Sunday, April 14th, 2002
We left Woodinville at three o’clock in the afternoon for the Seattle airport. The girls and I have been excited for our trip to Switzerland for several weeks. The time is finally here! Our flight does not leave until seven o’clock in the evening but things are different now and being to the airport early is a requirement; especially for an international flight. Different means much tighter security and longer and slower lines. These are the after effects of the twin tower bombings in New York late last year. Keri and Bryant were driving us down and dropping us off. We will be meeting Lindsi and the Johnson’s at the ticketing desk for our evening flight. I was feeling all prepared for the trip but little did I know what would be ahead of us before we actually boarded the plane.
We waited in the check-in line for about forty five minutes before eventually making our way to the front counter. The Johnson’s arrived just as we were making our way to the front desk. It was only about four fifteen now. We were over two and a half hours early for our flight. I was feeling good about being so punctual. Being this early was a new thing for me. These fine feelings of confidence, however, would soon be fleeting. I approached the ticketing counter and reached into my bag to pull out the tickets and passports. As I handed them to the outstretched hand of the ticketing agent, I noticed there were only three tickets along with the four passports. At first I thought there must be two tickets stuck together. The lady at the desk, however, confirmed my fear and asked for the fourth ticket. The missing ticket was the one in my name. I frantically checked everywhere in my bag but still only three tickets. I was sure it was there somewhere, but the more I searched the more I realized it was not to be found. I tried to stay calm but feelings of panic and desperation shot through my spine. I had three young girls standing by my side all packed and ready for Switzerland. Their dad and uncle, the man in charge, was now without a ticket. I knew I had to start thinking fast if I was going to maintain any respect with these young girls. I started discussing my options with the lady at the ticketing desk. She said I had until six thirty to find my ticket and still board the plane. I asked her about buying a new ticket. She informed me that the price of a new ticket was now going for $2600. Since all my tickets together were about $2600 that just didn’t seem like the responsible decision. My last alternative was to go home, take my time looking around, and come back ready for tomorrow evenings flight.
Before making any rash decisions, I borrowed Kelly’s cell phone and called Keri to have her to start looking around our office and home. I was thinking I had possibly left the extra ticket by the computer as I was emailing Diana our flight information this morning. Unfortunately, there was no ticket in the office. Keri looked everywhere but could not see the ticket. I was now thinking I should rush home for one last desperate search. After hesitating briefly, I decided I was ready to make the mad dash home in the Johnson’s van. Since we had arrived early I still had time to drive home and return to the airport by six thirty if everything went right. I went back to the ticket counter and double checked with another airline attendant about the timeline for me getting back and still being able to get on the plane. She seemed to look at me with some newfound sympathy and said she would to go confirm with her manager. She returns shortly with some face saving news! She explains that I can fill out a lost ticket voucher and purchase a replacement ticket for $100. After my conversation with the previous desk attendant, I can hardly believe my ears. I feel instant and immense relief as I smile back and say, “Yes, I would love to pay $100 for a replacement ticket”. Why the first lady had not mentioned this I will never know. I didn’t want to push my luck at this point so I didn’t ask any questions. We sat around with all of our luggage and waited while they reissued my ticket. It took thirty or forty minutes for them to do their thing. We started getting a little restless as we wondered if all was going well. We remained patient on the outside and ended up on our way by about six o’clock with time to spare. We said our thanks and goodbyes to Kelly, Bruce, and Brady. We actually gave them each a big hug and then headed to terminal S15 to catch our flight. We were on our way!
I couldn’t believe that we had actually moved past the ticketing area after the initial scare with my missing ticket. One by one, each of us placed our bags on the conveyor belt and let them slide through. We were now at the baggage check. I thought this was going to be easy. Next thing I know the lady in charge is asking me to step aside with Jamie. She informs me that they would like to check the contents of Jamie’s bag. She says they see sharp scissor like objects in the bag. Jamie insists that she only has eyelash curlers and not scissors in her bag. They lady insists there are scissors and Jamie insists again there are only eyelash curlers. When the lady proceeds to pull out a sharp pair of scissors, we both feel a little embarrassed. Apparently, Jamie had switch traveling bags with Keri at the last minute. The new bag had a pair of scissors that Jamie did not know about. The lady kept the scissors and sent us on our way. That wasn’t so bad!
Soon we boarded the Boeing 767 which had three aisles of seats. Each of the side aisles had two seats and the middle aisle had three seats. We all sat in the middle aisle near the front of the coach class. Jamie, Lindsi, and Kacie all sat together on one row. I was right in front of them sitting next to a seventy year old woman and her son. They were headed to England. I said hello, asked a few questions, and they were talking to me non stop the rest of the way. They talked to me so much that I had a hard time doing any reading or getting any sleep. Jamie thought it was very funny. She was a very nice lady but I had planned on getting a little reading and rest on the way.