Hawaii Day 1- And so it begins…
*This post will have pictures added later. I am posting it from thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean so internet is a bit slow… can’t imagine why.*
Thurs/Fri, May 19/20, 2022
Today is the day. Today we head out on our Hawaiian adventure. I wish I could say I woke up in a great mood, excited for the start of our 10th anniversary, kid-free trip, but the events of the night before, not to mention what was still ahead of us, killed the mood real quick.
Let’s just get this out of the way first… I know how incredibly blessed I am that I can head out on a 9 day trip to Hawaii. I don’t forget that for a second, however, this doesn’t negate the amount of stress these past 24 hours created. So while on my worst day, I know I’m blessed, but I’m still going to point out when life gives me lemons…big, fat, tart, juicy lemons.
We have to start this fiasco on Thursday, the night before our big day. My Thursday was typical, getting work done in the office before the big trip. I went home and immediately began to clean the house as if I was planning to eat maple syrup off of every surface in the place. I don’t know why I insist on leaving the house immaculate when going away, especially when the kids are remaining in the home while Matt and I are away, but there I was on hands an knees scrubbing… everywhere. Nothing screams motherhood more than the scene of me scrubbing the shower while my little terrorist #1 is mere inches away from me simultaneously christening the toilet I had just cleaned with his 20 minute bm sessions, while little terrorist #2 is in the half bath spraying air freshener all over the bathroom floor until there was a pool of it and the smell reached mars. It really is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. I digress.
*side note- i just typed “terrorist” on an airplane. I’m sure it’s any minute before the US Marshall tases me and puts me out of my misery. I could use the rest.*
After cleaning the entire house, doing all the laundry (ALL. OF. IT.), cleaning out the fridge, grocery shopping, and any other odds and ends that I felt suddenly needed to be accomplished, I finally sat down at about 11pm. I checked Facebook and then my email. I quickly saw an email that will get your blood pumping with excitement… it was time to check in to our flight for Friday! Whoo hoo! We did it. It’s nearly time. So I cuddled in all comfy on the couch and checked myself in for my flight. I then told Matt to check his email to check himself in as well since we were booked separately because Delta and their weird rules for using credits didn’t allow us to book together. So there we are sitting side-by-side all giddy checking ourselves in. I finished first and then made sure he was good. Once he checked himself in he gave a little victory speech, if you will, calling out his flight number and seat on the flight.
“Wait, what?! What seat did you say?!”
Turns out we were suddenly seated nowhere near each other for our 6 hour flight to LA that was taking off in less than 20 hours. I frantically start double checking all of our info. It’s true! We’re suddenly no longer next to each other, let alone near each other! Delta changed planes and when doing so failed to keep us together. I login to see if we can change seats but all of economy is completely full, the only empty seats are in comfort plus, so it would cost us an extra $420 to get us seats together again. I was upset. Yes, maybe we could try and get someone to switch once on the plane but what if we couldn’t? So I go to Delta’s website and start an online chat with customer service in hopes they will right their error so Matt and I are seated together as we had booked it.
When I first started the chat they quoted only a six minute wait… probably because it was 11pm but I wasn’t complaining. After about 10 minutes I get assigned to Romain. I explain the situation and then wait… and wait… and wait. It took him 10 minutes to respond. He then asks for my flight details, so I quickly give them to him and then I wait… and wait… and wait. It took him, this time, 12 minutes to get back to me but this time he gets back to me by asking me to give him another 4-5 minutes. “Sure, as long as it’s getting me a solution, that’s fine.” SEVENTEEN MINUTES LATER he comes back and confirms that, yes, you guys are no longer seated together. Um. I kinda told you that in my first sentence, but okay. He then tells me it’s because the ticketing agent failed to link us as traveling together. Okay. Thanks for confirming to me that it is now doubly Delta’s fault that Matt and I are no longer sitting together for our first flight of our ANNIVERSARY trip, a trip where the whole point is togetherness. So I ask him to please seat us together. And then I wait… and wait… and wait. He finally responds after another 23 minutes to tell me that he cannot do that but that he did link us together so they know that we’re traveling together. Um. How is that going to help me now, exactly? He responds 19 minutes later to say that that’s all he can do and that I’ll just have to hope someone will switch with me. Listen El Capitan, I didn’t book my flight months ago to ensure our seats were decent and TOGETHER for Delta to totally screw this up leaving us on a 6 hour flight nowhere near each other. Nothing I said mattered, he just blew me off.
In retrospect, with everything else we were about to face, this doesn’t even seem like that big of a deal to me now as I write this, but Thursday night Lisa was crushed. Not to mention, this totally unhelpful conversation that could have taken five minutes took two hours to complete. Well, now I was mad. I decide to call. After an hour on hold waiting for a representative, I get the sweetest woman on the phone and explain the situation, also throwing in there that I suffer from anxiety and this has put me on edge. Like a superwoman she instantly says, “No, problem. I got this!” She then tells me that they intentionally hold back the two last rows on the plane and that she should be able to override it on account of my anxiety. She asks if I minded the back row (which I absolutely do- it’s like the worst place to sit. I mean who doesn’t want to share a wall with the bathroom?) but at this point beggars can’t be choosers so I said, “I don’t care where I sit as long as it is with my husband!” (I can’t quit you, Matt!) So after ninety minutes on the phone with her and two hours of useless fodder with my pal, Romain, we finally have seats booked together. Crisis adverted. I can now try and fall asleep at 1am all wired from the adrenaline I was carrying from my sweet, old, friend… anxiety.
Somewhere during the seating debacle I also found out that Matt’s car, presently our only car, suddenly had the check engine light come on on his drive home. We are supposed to be driving ourselves to JFK in like 12 hours and we have a car that may not be drivable. Awesome. So Matt convinced the extremely busy mechanic, who already told him no into looking at the car before we leave, to at least tell us what’s wrong and if we can still drive it to the airport. So while I went to bed relieved knowing that we would now be seated next to each other on the plane, I also went to bed unsure of how we were getting ourselves to said plane. Awesome.
After three and a half refreshing hours of panicked sleep, I was awoken to a crying dog. Unfortunately, he was our crying dog. “That’s it, I’m up!” So at the invigorating hour of 4:30am I decide there must be some crevices left in my home that needs to be cleaned while I let the dogs out, signaling the start of my first vacation day.
I spend the rest of my morning continuing to clean while tying up loose ends for my parents who will be holding down the fort watching the little tax deductions while we’re away. God bless them!
Meanwhile, Matt got up pretty early… for a dad that is… and raced his car to the mechanic while I prayed to God that we would have a vehicle to get us to JFK, otherwise I was about to spend the rest of my morning calling every car service I know to find if anyone is available so last minute. After what felt like an entire day, or 5 agonizing minutes at chuckie cheese, I hear from Matt that something is leaking into something else, but they topped off some liquid, so that we can at least drive it to the airport and back without damaging the something else, or whatever. Gotta love men… there’s Matt sincerely thinking that I have the least bit of interest, or time, to focus on whatever is wrong with his car. He was explaining it all to me and I’m just like, “LAND THE PLANE! Can we drive it or do I have to start calling in every favor under the sun to get us a ride to JFK at rush hour????” Bullet points, man. Bullet points.
Crisis number two adverted. We can drive the car. (See how easy that was Matt? Two short, to the point sentences.)
It’s now about 12:30pm on Friday, our departure day, and I find myself miraculously relaxed lounging on the couch. I kept saying, “I can’t believe I have everything done and I’m just sitting here relaxing.” We weren’t leaving until 2:15pm so we were just sitting, hanging out with the kids. At this moment, I could finally start to get excited for the big trip ahead.
So I’m laying there on the couch checking social media and suddenly an email pops up. It’s Delta instructing me that it’s time to check in for Saturday’s early morning flight, LAX to Honolulu. Since Matt and I had a bunch of credits with Delta from canceled trips over the last two years, we were flying Delta, which we typically never do, but I had booking my Japan 2020 trip (RIP dream Japan trip) with Delta so I had $1,600 in credits to use, while Matt had around $1,000 to use from our failed attempt at visiting London. Delta, unfortunately, didn’t have any nonstop flight to Honolulu so I had to do the unthinkable and book flights with layovers. After scouring every flight option, I found the best option to not waste our travel days was to book a red eye, JFK to LAX, Friday night after Matt got out of work, stay in an airport hotel at LAX, and then take the first of the morning flight , LAX to HNL. So were now within the window of checking in for our Saturday morning flight. I quickly check into mine and then instruct Matt to check his email and do the same.
Enter crisis number three…
Matt: “I didn’t get an email.”
Me: “What? You should have. Check again.”
Matt: “I did. There’s nothing.”
Me: “Okay. That’s a little weird, let me look up your confirmation number and you can just do it on the website. You know what? I can just do it.”
Panic starts to hit me and I start thinking the worst. I worried crazy stuff like that I accidentally never booked him the flight or something crazy which everyone who knows OCD, Type A me would never overlook doing. There I was though, frantically searching my email. I could literally feel the panic running through my body until, “BINGO! Here is the email confirmation for your flight! I knew I booked the flight! I’ll just go ahead and login online and…”
*error- we cannot find that booking*
My legs are now numb. Wha do they mean they cannot find that booking?! I immediately contact Delta through their chat feature… 1.5 hour wait to chat. I call… 2.5 hour wait to call. So I stick with chatting with them. My parents show up after I have already been trying to resolve this for an hour now but I am still just waiting for a human being to answer. We say quick goodbyes and race to the car in hopes to get to the airport even earlier so if I don’t get anywhere on the phone, I can try in person before tonight’s flight.
We left for JFK at 2pm and it took us over two hours to get there due to Friday afternoon traffic. About halfway there I finally get someone on chat. We go back and forth asking and answering questions until they say the unthinkable, “He doesn’t have a flight for tomorrow. I can’t find anything.” “WHAT???????!!!!!! I have his confirmation!!!” They then tell me they have to transfer me to their supervisor. I ask if I can call them directly and they tell me that it’s better that I stick with chat so the supervisor can’t read everything we’ve discussed so far. They transfer the chat and it’s an 181 minute wait!! When I see that I decide to call. It’s an hour and a half wait on the phone.
*insert full on panic while Matt is road-raging away from the insane traffic*
He’s panicked we’re now not going to make our 7pm flight that we left at 2pm for because at this point we’re still and hour away and Waze kept adding more and more time to our arrival time as we sat in standstill traffic. Meanwhile I’m panicked that he doesn’t have a flight to get on tomorrow, thus stranding him in LAX. It was not a good moment for either of us. We sat there in near silence, the only sound was the hold music with Delta from my speaker phone.
Finally, I get through to someone on the phone so I explain to them what’s going on. This Delta employee was way better and quickly I get further explanation that makes no sense as to why this happened in the first place. I had to book these flights with a Delta agent because we had credits that couldn’t be booked online. So an agent booked Matt’s flights for this trip all in one shot but now they are telling me that the day after the flight was booked it was canceled to instead book his flight home. I explained that it couldn’t be possible. That I had all the confirmation emails, and I never received a flight change or cancelation email, nor should I have because we booked it all in one shot on the same day.
It’s now about 4:30pm and we’ve made it to the off property parking spot so while I’m fleeing the rain chatting with yet another Delta agent, poor Matt is unloading the car in the rain and then loading up on the airport shuttle. At the point of us getting on the shuttle I was then transferred to a supervisor who would “better be able to handle my situation”. This time though, I am not given an estimate of how long I’d have to wait to get the supervisor on the phone.
While I’m now once again on hold, sitting on the airport shuttle, Matt making lifelong friends with the driver as he does with every stranger he makes eye contact with, I secretly check the seat status on our flight for tomorrow. There are only 5 seats left on that flight so we have to act quick before there isn’t a spot for Matt, that is if I can get someone from Delta to actually help me. While on hold on the phone waiting for a supervisor, I also continued to go through the motions in their chat room so that I had two people simultaneously working on it. The chat had initially estimated 181 minute wait which would roughly put them responding in the chat at 5:45, our flight boards at 6:30pm. So I knew chat was most likely not going to end up helping us so all my hope was in the phone call, though I continued to wait in the chat.
So there I am on hold all through the airport shuttle ride. We arrive at the airport and now I’m checking into my flight while on hold, having to pass my phone to the agent to check us in while the hold music is blasting out of the speaker phone. I then desperately need to use the restroom, so off I go on hold into the restroom. Now I was so panicked I never even thought to use headphones so this entire time I am still either holding the phone to my ear or placing it on speaker phone when I am able to.
Next we hit TSA. I’m relieved, for once, to see the estimated wait time is 37 minutes to get through TSA. I’m relieved for this because that’ll surely give me enough time to get someone on the phone. I have now been on hold, this time, for 1 hour 40 minutes already. So there I am going through the TSA line on hold the whole time. I’m really starting to panic because I don’t know what I’m going to do if I get to the TSA and still haven’t gotten a human being on the phone to ask them to hold on as I send them through the bag scanner since taking a cell phone through the body scanner or metal detector is typically frowned upon. Closer and closer we’re getting and I’m trying not to lose it. Then my worst fear, I’m next and I’m still just listening to the same music loop. So I throw my phone, still on the call, into the bin and watch my bag go through the bag scanner feeling like it’s taking three years. There was a bit of a backup so my phone was away from me for about 5 minutes, which felt like three years. I was so panicked and antsy watching my bag that I was afraid TSA was going to flag me as suspicious. Finally, I get my phone back and when I put it to my ear I heard silence. In those not even five minutes that I didn’t have my phone they answered. I missed it!!! They had answer, apparently, and then hung up!!! Talk about a gut punch.
So I call again… 2 hour 30 minute wait just to get to an agent and then I’m going to have to wait who knows how long to get to a supervisor. At this point I am really losing it. Matt held it together pretty well considering the fact that he was looking at a 9 day trip to LAX while his wife is off in Hawaii. So we get on line for Shake Shack, because…obviously... it’s Shake Shack! After ordering I spot a Delta help desk so I leave Matt waiting for our food while I go wait in that line, all the while still on hold on my cell and still hoping the chat will come through.
Matt and I took turns waiting in line at the help desk while the other quickly ate their Shake Shack burger. That was the biggest travesty for me. I’ve been hardcore dieting since February, only two cheat days in four months and so many times I’d look forward to tasting that amazing burger only to scarf it down so fast while holding a phone up to my ear. How sad. Shake Shack deserved better from me. I finally get up to the customer service person and they tell me that they can’t help me that I need to call. Thankfully I knew to not hang up until I was certain I was getting quality help, something I now know Delta doesn’t offer, so off I went to our gate still on hold and trying to chat with a supervisor.
So we head to our gate only after hearing our flight is delayed 25 minutes to 7:15pm departure. At this point the delay is helpful because it gives me more time to have the chat come through or someone answer the phone. Another flight delay. This time 8:05. And another delay, now 8:30. All the while I’m sitting on hold. Finally, someone comes through on chat… 4 hours after I was transferred in the chat to a supervisor, but guess who I am not talking to, a supervisor. Instead I got the most useless employee known to man. So we are chatting back and forth and he’s not getting any of it. He keeps trying to change Matt’s flight home in 9 days to the flight to Honolulu. I say it like 20 different ways in hopes that he understands and finally he kinda does but not at all. So at this point our flight is now boarding. I’m losing time and this guy is clueless and I still haven’t even gotten the first representative on the phone let alone the wait I’ll have for a supervisor. So I finally just give up on the phone call at 8pm. I had started my first of many phone calls at 1pm. SEVEN. HOURS. Seven hours on the phone while travel to the airport, at the parking garage, through check in, through TSA, while eating dinner, and now while boarding to still be in the same dilemma. So now I’m trying everything to get this guy on chat to understand the situation ‘cause we have like 20 minutes, at the most, until we’re taking off. Matt has now completely lost it and is coming unglued at how inept this guy, and Delta’s whole system is, so he walks off to get in line to board while I sit here desperate to get some help.
Finally the guy understands and tells me that I have to call a new customer service line, so Matt does so on his phone while I continue to chat. They have a 3.5 hour wait AND their hours are 8am-11pm, so useless to us since we’re boarding a red eye as we speak and our flight to Honolulu is at 8am. So I flip on the guy. I finally lost it and start typing “Karen’s style” aka ALL CAPS and a whole lotta exclamation points. I’m breaking down in the middle of JFK. I literally can’t take any more. I use needed peace, at whatever the cost. I look at Matt and say, “Let’s just buy another ticket. I can’t do this. What if we wait until we land at LAX to deal with it at the ticketing window but all the seats are gone?” Matt agrees so I go to book him a new ticket. The ticket is $600!!! So then we look at putting him on a completely different airline but I was uneasy at the idea of us on totally different 6 hour flights. So we go back to our buddy on chat trying to get some real assistance. Finally, he offers us to book the flight using my leftover credit so the $600 flight would now technically only cost us $250 but in reality, we’re wasting a credit and $250 to pay for the same flight we already paid for. At this point we’re just trying to get Matt to Hawaii and later on we can try to recoup the money by calling customer service. Aren’t I a dreamer??? Cause that’s gonna happen. *insert BIG eye roll here* So I am literally walking down the aisle of the plane booking Matt’s flight at a frantic pace before I lose cell service. It’s done. I booked him my flight for the morning. We’re not seated together for tomorrow’s flight, and not for our flight home either cause Sherlock over at Delta somehow messed up that flight’s seating in this process, but at this point, we don’t even care. We ended up sitting on the tarmac, not taking off until 9:45pm for a 6:50pm flight, but for me, far worse was the 8.5 hours of panic while sitting on the phone the entire time chatting and calling simultaneously, while also completing every other nuanced task involved in departure day.
So here I sit on the plane, typing this up. It’s a red eye that now has us landing in LA at 12am their time, 3am our time. We’re trying to stay awake this flight so that we can better fight the jet-lag so I figured, what better way to stay awake than rage-type my blog.
After a pretty uneventful flight where both Matt and I stayed awake the entire time we landed at 12:10am, 3:10am our time. Originally, we were supposed to land at 10:30pm and right near our hotel was an In-And-Out Burger that we were going to walk to. Listen, once you’ve had In-And-Out burgers, you’ll do practically anything to have one again… including specifically booking a flight to LAX so that you can quickly get it before getting back on a flight. Guilty!! The whole reason I went with LAX vs any other west coast airport. Here’s the new problem now though. We landed at 12:10pm and In-And-Out closes at 1:30am. We still have to get off the plane, and we’re the last row so it’s going to take forever, then get our luggage, catch the shuttle to the hotel, check in, head up to the room to drop our luggage and then either walk or take a cab/ride share to In-And-Out. We’re never going to make it. Matt is crushed, more so than me. The perfectionist, face a challenge head on spirit in me was not having it though. So I said, “Divide and conquer!” No seriously, I got all dramatic and announced loudly on the plan that we were going to divide and conquer because I was not going to let this horrible day end in a defeat. It was really like something out of a movie. You know, where the coach is giving his losing team this inspirational speech to end up coming from behind to win the gold… just this was Matt and I, in the back of the plane, and we were talking about fast food burgers.
So there we are racing off the plane… I run for ALL the luggage and then head for the hotel shuttle while Matt heads for the taxi stand since ride shares were charging $60 for a mile drive to In-And-Out! I struggle with all the luggage, getting it off the conveyor belt, then trying to get me and all the luge back upstairs and outside to the shuttle area. Then I can’t find the shuttle area and then I finally find the shuttle only to have a female driver who offered me zero help lugging our massive, near fifty pound suitcases up into the shuttle. A man on the sidewalk offered to help me but for some reason while my head was screaming, “Yes, please come help me!” My stupid social anxiety said, “No, thanks. I think I’ve got it.” *Spoiler Alert* I didn’t have it. He then stood there watching me completely struggle. Stupid anxiety. The shuttle ride is pretty uneventful until I have to get myself and my bags off the shuttle and into the hotel. I check in and then head to our room which is of course the last one in a long hallway that has thick carpeting making the suitcases nearly unroll-able. I think I just made up a word there but I’m on like three hours of sleep for the last two days so roll with it. *wink*
Matt is not facing easy circumstances either, mind you. He had to walk quite a distance to get to the taxi stand only to find a massive line. He knew there was no way he’d make it before closing. So what’s a man desperate for In-And-Out burgers to do? No joke, he starts running the mile along a major highway to get to In-And-Out. I don’t know if I should be proud of his determination or jealous that he’s never done anything so insane to show me his love and dedication, like he is now doing for a burger. The wife in me may be jealous but the foodie in me is emotional with pride. He ends up making it to In-And-Out in plenty of time and then walks it back to our hotel, this time on a sidewalk and only a half a mile away. I go to the lobby to buy a soda so he wouldn’t have to carry drinks back too and the woman at the counter must have seen the weight of today’s events on me cause she gave it to me for free. It was a Diet Pepsi so I was extra blessed to get it for free, ‘cause paying for Diet Pepsi should be a crime. Bring me a Coke Zero, maybe a Diet Coke if I’m desperate, but Diet Pepsi? Nah, man!
Not long after, I meet up with Matt in the lobby and we head up to our room to devour our delicious fast food at 1am, 4am our time at home, and then head to bed at nearly 5am our time at home, essentially pulling an all-nighter.
Tomorrow’s flight should be all set and ready to go, but with still not knowing why the original flight was canceled we are very uneasy at the thought of what may transpired tomorrow morning when we arrive at the airport. I have like everyone I know at home praying that we both have a seat on that plane otherwise someone’s gonna be flying to LAX tomorrow to bail Matt and I out of jail.