My alarm went off at 5:00 am so I could catch my flight from San Francisco to LAX. I woke up and ate a terrible microwaveable breakfast. Thank goodness Aunt Jemina isn't related to me. Otherwise, I'd rather starve. Fortunately, this would be the only "L" I take all day.
If you're a fan of the blog, then you probably caught the story about the five plane tickets I bought for one trip. Well, today's story involves one of those five flights.
I called my Uber, and walked outside to the pickup point. We had to pick up another person on the way, and they weren't anywhere close to the direction I needed to go. But I'm still trying to save dollars, so I'm on team Uber Pool.
The airport was 40 minutes away, but in the first 10 minutes of conversation, my driver decided he wanted to get me to my destination as fast as possible, so he cancelled the other pickup and kept cruising without saying anything.
I should point out that he and I became friends really fast, and a lot of it had to do with my interest in his coffee business, and his family.
Ever heard the phrase, "be more interested than interesting"? Well, in the case of streamlined Uber service, it works.
I arrived at San Francisco international, only to find that there wasn't a security line. I brought my Penny Board, so I was able to literally skate to my gate at record speed.
Photo by Penny Boards
I arrived so early that the flight before mine hadn't left yet. Dudes, it hadn't even began boarding.
I had an idea. I remembered my Krispy Kreme experience.
"Good morning, ma'am! How are you?" I asked.
"Very nice, thanks for asking! How can I help?"
"It looks like I accidentally got here super early. I feel like you don't hear that often! Does this flight go to LAX?"
Even though I could clearly see that it did, I asked a question I knew I'd get a "yes" to.
"Yes, it does!" She smiled.
"Great! And it hasn't started boarding yet, has it?" I asked.
"Yes, that is correct," she replied.
In the span of 20 seconds, I have greeted her, forced her to stop what she was doing to talk about herself for just a moment, and got her to say "yes" twice already. Psychologically, we're more likely to say "yes" if we've already said it a few times, because we're programmed to want patterns. No one wants to interrupt that positive momentum.
It was time to shoot my shot.
"I have a ticket to ride the same route to LAX in a couple hours. Is there any way you could help United free up a seat on that flight, by putting me on any empty seat for this one?"
Keeping the interest in United's (perceived) favor, I nailed it.
"Well, that depends. Are you attending a funeral?" She questioned.
"No, ma'am," I said as I laid my brightly colored blue and red Penny Board on the desk.
"Well, today you are. I'm writing a note here so you can swap flights. We don't have this in our policy, considering you bought the lowest price ticket, but I know we can make the exception."
Photo by United Airlines. Shouts to them for being so flexible
Well, lady. If you had any idea how much money I've put in your airline's pockets lately...but I wasn't about to argue. An amazing piece of advice I learned from Steven Furtick was, "if someone is already writing the check, shut up."
It was a little funny, but because of my new "exception", I qualified for priority boarding. Yep - I skipped the line of all those peasants and was the first on the aircraft.
And just like that, I was landing in LA a few hours early. I had time to grab lunch with a friend, and surf plenty of waves before catching the connection back home to Salt Lake City.
And if you think this only happens to me, on that same day, one of my friends approached the ticket booth for United at the same airport. He decided to get off his connection the previous night, so he could spend St. Patrick's Day with us.
Normally, that would mean he needs to buy another ticket home at full price (~$500 one way). But he just walked up, asked for a new ticket, and without hesitation, they put him on a new flight, printed a new boarding pass, and let him on without any charges.
Rules are written, but these are definitely the kind you want to break (if you can). There's no penalties, no lying, and no real loss on either party.
Think of it like baseball. It's all in the pitch.