And now for the tale of our first Christmas miracle(s) of the season....
We were scheduled to fly out of Greenville, SC to Dallas/Ft. Worth and then one to Salt Lake City. We arrived at Greenville right on time, despite a harried dash out the door because of poor planning on my part, only to discover that while we'd been driving, a HUGE winter storm had come to Dallas and basically shut the airport down. American Airlines was nice enough to rebook us on Delta for a flight to Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake, BUT all the flights out of Atlanta were overbooked, so the earliest they could get us in was at 11:53pm on Christmas Eve. Fine, not great, but we were out of the way of the storm and on our way...sort of. Delta was most put out about the rebooking, given the oversold-ness of it all, and lectured us about how this was NOT to be done. I looked sufficiently penitent that they decided not to send us back to American in reproof and instead put us on the flights, though not sitting together. We would have to address the seating at the gates, they said. Fine, sounds good, at least we are booked on something.
So off we went, through Greenville's crack security (TSA man: "Are those Charleston Chews in your bag? Man, those are great. I love me some Charleston Chews. You every had Charleston Chews, Latisha. It's toffee and chocolate. Really good." Me: "Umm, yes, very good....Are we through here?") and on to the gate. Once there, we were able to get seats together easily, but then I went back to discuss the fact that I had heard there was an earlier flight out of ATL to SLC that perhaps we could get on standby tickets.
And here is where I unabashedly confess that I basically pandered to the Delta counter agents. I had noticed during the seating assigning that the woman at the computer was newer and the guy behind her was sort of training her, but in this swashbuckling, flirty, I'm so cool I'm going to tease you about eating your pie kind of way. So on my second trip up, I opened by looking right at him (even though I knew she was running the computer) and said "You all seem like the people with all the answers. Perhaps you could help me with this problem we've got in Atlanta." Long exchange short, he decided, in order to better impress the chica and "because we're nice people and it's Christmas Eve" that perhaps there was something they could do. In short, they got us out of Greenville earlier (we left about 10 minutes later, actually) and then got us on the top of the standby list for the earlier flight out of Atlanta.
And we were off again, getting to Atlanta in 40 minutes and then spending 90 nerve-wracking minutes waiting at the gate, watching others get onto the flight before us because of the mystifying metrics of the prioritizing on the standby list. While we waited, we had some (healthy) dinner (Chick Fil-a, Pizza Hut, and frozen yogurt) and prayed. A lot. And we waited and waited and waited...and they called final boarding and we slowly realized we weren't making this flight...until the husband said "I think we're on the cleared list!" and we watched to confirm, hopefully gathering our things and saw that, indeed, we had miraculously made it onto that flight, the last people on board save one.
As we were walking down the jetway, I looked at our seat assignments and something seemed...odd. We weren't sitting together, but who cared at that point, but, even stranger, our seats were 2A and 3A. "I think we're in first class" I whispered, incredulously. And yes, there we were, last people on the plane, funneled into first class. And it was fabulous! More food than we could eat (especially given our previous dinner efforts), more room than ever before, for which Baby #2 was especially thankful, more drinks than I would have thought possible, free movies and premium cable content, and our own flight attendant addressing us by name. When I left to go change J in the bathroom before we took off, the nice people around us reorganized themselves so we could all sit together, making the flight even more enjoyable. All in all, a great ride.
So our bags weren't there when we arrived in Salt Lake City. So what? We had them delivered and they showed up at 6:30am the next morning at my parents' house, just in time for us to pull out all the gifts we'd brought for Christmas. In short, more than one Christmas miracle for us so far this trip, and we've only just begun!