For the past little while, we’d been hoping to make it back to Kansas for a visit. We’d looked at options and just weren’t coming up with something that would work. Ticket prices for flights were really high and driving 14ish hours there and back again wasn’t going to work into our schedules and allow us enough time for a few at least days to visit, too.
We kept looking and hoping we’d figure something out. Well then, a few weeks ago, I was looking into flight prices for a conference trip and discovered that the flight prices had been knocked in half for that trip. I quickly booked that flight and then decided to go check on flights to Kansas again.
I could hardly believe it when I realized that flight prices were almost half of the lowest price we usually ever see!! We found dates that would work and went ahead and bought the tickets and got excited for our trip.
I thought I had gotten smart to choose an 8:25 a.m. flight. That way, we wouldn’t have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get out the door and to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight like it seems we usually have to.
Well, my bright idea turned out to be not quite so bright. We usually try to get to the airport a little over an hour to an hour and a half before our flight leaves. We had planned to leave our house at 6:30 a.m. to put us at the airport at around 7:00 a.m.
The morning didn’t go as planned and it took us quite a bit longer to get out the door. I thought we’d still be okay, though, because I figured that Nashville traffic wouldn’t start getting bad until around 7:30 a.m. I assumed we were still early enough to completely bypass all of that and make it to the airport with a little time to spare.
Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that Nashville traffic starts getting crazy much earlier than we thought. We ended up getting stuck in traffic within a few minutes into our drive, which added more time to our trip and then meant we were running later and got stuck in more traffic.
By around 7:30 a.m., we realized we were probably not going to make our flight. Traffic on the highway was crawling and we still had 10 minutes left in our trip — without traffic. We figured that the soonest we’d be to the airport would be 8 a.m. and our flight left at 8:25 a.m.!!
We had a 2+ hour layover in Dallas, so we called the airline and asked if there was any way we could get bumped to a later flight and still make it on our Dallas flight. They said absolutely and started getting that set up.
We breathed a sigh of relief. This was all going to work out! Yay!
And, um, then the customer service rep came back on the phone and said it would $1,000+ per ticket for us to change to the later flight. $5,000 to change our tickets to the later flight?!? What?!?!?
Jesse politely asked the reason and they said, “I’m so sorry, but because you got such a low, low price on your tickets, it means that you would have to pay a lot more to change the flights.”
Whoops. I guess there are good things and bad things to getting great airline ticket prices!
We decided to just do our best to hope for a miracle and try to make our flights. We pulled up to the airport at 8:01 a.m. — 24 minutes before our plane was supposed to take off!
We still had to drop the car off, print our tickets (we hadn’t been able to get them to print online), get 5 people through security, and make it to gate. I told the kids we were going to be ninjas and ninjas we were… and it also helped that there was no waiting at security!
Somehow, by some miracle, we all made it to our gate with two minutes to spare before they closed the door to the plane! I was dripping sweat and panting, but we made it.
I think that is one for the books… and I may have sprouted a few new white hairs yesterday, too. Also, I’m pretty sure we were quite the sight as we basically just scooped everything up that came off the security belt, hung on tight, and ran as fast as we could to our gate.
The moral of the story: if you’re going to buy cheap airline tickets, make sure that you actually plan enough time to get to the airport. And also? Don’t make assumptions about Nashville traffic.