I’m at Frequent Traveler University by the Dallas airport (at the Hyatt Regency DFW).
And since I’m living in Austin now I decided, why not just commute?
Flights go for as little as $64 each way as long as you’re buying them in advance when flights aren’t full and it isn’t an event week(end). That meant I could fly from Austin to Dallas and back for less than the cost of a hotel night at the group rate.
I wouldn’t have done this if we were in downtown Dallas, but we’re at the airport already anyway. And home is a 13 minute drive. Why not? I would get to sleep in my own bed, next to my own wife, instead of spending another night in a hotel (nothing against the Hyatt Regency DFW – I’ve done several nights here before!).
Naturally, though, that just tempts fate. And a big storm rolled through, there was talk of tornadoes somewhere but while rain and aircraft movements is fine lightning is not.
Not only were takeoffs and landings suspended, but the train that circles the airport terminals was shut down.
My inbound aircraft was coming from Los Cabos, Mexico and it diverted… to Austin. With a bunch of aircraft out of position, there were air traffic delays getting back to DFW, and it looked like my flight home would be more than 2 hours’ delayed. That would have meant getting less than 4 hours’ sleep at home. So I decided to just head for the Hyatt Regency instead.
- I had booked all one way tickets. I didn’t want a change of plans to mess up my onward travel. Since two one-way tickets was the same price as roundtrip, and even a roundtrip was less than the cost of a change fee, I was buying truly free flexibility.
- There was no problem cancelling my Dallas – Austin flight and having it refunded.
- That left a morning Austin – Dallas segment that I wasn’t going to use, since I wasn’t ever going to make it to Austin in order to fly back.
- I asked if that could be refunded, or retained as a credit. I was told no — I could still fly home to Austin on my current itinerary and use the flight if I wished, but I couldn’t do anything with that other ticket besides fly or let it waste.
- That would have been fine, it was a sunk cost and I wanted to get some sleep. But I decided to press farther. After all, I had 10 minutes to kill while I waited for the hotel shuttle outside of terminal D (arriving in terminal C I’d just walk through the parking garage..).
- They left me with a credit, documenting the ticket to waive the change fee. An extra few minutes was worth real money to me.
The point of all of this is to always have a backup plan think two to three steps ahead. And to always ask and ask again for travel providers to help you if you have a request that seems plausible.
I got rest last night, I got the cost of the tickets covered (in the form of a refund and a credit) and that’s basically a wash with the hotel night. The Hyatt gave me a toothbrush and a razor. I had an extra pair of underwear in my laptop bag (yes, really). And I simply had to present in the same shirt I wore the night before.