Separate but together ...


Writing this editorial, I am seated near the back of a Delta aircraft. No complaints, though, because I feel fortunate to be on this plane at all.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am truly thankful that these seats became available at the last minute.

After booking this round-trip airfare to Toronto, Canada, the airline apparently canceled this last leg of the flight — not once, but twice. Unfortunately, the changes were unbeknownst to us. That meant scrounging around at 4 a.m. hours before our scheduled departure — to find a more suitable, optimal way to get home from the July Fourth holiday vacation.

Did you realize that those poor airline customer reps are on call 24/7? Good to know, right?

Hours before departure was one of those moments when I just “had that feeling” that something just wasn’t quite right. Some folks tease me that I am a little clairvoyant; joke if they may, but I tend to act on those gut-wrenching feelings.

Having customer support folks available around the clock certainly came in handy when I began triple-checking our flight itinerary on July 2. Somehow the airline neglected to notify us that they had totally misconfigured the times of this fateful trip home.

First, they had scheduled our party to leave Toronto at 9 p.m. Sunday, a lot later than originally booked.

Secondly, the airline had rescheduled us to arrive at our connection in LaGuardia at 10:30 p.m. Get this: We were then slated to leave New York City at 7:30 p.m. — that same night.

You feel our pain, right? The only way that itinerary would work would be our turning back time. Hmmmmm ...

Well, the first two agents via phone spoke very little English. At 4 a.m., this was not very comforting. Between their distinctive, heavy Mediterranean accents and my Southern drawl, our communication proved quite challenging.

The third phone rep, thankfully, was a jewel. We actually spoke the same language, we both laughed at the gaffe of Delta turning back the hands of time for us to make our connection, and she understood our dilemma.

I learned that, after being screened by three agents, callers are transferred to various other departments to finalize the itinerary. Twice the call was disconnected before finally being able to confirm our newfound plans.

By 6:30 a.m. — some 2.5 hours later(!) — the airline associate verified the much-needed changes to our flight schedule.

To me, waking up at 4 a.m. with a strong desire to confirm our inbound flight was not coincidental. I chalk it up, not one bit to my feeble ability, but solely by divine intervention.

I thank the good Lord that he put that notion into my thought process and that I heeded his (really early!) wake-up call.

It was quite fortunate that we were able to score seats at all that Sunday — particularly during a Fourth of July holiday week.

Our time spent in Ontario went flawlessly, our family able to make a lot of wonderfully exciting memories.

Sure, we didn’t have the greatest of seats — we were seated separately, on different rows, sitting in the middle, and in the tail end of the aircraft. While we would attest that being wedged in between two total strangers would not have been our first choice, we quickly put all those grievances aside.

We may have been traveling separately, but we all knew we were sharing those experiences together.

Kim Lambert is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of The Angier Independent.


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