Our first ticket – wasn’t standby.

The day before our trip, we celebrated by doing the most American thing we could think of – going to Disneyland.

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Jen, Nick, Taylor, Louise, me & Ross – the beginning of a 12 hour adventure at the ‘happiest place on earth’! 

Our beatiful friends, Nick and Jen (who who works at Disney) set us up with a day packed full of park hopping, wine tasting and packing in everything American (that we might miss, like wine and Dole Whip and maybe things we won’t miss, like long lines and Disney themed liscence plates) for our last day in the US. Plus the walking was a good test for our feet; between the two parks, we averaged probably over six miles of Disney fun (a lot but not even close to what we would walk on our first day in Singapore).

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After a fun filled day at Disneyland, we tried to sleep with no avail. We both kept running over everything that needed to be packed, repacked and double checked. When we went to bed (the last time we would sleep in Ross’ apartment), our Singapore flight was still looking good – five seats in first and over 35 in economy. Our Orange County to San Francisco flight looked good as well – over 25 seats! Keep in mind that we only get on the plane if there are seats, so our odds were looking good.  At 7am (we had already woken up at 6am due to excitement) we got a call from my mom bearing bad news. The flights had gone from good to very bad and in order to make our Singapore fight, we might have to buy the San Francisco leg. We quickly logged on to the United website and by the time we got credit cards organized the fare ($115 on a reduced ticket price) was already gone. We were left with two options, to risk standing by for an oversold flight, or buy a flight two hours earlier for $93. Thank you running mind for getting us up early! We opted for option two.

We double checked our bags one more time, threw them in the car and drove to our storage unit to drop off Ross’ car. Our departure time was now 4 hours earlier than what we had planned for. After a few tearful and hurried goodbyes later we were at the airport. After all of the rushing we arrived at the gate to find our that our flight was delayed due to high winds in SF. After a two hour ground delay (which was great for Ross so he could give his dad one last squeeze) we boarded the plane and taxied out. After waiting on the tarmac for another hour, we were informed that there was a mechanical and we taxied back to the gate. Our scheduled departure was now the original flight time that we had planned, we were still optimistic. While we were still on the ground we contacted mom to see if there were any back up options. There were none. We waited. Finally around 6pm (5 hours after our scheduled departed time) we had liftoff.

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Charging up all of our electronic devices. This picture was also for travelers insurence, in case we got robbed on day one.

Once in SFO we set up “camp” at our gate. The flight to Singapore still looked ok but not as great as the night before. We went from being number two and three on the standby list to six and seven and due to a fun thing that airlines like to call “weight & balance” United decided to hold 40 seats, leaving seven opportunities for us to sit together. Finally after watching our available seats disappear one by one on the screen behind the check in counter, our names were called. Yes! We rushed to the counter like two kids at a candy store and found out that we were also sitting together! We won the lottery of standby traveling!

The man behind the counter looked puzzled; the system had printed a ticket for Ross but not for Nat. When he asked his supervisor, he responded with the answer we were dreading to hear, “due to weight and balance, the plane was only authorized to carry 250 passengers and Nat was unlucky 251.” We were then instructed to wait for any missconnecting passengers. This is what we like to call… the butt pucker.

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For the next five minutes (although it felt like five hours) we waited. The desk agents supervisor made a few “last calls” for two passengers who were delayed from a Las Vegas flight and we watched as the passengers ran to get there before the gate closed. All we needed was one person to not make the flight. Finally the moment of truth – the gate agent called our names and we were handed two tickets. It wasn’t until we were seated on the plane and the flight attendant requested that all electronic devices be turned off prior to taxi that we exhaled.

We were on our way. See you in 17 hours Singapore.

 


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