Mission: Napa. How Hard Can It Be?

The Master Plan:  Go to Napa, California and tour a few wineries. We’ll go in September and meet our oldest daughter, Lindsay and her husband, Ben. This will be great! Sounds simple enough, right?

I use Delta Miles and get two tickets. I Reserve two rooms at the Hampton Inn in Napa using Hilton Points. SilverCar?, yes please. Done, a well oiled machine at work here… Total out of pocket, maybe $220.00 (most of which was Silvercar as I’m sort of a princess when it comes to Audi). And that was that…inexpensive and efficient.

Then…our second oldest daughter, Nicole  found out that she and her husband, Andy could join us. This was fantastic news! We never seem to get enough time with our kids, especially our two oldest daughters. I match our Delta tickets using a Delta companion fare and we are set. We’ll fly to Napa together. We’re excited, they’re excited. And that was that…

Then… Lilly makes an interesting observation;  The Grandkids. See, if something goes wrong in our daughters’ world, we’ve got to be there for the kids. Now we’re all on the same flight.  This is a problem. We bite the bullet, trash our two Delta tickets and book United Airlines with United Miles…and some cash. Problem solved, all is well and right again. And that was…

Then…wait, we need another room. Hello Hilton, what do you mean full!? That’s fine.  We want our kids close anyway. Goodbye Hilton, Hello Airbnb. Everybody chips in and we’re back on track. And that’s…

Then…our oldest Points out that there is six of us now and the Audi seats five. Crap! Goodbye Audi, hello Enterprise and a… Minivan.  And that…Oh, Gawd, a minivan. Ugh

Finally! The day arrives. We are outta here!  Lindsay is already on her way. We fly out on United and Nicole flies out on Delta a few hours later. We should all get to San Francisco at about the same time. An excellent Master Plan executed with catlike precision… We land in Chicago and settle in for a delicious breakfast. It’s right about here that the wheels came off the wagon…

It started with a text. Nicole’s Delta flight was delayed 30 ish minutes due to a “fluid” leak. This is still ok as it works with the Atlanta connecting flight. I booked the flights for her using my account, so I start getting delay notifications on my phone. Ding, ding…now it’s an hour delay then an hour and a half, ding ding ding! Ok Delta, we only have two hours to work with here.

The news is really getting grim, it’s a fuel leak, delay, delay, delay and now we’ve passed the connecting flight time. Alternate fights to Atlanta…none. Crap! Nicole has brow beaten everyone she can and we are far away in Chicago. Delta keeps texting flight delay times.  My phone is blowing up. They are now sending another plane with a departure of 6:30pm and an arrival in Atlanta at 9:30pm (ish).

Delta feels they can get them to San Francisco sometime Saturday, maybe. Screw Delta, Hello United! United has a flight that would work well. Two one-way tickets to San Francisco please. $675.00 each or 12,500 miles plus $81.00. I used Miles which I transferred from my Chase Sapphire account. Then I called United and verified that it all worked, thumbs up…Done. And that’s that…

Then…as we are boarding our plane, Nicole calls and they won’t issue boarding passes at the gate. Are you $&#%* Kidding me! I’m on the phone with United, Nicole is also on with United, Lilly is on her phone with Andy. At one point, I was on two phones. It’s chaos.  The line is moving and United wants me to “certify” my account before they’ll issue Nicole’s boarding passes. Their flight on United is getting ready to close the gate and they can’t board.

Now we’re on our plane and they’ve closed our doors, the United representative, who keeps putting me on hold, comes back and casually says “what’s your least favorite vegetable?”. I bark the answer and he puts me back on hold. I’m losing my #%!* and about to have a stroke. He then comes back and says “you’re certified, have a nice flight”. That’s it? That’s it…bye. Ooooo k! I get a text from Nicole; they are on the plane, finally. I slump down in my seat, exhausted. I’m starting to giggle as I say to myself, “I hope our car rental goes smoothly, I mean, what else could possibly go wrong?”


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