Making A Graceful Exit

| Las Vegas, NV, USA | Working | December 19, 2014

(A few days before Thanksgiving, my 6’5″ husband and I (tall as well) are on a long trip back to our home in Europe from a trade show in Las Vegas. Our time at the show was fraught with embarrassment and financial peril, as both our East Coast as well as our German credit cards from a major card company are randomly accepted or denied, even within the same hotel. We therefore have resorted to using cash whenever possible. At the airport, my husband is dealing with back pain, and at the gate we try to upgrade our plane seats to Economy Plus with much needed leg room. The agent at the gate is slightly flustered with handling a packed and overbooked flight, but keeping her cool:)

Agent: “Yes, I can give you two exit row seats if that is okay with you. That would be $204.”

Husband: *looking way happier* “Yes, please!”

Me: “Can we pay in cash?”

Agent: “I’m sorry, I may not take cash here, and you cannot get prepaid credit cards in this area of the airport.”

(I explain our credit card and authorization woes, and warn her that they might fail, but to please try them. While she attempts to run all our cards, Husband and I chat that we just will have to take it as it comes with the cards, and hope for the best.)

Me: *noticing the people on the waiting list nearby* “You know, at least we will BE on the flight and get home, with or without the upgrade. I’m glad for that. If we can only pay for one upgraded seat, you’re getting it!”

Agent: “It looks like this [last] card might be authorizing, but the system is acting up again. It won’t let me assign the seats to you!”

Me: “Oh, dear. Did the card fail after all?”

Agent: “I don’t think so. This is the third time today the system is doing this. I’ll try this a couple more times, and if it doesn’t assign, I’ll waive the fee.”

Husband: *in German* “What did she say? Is she serious?”

Me: *in German* “She might be joking. I don’t know. Let’s just wait.”

Agent: “Okay. That does it. I am done with seating system. I am waiving the fee and manually assigning you the seats. Here are your new boarding cards!”

(Shocked and grateful, we shake her hand and thank her profusely. The waiting list people got on the plane, too, on our vacated seats! Airline agent, if you are reading this, you saved us a lot of pain on the long flight home to Thanksgiving with our family there! Thank you so much, and happy Thanksgiving to you, too!)

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