Getting to Anchorage was an episode of “Revenge of the buddy pass.” Between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. I was bumped from every single flight. Fortunately I didn’t collect the whole set, i.e., I got a seat on the last plane of the day, at 11:45 p.m.
Fortunately that wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
Sure, I left my apartment at 8 a.m. and spent the next 11 hours trotting from gate to gate. But a couple of dozen other people – other “non-revenue passengers,” each hoping for a cheap seat – trotted along with me. It got funnier and funnier as we were bounced from flight to flight, the sort of exhausted hilarity of finals week.
I had bagels, an apple and other snacks with me, although I eventually had to spring for dinner (teriyaki chicken, rice and salad for $10). I even found an airport rarity: a refillable soft drink. Thus an excess of caffeine might have made the experience giddier than it might otherwise have been.
I was surprised the flights were so full, since tourist season doesn’t usually start until mid- to late May. One of the gate agents said it’s been that hectic for the past two weeks. Maybe they weren’t tourons, but rather optimistic folks who’d heard about Anchorage’s unemployment rate (lower than the national average).
Paying about $120 round-trip was quite the deal, given that the current price is just under $800. That said, the next time I want to travel anywhere close to tourist season I’ll just buy a regular ticket. Even though I got a fair amount of work done, and even came up with another topic for my MSN Money gig, I’d like to avoid spending so much time at the airport.
More from elsewhere
Last month at Get Rich Slowly I explained “Why it’s okay to buy a Mega Millions ticket (even after you’ve done the math).” Judging from the comments, a lot of people agree – which, frankly, surprised me. I expected to be told I was paying the Stupid Tax.
Then I took a two-week hiatus from writing for GRS, in part due to extreme busyness and in part because my new contract specifies 24 columns a year vs. biweekly ones. Today, I’m back: “How to do a wallet audit,” advice on reducing the impact of street crime (or even a lost billfold).
Also on the topic of busyness: I did another short piece for the Daily Worth site. “Be ready for the worst-case scenario” asks what you’d do if the first thing the boss said to you tomorrow were, “Clean out your desk.”
If not, read the above to learn how to stage your very own financial fire drill, i.e., to learn exactly how much you need to live on until times are better. Or, rather, how little you can manage on if necessary.