We came to Vegas for Labor Day. This sounded pretty exotic and thrilling to several people, but it's where I grew up and where my parents still live, so it was really a trip home, not a time to gamble away our life savings.
Anyway, the plan was to fly in on Saturday morning and then leave on Tuesday afternoon. What's that line about the best-laid plans? Right.
So, my Mom and Crawford drove us to the airport on Tuesday afternoon, we breezed through security in record time (and had no checked luggage and had already printed our boarding passes), finished an episode of 24 and boarded the plane. I sent my Mom a little text message telling her we were on our way, we taxied away from the gate, and Bart started dozing off. And then, moments before take-off, the plane came to a halt, and the pilot came on to tell us "bad news: there is a mechanical difficulty with the plane and we need to return to the gate." Ten minutes later, we deplaned. Fifteen minutes later, our flight was cancelled.
As we were getting off the plane, I mentioned to Bart that perhaps we could get some free tickets or something out of this. He told me that he'd been promised $150 voucher for the great delay in his flight back in May. Suddenly, I was very intent on this mysterious and never-before-mentioned $150. Where was it? Had it been mailed to us? Was it part of his account with United? He didn't know. I was not pleased.
I asked him to call United, while we waited to hear if our flight was going to go forward or not, but he said it was worth $150 not to have to call them. The last time he'd called to get something (a ticket transfer), he'd been on the phone for several hours. If I hadn't been there, he would have hung up and bought a new ticket. I, however, had not spent four hours on the phone with United and so it was definitely worth $150 for me to call. He pulled up his account information and I called. Nineteen minutes and 27 seconds later, a voucher for $125 was being mailed to our house.
High with success, I called Delta and asked what our options for new flights were. Wednesday morning was the best we could do, apparently. And since we were already going to miss all of work if we took the earliest flight, we figured we might as well take a later one and spend some more of the morning with my parents. The kind lady on the phone booked the tickets and told us to go down to the main Delta counter and get them issued. Bart and I gathered up our things and strolled past the long line of people from our flight at the gate desk all trying to get their problems solved. So long, suckers.
After the ease of getting a United voucher, I told Bart we were going to get more vouchers from Delta. The nice gentleman at the counter printed our tickets and then told us he'd find us a hotel. After informing him that my parents lived just a few miles away and we'd rather stay with them, I inquired about what we might received for compensation. He went to the back and returned a few minutes later to print us each a $100 voucher. (May I note that it was because we were nice? He said that he hates it when a flight gets cancelled and even if they paid him $50 extra per hour when a flight was cancelled, it would not be worth it because the people who come from those flights are always total jerks. He seemed very relieved that we were pleasant and that there was no yelling).
We called my mom and asked her to come retrieve us. As we walked back through the baggage claim, I mentioned to Bart that I couldn't really be angry with him about the United voucher because last Christmas, when we flew to Vegas, our baggage was delayed and Southwest promised us $50 if we came and picked it up when it arrived instead of having it delivered. Unfortunately, when my Mom and I came to pick up the luggage, I didn't ask for my voucher. I'd called a few times after that but nothing ever came of it. Bart, now $325 richer (in vouchers), said we were going to go to the bagagge office RIGHT NOW and get that voucher. I told him it might be too late (perhaps 9 months too late). He was unimpressed. I stayed with our luggage and two minutes later, he came out with a $50 voucher. And we all rejoiced.
So, we had an extra day, we made $375, and now we are home. (Also, we've unpacked, cleaned the bathroom, been to the gym, paid bills, and done a load of laundry already; marvel at our awesomeness).