Continuing on with the story…
Day 6…May 4, 2015 – San Diego…we drove from the Long Beach port after dropping off the car for shipment and headed for San Diego. We arrived early (again!) so we did a bit of driving around to familiarize ourselves with this part of town. It has been several years since we visited last with our teenage children, but Mr. G found the airport, Enterprise car rental return location and the cargo office for Alaska Airlines. We even stopped at the cargo office to make sure we were in the right spot, what time to arrive, etc. It was all within minutes of each other…should be a snap!
We went to Seaport Village for a quick walk along the waterfront and admired several yachts and sailboats in the harbor. Our hotel was an older one, right next to their metro train and new urban apartments. Again, it was a place that accepted large dogs and our room was conveniently located on the first floor to get Ruby in and out for her needs. It was the smallest of our rooms but it would do for one short night. We would have to be at the cargo area by 7 a.m. to be able to get Ruby squared away, return the rental car and get ourselves shuttled to the airport for our 10:35 a.m. flight.
Day 7…It’s Tuesday, May 5 – we’re up and ready by 6:30! We are so very ready for the last leg of the journey! We arrive at the cargo area and Ruby is placed in her crate and is ready to go! The total weight of her and the crate…122 pounds!
Ruby is ready to go!
We step into the office to pay her way…we are asked for her reservation number and I give the nice man the only “reservation number” we have. An email confirmation. He says that is “our” airfare reservation but not the cargo reservation for Ruby! I calmly explain that is all I was given and that the only reason we were at Alaska Airlines Cargo was for Ruby to be allowed to fly on the same plane as us AND going straight to Lihue. Remember this post? Well…that lady only booked our flight misunderstanding (?) our dog could not go as luggage…REALLY?!?! She and I had a VERY lengthy conversation as to why I was even calling Alaska Airlines! She must have thought Ruby was going as “extra baggage” thus only $100 would be due upon us checking her in! Richard, the very nice young man helping us at the Cargo office shook his head when I said “$100″…no, it would be more…much more than that. Yes, I should have confirmed a few days after the phone call to make the reservations. Yes, even Eddie admits he should have questioned the low airfare cost for “cargo”. I asked Richard what I had done or said wrong in making the reservations. He said I was just unlucky getting someone in Montana that really didn’t ask ME the right questions. Ok, self-beating over.
Phone calls are made, supervisors are spoken to, yet there is no way Ruby was going on that flight! We are redirected to reservations to change our tickets to the next available flight…Thursday, May 7! I am on the verge of tears, I give the phone to Mr. G to calmly work it out, then we were bounced back to the Cargo reservations. Once again, apparently I couldn’t explain to the third person I spoke to regarding our dog flying on the same flight with us to Lihue. She kept asking if we understood the quarantine requirements of Hawaii, on and on! Yes! I had everything checked and double-checked…we just needed airfare for her on the same airplane as us…why is this so difficult!? I asked to speak to another supervisor since what I was asking seemed more complicated than it should be. (i asked Richard if I was saying it correctly? Yes, he shook his head!)
The supervisor made it happen – she over-rode something that allowed for the flight to be over-booked and then, ever so politely, told me that we could still get bumped! OK, I am gonna cry some more if this keeps up!! Now remember, arrangements have been for us to meet the Kauai Humane Society at the airport – this day, our Dept. of Agriculture permit is good – this day…how will this change in the itinerary affect those logistics?! Oh, and Ruby’s ticket price?! $1,017…yea, quite a bit more than $100!
I shed a few more tears. We calmly get Ruby back out of her crate, disassemble the dang thing, yet again, to get it back in the rental car, which means all the luggage came out of the car, then the crate loaded, then the luggage re-loaded (that would be 4 pieces of luggage each weighing just under 50 pounds!)
We drove to the Enterprise location, explained our situation and they happily extended our reservation. First issue solved. We returned to the hotel to see if we could extend our reservation for two more nights. No problem…they even gave us the same room back. Second issue solved. (Side note-it is now about 8:30 a.m.-we have been up since 5…we have not had any coffee or breakfast at this point. We are actually holding it together quite well!) We unload the suitcases in the room, set Miss Ruby back up with a snack and her water bowl and walk to the 7-11 for some much needed coffee & breakfast. We have a couple of hours to wait before Hawaii can be called. I emailed the lady at the Kauai Humane Society with our dilemma and asked how to proceed. As soon as the offices opened, I called the Dept. of the Agriculture and asked how to proceed. We got a break…the DOA said if the KHS called the DOA to confirm they could meet us on Thursday instead, the permit would still be valid. I got a message later in the day from the KHS saying it was all good on their side! Third (and biggest!) issue resolved. Lastly, I contacted Enterprise in Lihue to change our reservation for a later pick-up. Fourth issue solved. (Next side note-it is now very late in the afternoon, California time, and we are in limbo most of the day, anxious and hopeful that somehow this would all work out.)
OK! I think now we can have a cocktail and de-compress from the whole day’s ordeal!
A well deserved happy hour @ Buster’s in San Diego! Thanks Mr. G for being so patient and calm when I was not!
We’ll just have to hang out in San Diego a little longer than planned. Check back tomorrow to see how we got through the delay and then, finally!, we will all be on a plane to Kauai!
P.S. I’ve been asked how much it cost to get Ruby to Kauai. The cargo airfare was obviously the biggest expense, but that wasn’t all of her expenses. I can only tell you what we paid for a 74 pound Golden Retriever. Some of the costs will be the same regardless of the size of dog but a smaller dog can fly in the cabin or as baggage at a MUCH reduced airfare! I will give you a recap in the next post!