy ending had been dashed.
Finally we took off, and one hour and twenty minutes later we landed in Juneau. I immediately got on the phone to see if the room we had booked and cancelled earlier was still available. It was not. We considered spending the night at the airport as a last resort. But, we went to customer service first to see if they could help us find some lodging, and we’d worry about trying to get the airline to compensate us for the lost money later. The incident had us thinking it would be cold day in H-E double toothpicks before we flew with Alaska Airlines again.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
The lady at the desk said her supervisor would be there in about twenty minutes, could we hang out until then? Then she went to work researching options. When the supervisor arrived they put their heads together and came back and asked us to follow them. The supervisor booked the five of us on a charter flight on a small eight seater plane that would leave in a little over an hour, getting us into Skagway an hour and a half earlier than the ferry would have. On their dime. And the B and B we were booked at had not sold our rooms. Mr. Tattered has an aversion to small planes, but we were about out of options. The skies were pretty clear and we had plenty of daylight left, so we decided to go for it.
Hannah was able to sit in the co-pilot’s seat and she was THRILLED!
We weren’t in the air for three minutes before we realized that the messed up, awful, very bad day had suddenly taken a change for the magnificent.
Almost instantly we flew over the Mendenhall Glacier, which is FAR more spectacular from the air than it is from land, and it only got better from there.
We were awestruck. I couldn’t take photos quickly enough. The majesty of the ice fields and the many, many glaciers it contained (there are 48 of them, and I lost track of how many we saw!) The flight was WAAAAAAAAAY too short, and before we knew it, we were taking a sharp turn into a valley with Skagway at the end of it.
We were ALL grinning from ear to ear. Okay Bea wasn’t. She was mad that her sister got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. After a few minutes she fell asleep and that was that.
We agreed that God must have been laughing as we groused about our misfortune. We could almost hear Him saying, “Silly children, you have no idea the awesome plan I have for you…So VERY much better than the ones you made for yourselves!”
Why have we not learned that lesson already?
We felt like we had emotional whiplash to have gone from being SOOOOOOO mad, to SOOOOOOOO glad in a matter of less than two hours. So instead of having a SCATHING conversation with Alaska Airlines on the phone, we’ll be sending them a glowing thank you note.
Yeah. They messed up. A really, REALLY big mess up. But they fixed it in spectacular fashion. REALLY spectacular fashion.
Enjoy a few more snaps of awesomeness…
And join me in TRYING to remember that when things don’t quite like we hope they will, we need to be open to the possibility that something maybe even better might happen instead!