Airports. They get worse every time I fly. Here is the story of how we got home from Vegas.


We went from this…


… to this.

We got bumped from our flight, and it was awesome.

Mike and I arrived at the Vegas airport early on Friday morning to catch our flight home. If you read my post about the party the night before, you can imagine how difficult it was for us to get to the airport by 8am. We spent an hour in the check-in line and security line and finally got to the gate.

When we got to the gate, they told us that Mike had a seat on the plane, but I was getting involuntarily bumped. They had oversold all their flights for the weekend, and the soonest they could get me on a plane was Sunday night at midnight. WHAT? After I reacted to the initial shock, I said, ok, then we need a hotel room. They said no, they don’t give hotel vouchers, and even if they did, all hotel rooms in Vegas are booked because of Spring Break.

Stunned, I said, “So you expect us to just sit in the airport for two and a half days?” “No,” he explained,” We only have one available seat on that Sunday night flight, so Mike is going to have to take his available seat now, and Charlotte has to wait.” I explained as nicely as I could that they had to give up the crack, and there was no way I was going to sit an an aiport for two and a half days, and certainly not by myself. They needed to put us on another flight, even if it is another airline.

They refused. We remained calm and tried to laugh it off. At this point, you just have to laugh or else you’ll blow a gasket.

Surely overbooking shouldn’t be legal. What if I added an overbooking plan to my business model, and the bride and groom had to wait until their wedding day to find out if they made the cut:

Charlotte: Hi Bride and Groom. I’m overbooked today, but I can fit one of you in. The Groom can have his pictures taken now. Bride, it seems that you have been bumped today.

Bride: But we don’t want pictures of just the Groom. We want pictures together!

Charlotte: Don’t worry, Bride, I can fit you in at midnight, two and a half days after your wedding. Just sit over there on that bench and wait.

Riiiiight. Never in a million years! So why can airlines get away with treating us like this?

After much negotiating, we ended up giving up Mike’s seat to one of the many people on standby. We cashed in my ticket for a refund, and spent it on a rental car. Despite our advanced flight reservations, we ended up driving ourselves back to Colorado. How’s that for bad customer service?

As annoyed as we are at US Airways and airlines in general, we actually had a great time on our road trip! The trip took us through some of the most beautiful parts of the country: The deserts of Nevada, the cliffs of Arizona, the (breathtaking) canyons of Utah, and the mountains of Colorado.


After we cashed in our tickets, we were at the point of “oh crap, what now?”
Here Mike is surfing the web on his phone for a plan.


Thank goodness the rental cars weren’t overbooked! We set out on the road.
Mike’s weird expression here is actually a yawn. It think this picture tells it all!


Five hours later, we were in Utah, and loving the view.


The best views of all were the canyons in central and eastern Utah!
We didn’t stop much, but I did lots of drive-by shooting with my pocket camera.


Nice!


Is this for real??


We stayed the night in a motel near Grand Junction, in western Colorado. What a day we’d had!


When we arrived at Denver airport to pick up our luggage and car, we found a flat tire. Of course.


Mike was so funny — as I was taking pictures, he said, “At least it will be good blog material!”


“Here, take a macro of the nail in the tire!”


The happy ending was our reunion with our dog and cats!

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COMMENTS

Hope You’re Not Going To Pittsburgh Anytime Soon……

….because U.S. Airways has something like 99 and 44/100 per-cent of all flights going in-and-out of Pittsburgh.

Seems like you had more fun driving back to Colorado than you would have had flying.

gorgeous pics!

so you luggage got put on the plane without you???

I JUST flew US Airways too, but was in Phoenix AZ on the way back to Denver. I think our flight was overbooked too, so I dove to the front of the line, it would have been BAD if we’d been stuck there (we had lots of things to do today, I had stuff due in class, etc). I can’t believe they did that to you though! They were at least voluntarily bumping people on my flight & gave out vouchers to them.

You should seriously call and complain. I know I would.

BUT on the bright side, those photos are gorgeous & it looks like you had fun! πŸ™‚

Oh, if you do Vacation in Utah, you have to go to Zion National Park! It is gorgeous! Wonderful hiking, and absolutely beautiful scenery!

Did they not even offer stranded passenger vouchers? Air Canada gives bumped passengers 300-500$ in travel vouchers. I now have 700$ in travel vouchers from my last trip because I volunteered to give up my seat twice.

and Ally is such an adorable goofball πŸ™‚

The Las Vegas airport is so crazy! Everyone I’ve heard from comments on those same crazy, zig-zaggy lines throughout the airport that I remember standing in and that you’ve captured in these photos!

Happens all the time here. I got raped by RyanAir this weekend. That’s a story for another day.

BEAUTIFUL charlotte! amazing how you turned such a bad thing into something so good. πŸ™‚

PS – #10 and #11 are my FAAAVORITES! πŸ™‚

was this your first time into utah? probably tied for most beautiful state in the country w/ colorado, in my oh-so-humble opinion. πŸ˜‰

seriously though, driving through utah was one of the greatest experiences of my life. your pictures are great! all still only w/ the point-and-shoot? nooo way πŸ˜›

Too bad I didn’t know ahead of time that this would happen! I would have told you to check out the Valley of Fire on the Moapa Indian Reservation. Hundreds of petroglyphs and the red sandstone is beautiful.

If you guys go out there again – Vally of Fire is a quick, 45 minute drive outside of Vegas. :0)

I know that airport well! πŸ™‚

Someone else on my list just complained about US Airways, too.

Have you ever flown Southwest? I’ve heard all airlines overbook, but Southwest is really great about it. As long as you check-in on time with Southwest, you shouldn’t be bumped. I check-in online the night before, so I’m always fine. If you are late, they will spend 30 minutes or so, looking for others to volunteer their seat for you. They’ve very vocal about finding someone, too. I’ve always seen other people (myself included) falling over themselves to run up to the desk and volunteer our seats.

Volunteers get on the very next flight, a free round trip ticket, plus meal vouchers (IF you’ll be waiting a couple of hours). Because they have so many flights, I’ve only needed the meal vouchers once. All other times they had me on the next flight within an hour. Free round trip ticket for a mere, one hour wait is fantastic to me.

Oh, and we get a free round trip ticket for every 8 flights we take with them. None of that mileage stuff. J. takes SHORT flights to Houston for work often, so that racks up our free tickets. We also get free tickets because of our Southwest Visa card, too.

I’ve flown Delta, continental, Northwest, Us Airways…they have ALL been a pain at certain times. We’ve flown Southwest about 50 times now, and have loved them every time.

They should have! I’m NEVER going to fly on them! I’m SAD that they merged with America West because AMerica West used to be so good! But now I bet they SUCK!!

United has a straight through flight from Dulles to ABQ now, so I definitely fly on them instead. They’re not perfect, but they’re better than that bullshit!

I’m so excited for my trip! LOL! It seems like I just got back…because I did! And now I’m leaving again on the 20th!

I love my life. πŸ™‚

We flew out on friday morning too! hahahah. We flew out on Southwest so we didn’t have to problems that generally come from flying US-Scare-lines. (In Philly, they are the biggest of airlines and obviously the worst and everyone out here refuses to fly with them). Did you guys drive up I-15 to St. George and through Zion? or did you go all the way to I-70? We did a similar drive to Zion last tuesday.

zoinks! Can’t believe they wanted you to spend 2/5 days by yourself in an airport. With no alternative. When it was 100% their fault. AAARRRGGH! I applaud how you handled it. and the pics are gorgeous.

You need to visit Zion when you go back to Utah! Adrian and I were there in January and it was incredible. We still need to post our photos from our trip.

BTW, I did live in Grand Junction for two years. Oh my gods how I loved it there.

Taking the back way to Moab is a sight that should not be missed. The regular way via I-70 to whatever turn off, not the way to go. There are too many power lines, too much humanity. The back way (and if I can remember how to get to the back way I will let you know….it’s a haven for RVs but the photo opportunities…oh my gods) is the only way to go.

I put a heads up in Diane’s journal in case you want hit her up for some out of the way Utah destinations. She is an amature (sp) photog herself, like me, and she has found some places that you and I would never think about…so keep that in your mind.

If you want the back way to Moab, let me know, I can find the directions.

Oh how I miss GJ!

If that’s not lemonade from lemons! πŸ™‚
Thanks for sharing those photos of your roadtrip through UT, and I applaud you and Mike for handling that whole horrible overbooking thing with such grace. πŸ™‚

Nice Customer No-Service from them!
I guess I can scratch US Airways off my list of potential options.

The good news part of your post was wonderful though!
The amazing range of places you could travel through on your route back to CoSpr is one of my favorite parts of the country to travel through… no matter which route you take, there are gorgeous places to visit.

That’s really helpful information, thanks. I don’t know much about JetBlue at all, but they might be helpful for certain routes. I bet they are a huge help for people in NY and Boston!

Yeah, if you are interested in something smaller, I recommend DWF. It’s also a lot more social and fun.

I’m sorry the airline was so uncooperative and bumped you, but I’m glad you and Mike made it home. You got some awesome shots! See, I am a bit jealous. Your “drive-by” pictures are so much better than mine.

I went to WPPI. I didn’t think the seminars were all that worth-their-weight-in-gold (except for Kubota’s. I love going to Kubota seminars), but the trade show was great. I tend to get a little overwhelmed by so many products and ideas and people though, so maybe DWF would be more my cup of tea.

I bet very few places are as scenic as Utah, but I’m sure your drive was pretty, too!

Did you go to WPPI or DWF? What did you think?

crazy beautiful! seems like a good trade to me.

hope you enjoyed WPPI! (i’ll look for your post).

I drove out from CA myself. I think it’s a nice drive, though not as scenic as Utah, I bet!

If is up to it (she’s going through some medical issues right now but it might be a good diversion for her) I am sure she can tell you the most awesome places to seek out in Utah that aren’t in the the typical tourist maps and such.

She lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City and has traveled all over her beautiful state. If you want, you can friend her but she’s been kind of sparse lately but I bet the tourista in her would love to help you out.

πŸ™‚

At least there was a happy ending, with the road trip.

Actually, JetBlue only works well depending on the situation, otherwise, you find yourself unnecessarily flying all over the country.

Their only direct flights are to NYC and Boston from most cities. Every other flight must stop in one of those two locales to get you where you need to be. (See: “Where We Fly”)

For example: I live in Cincinnati, so I’d have to *drive* 2 hours to Columbus first. If I was going to Burbank, CA, I’d fly from Columbus to NYC (which is 2 hours in the wrong direction), then switch planes in order to fly across the country, passing right over where I started from four hours before. I have a friend who swears by JetBlue, but she also lives in Boston and had no idea how complicated it was to leave from anywhere else. πŸ™

That said, there’s still no excuse for US Airways thinking it’s completely acceptable to break up a traveling couple like that. What if one of you were handicapped and required special assistance? Oy. It’s little stories like these that make me wonder why the airlines aren’t being held more accountable. They claim they’re still hurting from 9/11, but meanwhile they overbook all their flights and tell people they need to sit in an airport for two days by themselves? Wtf?

Pictures were gorgeous as always. πŸ™‚

Yeah, it actually turned out to be such a great drive that we want to go back to Utah for a full week later this year. We never would have discovered this new vacation destination if US Airways didn’t suck so much.

i hate the practice of overbooking, too, but to not even offer a hotel?! that’s just awful! based on the photos, though, i think you guys won.

The government should have let US Airways go under, instead of giving them emergency funding to bail them out of their bankruptcy.

You are going to LOVE Utah! That trip is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to see your photos!

US Airways is a big, rotten, infected lemon. Utah is delicious. I guess they balanced each other out.

Yeah, can you believe that they wouldn’t even give us a hotel room? That’s just awful. But we really did end up having a good time (after we left the airport, that is.) It would have been much worse if we had to hurry back for anything important.

Yeah, they are so annoying that they made us check our luggage and go through the enormous security line, before telling us that we were bumped. By the time we found out, our bags were already on the plane. They expected us to stay in Vegas two more nights, with no luggage. Lovely.

Mike got a voucher for a free domestic round-trip, which is cool, except for the part that we hate US Airways. Oh well, free is good.

HOLY FREEKING CRAP! I can’t believe they would do that! I mean, I know they’re bad, but GOD!

The road trip looks AMAZING THOUGH! I’m going to Moab, UT and Arches Park and down through Monument Valley in like TWO weeks during my trip to ABQ! I can’t wait to see it, especially after these photos! WOW!!

Oh my gosh, I’m sorry to hear that your friend had such trouble! Things like that just shouldn’t happen.

Utah is spectacular. I loved our drive there so much that I want to do a full week vacation there this summer. Mike and I are thinking of traveling through Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and Glen Canyon National Recreation area.

I thought of you when we got to Grand Junction! I know you’ve considered moving there, and I can see why. It would be awesome to live anywhere near those beautiful Utah canyons.

That’s great to know about JetBlue, thanks. I will definitely look into them next time.

I heard from another photographer who couldn’t get out of Vegas, and had a wedding to shoot on Saturday! She had to buy a new plane ticket, and fortunately she got there in plenty of time, but geez. You just have to wonder how many people’s plans get completely ruined by airlines.

This is exactly why I have a policy of flying in to weddings two days in advance. πŸ˜‰

It’s completely inexcusable! Tomorrow I am going to have to make some unpleasant phone calls to US Airways to insist that they do something to make it up to us.

It’s dreadful that any company would do this to its customers!

Oh yes, you should definitely come visit the US and explore its endless variety of scenery. It’s funny… I thought that your username meant Los Angeles Ruth. So I checked out your info, and it turns out that you live in one of my favorite countries ever. I hope you’re enjoying all the beautiful spots in Australia, too!

Hate the airlines love the lemonade you made out of that big US Airways lemon.

US airways is the worstestesttestestestststsssss.

This is so great! Bad stuff happens all the time (that’s really bad, btw – they wouldn’t even give you a hotel room?!) but I love that you guys made the best of it. The tire back in Denver would have just been the crowning glory – I think I would have hit something.

So, they flew your luggage home without you?

Did Mike get any compensation for getting bumped? Maybe a free flight somewhere else.

My friend has had tons of trouble with the airlines this semester. She had to take her mom back to the middle east because she was extreamly ill, flew back to NYC, and couldn’t fly to FL because of an overbook. Missed half a week of class!

Lucky ya’ll for the beautiful drive!

I am so sorry the airlines were a bunch of buttheads but you have to admit, the drive from Vegas to CS is filled with a lot of beauty.

Had I had my camara working, I probably would have asked for a little more $ so I could take a day or two to driver there and drive back last week. I actually miss the drive there. Oh my, the wonder that is Utah!

It’s a little too conservative for my tastes but I have even though about moving to Green River (since it’s not all that far from Grand Junction and cheaper in rent). What an incredible state!

But I am flabbergasted that the airlines treated you that way. Holy cow. I would have blown a gasket…they would have carted me away and put with me the terrorists I am sure. Seriously, what were they thinking? GAH!

Wow–what awful customer service, but what amazing scenery you went through!

(I do remember reading that there is one airline that does not overbook…I think it is JetBlue.)

Even though you ended up having a ton of fun on your road trip home I would have been so annoyed…what would have happened if you had another appt on saturday! Goodness…airlines are frustrating to me. We had that same thing happen to us in Boston and I ended up getting in a ton of trouble at work for not being there the next day due to the airline!

wow, that’s just NUTS! horrible airlines!

I can’t believe that airlines have an overbooking policy….and worse….provide no alternatives for you when it occurs!

Love your photos of the fantastic scenery. Hubby and I will have to visit America one day to see all these beautiful places!

Charlotte Geary

CHARLOTTE GEARY

Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.

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