In an effort to save money, I decided to book our tickets to the States individually instead of purchasing all of them through a single airline.
Based on enthusiastic reviews from my friends, I booked Norwegian Airlines for our flight from London to Seattle, and a connecting flight with Alaskan Airlines to reach Portland, our final destination.
I then booked JetBlue for the domestic flight from Portland to Orlando, and Norwegian again from Orlando to London. All in all, it cost me 800£ to book all these flights instead of the 1300£ it would have cost me had I gone with my original plan to book United Airlines all the way through.
You know that saying about best-laid plans?
Well, five days before our scheduled departure to the States I got an email from our travel agent saying Norwegian has changed our destination airport from Seattle to LAX, which meant that we’d miss our connecting flight to Portland and they’d had to find alternative connections to get us there.
My carefully planned and well-budgeted 13-hour trip had now become a nightmarish 26-hour journey which consisted of me flying from London to LAX, LAX to San Francisco and from there to Portland. I was livid, to say the least.
I spent an entire evening being transferred from one agent to another, and I am convinced that at one point I was talking to someone from the Philippines. Not one of them could give me an alternative that I was happy with.
Fortunately, my aunt was planning for us to take a trip to Seattle anyway and had already booked hotels to that effect. So I had the option of telling the airlines that I’m happy with a flight that will get me to Seattle by Saturday (we were flying Friday morning, London time). Norwegian confidently offered me a flight that would get me to Seattle by Saturday evening, with only a 2-hour layover in LA, as our flight was apparently arriving Saturday afternoon.
I thought it was just me being stupid at first, but the more I thought about it the more sure I was that IT DOESN’T take 24 hours to get from London to LA, even if you factor in the time difference. Something did not feel right. And sure enough, Norwegian had made a bloody mistake and did not realise that there were more than 24 hours in between the two flights they’ve booked for us.
At this point I was ready to inflict actual damage on someone or something. It had already been a day of pointless conversations and phone charges, and it was clear to me that I had to take matters into my own hands if I wanted to survive this holiday without having a stroke.
What I lack in actual riches I truly make up for in friends.
I sent a quick Facebook message to my friends Kittin and Jamie who were based in LA, and within minutes I had someone who can pick me up from the airport and a place to stay overnight.
My sister and I landed in LA as planned and were given an awesome welcome. We got to see the sights and I got to have a catch-up session with my friends that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. I haven’t seen Jamie since maybe college so there was so much to talk about.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a welcome in any city I go to, but I am really truly blessed when it comes to friends.
The next morning I found myself on the drive that overlooks the Hollywood sign and I thought to myself: things really do happen for a reason. I need to send Norwegian a thank-you card for fucking up my flights (excuse my language) because it gave me a truly amazing additional side-trip.
And yes, I would even fly with them again.