Non-rev travel can be difficult at times. Lately with the sagging economy, airlines have been having fares sales which have made non-rev travel a little more tricky.
My incredibly awesome wife has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Masters in Forensics. She's uber smart and loves animals.
For a while we have been hopping around the United States visiting Aquariums and Zoos. We have now visited 5 aquariums, 3 zoos and one megamall (the Mall of America).
This recent weekend was my last weekend off for a while. We wanted to take advantage of it so we went out of town.
My wife has wanted to visit the San Diego zoo for a while. Apparently its one of the top zoos in the country.
The flights out were really full. Crazily full. I had 5 different ways to get down to San Diego at one point.
Friday morning things got worse. When we got to the airport we had to pick either trying to make a direct flight or trying a flight in the wrong direction and then hope to make a connecting flight. I chose the direct flight. We didn't make it. It turns out we would have made the connecting flight option just fine. Hindsight is always 20/20. Things began looking grim. Every way I planned out had an overbooked flight and a long standby list.
I then began thinking of other non-direct flights. After 5 minutes of furiously typing away I found a possible way out. We would have to fly to an out station and then hope to get one of only 5 open seats on a flight out to San Diego.
The flight to the out station was fine. Very empty. Once we arrived at the out station we took seats in the waiting area...3 hours to the next flight.
Two hours to go I saw a plane from my mainline partner being followed by a fleet of ARFF vehicles. Uh oh. The plane pulled up to the gate in front of us and de-boarded. I could tell this flight wasn't supposed to arrive here as all the passengers were waiting in the boarding area. Turns out this plane took off, had an engine malfunction, shut it down and returned to the airport.
No fire, just a bad sensor apparently. The bad thing was the flight was moved to another plane...the plane I was expecting to take us to San Deigo!
This actually turned out to be a great thing as our flight was delayed. Over 20 passengers were rebooked on other flights/airlines. Suddenly we had a great chance of making the flight.
Five hours after arriving to the outstation we were headed out. We didn't have seats together (we rarely do when non-reving), but we had seats.
During the final approach at about 2500 feet a lady and her child decided that was the perfect time to use the lavatory. Apparently the smooth cruise potion of the flight (when the seat belt sign was OFF!), was not risky enough for them. They walked by so fast and went into the lav so fast, I don't think the flight attendant had a chance to stop them.
I heard the landing gear extend and they were still in the lav. When they came out we were no more than 500 feet. The flight attendant pulled them both to the back of the plane and secured them in the extra flight attendant jump seats.
I'm not a parent, but when I am, I would take my child to the restroom 30 minutes out if they even kinda had to go. If they didn't have to go I would take them regardless 20 minutes out. It's not the first time I have seen this happen. The most amazing thing I saw was a lady get up right after the plane landed and try to walk to the back of the plane. The flight attendant immediately came on the PA and told her to go back to her seat. The plane was still traveling over 100 knots!
The rest of the trip was really fun. Friday night we walked around San Diego's Gas Lamp district.
The Comic Con convention was in town. The number of dorks around town was truly amazing. We ate dinner at a brewery/restaurant and then headed to a bar to meet a host of a podcast I listen to (Diggnation). We had a great time and headed back to the hotel around 11PM.
Saturday we woke up, had breakfast (I love Holiday Inn Express Cinnamon rolls!) and then headed to the zoo. I'm glad we got there really early as we saw everything we wanted before it got crowded.
After the zoo we hopped in the car and headed to the airport. Thankfully the flights back on a Saturday night were very open. The plane was under 1/2 full. Nice.
Once again during the final approach a lady across the aisle and one row ahead of me had her 4 year oldish little girl standing up in front of the seat! No seat belt! The flight attendants had already done their final checks and were seated. I just don't get it.
Below are a few photos from the trip. The guy in the red outfit was just one of MANY adults dressed up in um....comic themes? The Gorilla really got my attention. he sat right in front of the glass with his back to the crowd as if to say, "I'm so important that I am sitting right here. You are so unimportant to me, that you can only see my back." Ehh...it made me laugh.