20 Sep My First mistake was flying United….
We’ve all been there – right? Super pumped about going somewhere and so ready to book your flight. That was me when I was ready to book my trip to photograph a New York Wedding. I got to pack up my little Orange County wedding photographer-self and strut my stuff on the East Coast – AGAIN! YAASS!
Then you realize that for some reason every airline wants your first born child as payment for your ticket and you’re like, “excuse you?” And one airline in particular is in hot water right now, so they happen to be a lot less expensive than the others… so even though you swore them off years ago because of their bad service, you’re like, “I’ll take advantage of their mistakes. Book me!”
What I didn’t realize at the time of booking, was that United’s lower price had nothing to do with their recent scandal. It had everything to do with a new category/policy they started one month before I booked my flight… which is their “Basic Economy” category. What is that, you ask? It’s where they suck you in with a cheaper ticket price making you think you got a hell of a deal because they made some BIG public mistakes, and they’re trying to make up for it…. while they sit back and snicker and their devil horns grow REAL sharp *insert evil doer laugh here* and once you click purchase they go, “GOTCHA SUCKER! NO CARRY ON FOR YOU!!!”
Ok that may or may not be a minor exaggeration. But yeah – basically they dropped ticket prices in “basic economy” and the trade off is that you don’t get to have a carry-on OR choose your seat. Well, I missed that fine print. I kept thinking it was weird that I didn’t get to choose my seat… so I went back looking for where I could pick my seat because that’s how obvious this new change is NOT. I then found the fine print that said I couldn’t choose my seat, still found it weird, but said, “oh well it was cheap.” And stopped reading. Oops.
It wasn’t until I was literally hopping into John Wayne Airport with all the excitement in the world ready to take on a New York wedding!! While checking in to print boarding passes a window popped up reminding me again that I couldn’t pick my seat – and then there it was… a massive sucker punch to the gut… NO CARRY-ON! All the tires outside began to screech and every person crash into the one in front of them as my heart began to pound out of my chest. I stared at my husband who was not paying attention, with my jaw on the floor. He was like, “what?” And I just pointed at the screen. Then my blood began to boil and I marched over to the counter.
After asking politely if I could just pay the upgrade cost to check my bag, and explaining three times WHY I couldn’t check my photography gear, and being continually told no… I began to get heated and scare my husband. He frantically sat on the floor while I argued, opened my photography bag, and backpack… and began playing tetris to see if he could get all of the important stuff into my backpack. I was on the verge of demanding a manager when Randy stood up and said, “Babe – it’s ok. Look. I got it all in the backpack. We just have to check your flashes.” At this point I’m pretty sure smoke was coming out of my ears and I was growing a pair of my very own devil horns. I was furious at how unaccommodating they were. I don’t know why I was surprised – but if I’m ready to happily PAY EXTRA to carry on my bag and not get the seat upgrade I’m paying for because I want my gear on the plane THAT badly – WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!? I was about to explode. Reluctantly, I listened to Randy… and we checked my flashes. My cameras, batteries, lenses and memory cards made it into the backpack. Before releasing my vice-like grip on the bag, I got ahold of my friend in New York to locate a B&H in case I had to buy new flashes when we arrived. When she told me she found one, I let them pry the bag out of my hand… and a single tear of rage fell from my eye, as I walked away defeated. I told Randy that if he would have JUST let me fight them, I would have got the whole bag on… but he was worried I’d be on the next cell phone footage gone viral of someone being dragged out of an airport….And then he found a wine bar and ordered me two glasses of wine at once and bowl of mac n cheese. He knows the way to calm my rage.
Thankfully the flashes were in working condition when we arrived in New York…. and I captured this beautiful Spillian Wedding:
So what did I learn? Never fly United. Double check the carry-on situation (but seriously, who would have ever thought no-carry on was a thing?). And always wine.
For more information about destination wedding photography, or orange county wedding photography – please visit our website at www.briannacaster.com