Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Break

Monday, April 7

I had booked airline tickets for us to go visit my mom over Spring Break. This was the first time Lola would meet her new ‘Babushka’. I booked this flight through AirTran on March 5 for departure on April 7. OK, that is about a MONTH in advance. I have normally flown Delta in the past because they have non-stop flights directly into Omaha. It was also very convenient since my friend Dawn lives in Omaha and I always visit her for a couple days before or after I drive to Iowa to see my mom. However, this time the flights to Omaha on every airline was upward of $500.00 round trip per person - - a fare I consider outrageous, gas price increases or not. Instead, after much research, I decided to try flying AirTran to Minneapolis for the wonderful price of about $200.00 round trip per person. Since it is a necessity to get a rental car I figured a couple extra hours driving time was not bad in comparison to the money we would save.

I haven’t flown AirTran for quite some time, but in the past the experience wasn’t all that different from any other airline. However, when Lola and I arrived at the Atlanta airport on April 7 to check in and get boarding passes we were told there were no available seats left on the plane. Eeeeek. Whaaaaaat?? We were then instructed to go through the security checkpoint and on to the departure gate anyway (and of course they checked our luggage to go on the plane whether we had seats or not??!! So, like, what fun is our luggage going to have in Minneapolis without US??) to see if they could get us assigned to either 1) seats on the plane for our scheduled flight or 2) seats on the next flight out. So, while we were standing in the unbelievably long cattle-queue for the security check, I tried to call AirTran’s 800 number to see if they could assign us seats, to no avail. A man standing in front of us told me he had the same problem with AirTran overbooking seats on his last trip and he and some other passenger had been assigned the same seat. How encouraging. Once we finally made it to the gate (about fifteen minutes before the flight was to depart, I might add) we were assured that plenty of people on our flight were willing to give up their seats so all we needed to do was wait until they called our names. About ten minutes later they called us over and gave us each a boarding pass. And to our surprise, when we got on the plane we were seated in the business class seats. That was next to heaven for Lola - - not only did she get a ‘first class-size’ seat, but also one at the window.

Thankfully the rest of the trip, car ride included, went very smoothly. We arrived at my mom’s house about 3pm on Monday.

Lola was a little nervous about meeting my mom, but they seemed to bond quite easily. Lola absolutely loves her new ‘Baba’ and is quite anxious to go back again for a visit, preferably in the summer. It amazes me how quickly Lola has lost her ability to adapt well to cold weather, considering the winter temperatures in St. Petersburg, Russia…I guess I was the same when I moved from Nebraska to Florida back in 1996. We will have to see how Lola holds up to the humidity and heat of “Hotlanta” this summer.

I did learn that my Uncle Don, my mom’s brother, was in the local hospital. He has been battling emphysema for years due to smoking and any semblance of a cold he contracts transforms itself into a serious illness. Apparently this time he had an infection in his lungs and it had caused some complications. My aunt had advised us that any visitors at this point just makes him more tired, so we decided to stay home. We are hoping to hear more about his condition later.

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