Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Flying to Orlando, Take Two

This was not how I’d planned the day.

Today is the day I was to take Michael and Amy to Boot Camp for the beginning of their mission trips. We are supposed to be in Orlando right now. But I am writing this from the desk in my kitchen in Michigan – although it’s hot here it is definitely not Orlando-hot.

We started out this morning by dropping Rebecca off at my friend Molly’s house. She graciously agreed to keep her overnight while Michael, Amy and I were in transit to Boot Camp.

We got to the Lansing airport by 10:45, got up to the counter and were told, “Oh, you’re not going to make this flight.” Lovely. Not the words a non-rev traveler wants to hear. (We were flying, or trying to fly, on Delta non-revenue passes given to us by my Dad. The passes seem like a great deal until you realize that you’re only going to get a seat if absolutely no one wants to fly where you’re going. Everyone gets on ahead of a Buddy Pass rider.) Apparently the earlier flight to Atlanta had been cancelled so all those folks moved over to our flight.

This is very frustrating because literally two hours before I’d checked the availability and it still showed seven seats open with only three non-rev travelers. But by the time we checked in there were 15 non-revs listed and 10 revenue passengers who were mighty upset they were still not going to Atlanta.

The Delta agent took pity on me and helped book me to Melbourne, Florida via Atlanta, leaving from Flint. (Orlando and Tampa were completely sold out. The thunderstorms in Atlanta yesterday meant lots of folks didn’t get were they were going then so they were trying to get there today.)

We hopped in the car, paid for parking and drove the 50 minutes to Flint. The fact that I’m writing this from home gives the end of the story away, but to fill in the blanks: We watched two flights leave without us, and after checking about flying into anywhere, literally anywhere, in Florida, were told all flights into Florida tonight were booked. Most were oversold.

So I did what anyone does in this situation: I called my Mom.

She and Dad got to work looking at the Delta employee website, trying to find anyway for us to get to Florida. I was even considering flying to Atlanta, renting a car and driving the rest of the way! That idea didn’t sit too well with either parent and Dad called back to say if I was to do that he’d like to drive me to Orlando. This is my pilot-father! I know he only did that because A) he loves me and B) my mom made him.

After realizing Delta was a lost cause she found tickets on AirTran for $99 one way from Flint to Orlando tomorrow morning. I read my credit card information over the phone, Dad re-read it to Mom, she punched it in and voila! Paid-for tickets to Orlando; non-stop, even!

It was truly a horrible day, but it didn’t seem so. Michael and Amy were, for lack of a better word, amazing. Not one complaint. Not one grumble. Not one harsh word spoken. They were patient with each other. They were kind to me. They were amazing. Amazing.

It was a great time to talk about what God wants and doesn’t want. We didn’t get on the flight. That doesn’t mean Michael and Amy aren’t supposed to go on their mission trips. It means their Mother is cheap. Because we didn’t get on the plane doesn’t mean God didn’t answer our prayers. He just said “No.” Three times. That doesn’t take away His goodness or power or might. It means we get to look up and wonder. It means we get to act out all the love stuff we talk about. We get to actually practice patience and kindness and goodness and self-control. I didn’t cuss once. Not once! That was amazing.

So tomorrow morning at 4am we’ll wake up and hit the road to try the air travel thing all over again. Since we actually have tickets this time I’m feeling much more confident. And I’d feel a lot more confident knowing folks are praying for us – so please pray for us. Not that we’ll get there, necessarily (although I will certainly be praying for that!) but that we’ll see God at every turn.