Runs for Cookies: Buddy Pass

I had no idea what to call this post, but I don’t want to keep trying to think of something else, hahaha.

Last week I really wanted to leave the house and go somewhere, anywhere. My parents, as well as Jeanie and Shawn, are in Hilton Head, South Carolina, right now. My parents go every year to enjoy the nicer weather in Michigan’s cold months.

They always wanted Jerry and I to go there (with the kids, of course) for a week or even a few days, but we’re not “beach” people and it’s just not a place we’ve had any interest in visiting. (Noah and Eli are gone, however.) Last week, I got the idea to go there (alone) and surprise my parents. Since Jeanie and Shawn are also there now, I asked Jeanie if they could pick me up at the airport if she could go. She liked the idea too, so her next step was to ask Brian for a buddy pass to fly.

The cost of a ticket was crazy, about $1,000, so that was out of the question. As a pilot, Brian has “buddy passes” that he can allow his friends and family to use to fly for cheap (going to Hilton Head costs $187 with a buddy pass). The biggest problem with using a Buddy Pass is that you don’t have a confirmed seat. The best part is that you don’t need to plan ahead; You can literally decide right before the flight if you want to be on the waitlist. It’s fun to use on last minute trips!

Unfortunately, Delta no longer flies directly to Hilton Head, so you would have to fly to Savannah. And there are no direct flights from Detroit to Savannah, so Brian said he would have to go from Detroit to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Savannah (where Jeanie would pick me up).

My credit card would only be charged after I took the flight, so if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have to pay for it. I had planned to travel on Thursday and the flight seemed increasingly full. On Wednesday night, Brian said that he was very sure that I *wouldn’t* make the flight (which meant there weren’t many free seats and the list of waiting passengers was long).

On Thursday, Brian said everything seemed fine for the first flight (5:20 am) on Friday. The problem was that the flights from Atlanta to Savannah were full on all flights except the first (which would be my connection). That meant that if I didn’t take the first flight in Detroit (to Atlanta), even if I took a later flight, I would probably be stuck in Atlanta.

I realize this is all confusing, haha. Anyway, I decided to give it a try. Brian said he’d probably be *very* close whether he got on the flight or not, but he really hoped he could go. So I left the house at 3:45 am to go to the airport (Jerry dropped me off and then went out for coffee to wait for me and find out if he had made the flight.

When I got to the door, I nervously looked at the application and saw my name at the bottom of the list. As the flight filled, some of the waiting passengers were assigned seats. Based on the number of seats available and the number of people on the list, it started to look like I might not make it. Still, things change until the last second.

In the end, I was third on the waiting list. And there was only ONE free seat. I realized that the two people in front of me were probably traveling together (same last name) and I was hoping that since there was only one seat left, they would let him through, and then it would be ME who would take the last seat!

Then everything became confusing for a moment. After checking with the couple, the gate agent assigned me a seat and then the moment my name came out of his mouth, a flight attendant came out and said there was one more seat available… so in There were actually TWO available. And naturally, the couple in front of me got the seats.

I was so discouraged. Flying with a buddy pass is never a guarantee, so he knew that many times he wouldn’t make it; Still, it was disappointing to be *so* close to boarding the flight! However, that made me start thinking about going somewhere else. I may take a spontaneous trip soon 🙂

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