10/29/20 – Stymied in Seattle
Well, It turns out for me this day the fox ate the chicken. After executing my plan as perfectly as could be done, I was unable to board my flight from Seattle to Honolulu because I had not received my Covid-19 test results in time. I did receive them; but the plane was already in the air when they finally popped up in my email. Had my results come a few hours sooner, I would have been aboard. Oh well, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Right?
Wrong! I had the perfect plan. I had bought a ticket on Alaska Air, the only airline that would accept my large crated bicycle, I had scheduled a Covid-19 test at Walgreens two days before, the test results that, according to them “normally take 48 hours” took 58 hours in my case, just enough difference in time to keep me from having what I needed to board the plane. I had driven to Seattle and gone to my friend’s house. Eric drove from Blaine back to Seattle, a two hour trip, so he could take me and Sunride to the airport. We waited for the test results, but 3 hours before take-off the clock ran out. I had calculated the time needed to drive to the airport, check in and pay for my oversized “baggage,” take my crates to security where they would have to be opened and inspected, go through security myself and finally head to the gate. 3:00 p.m. was the go/no go hour and I watched it pass with a sickening feeling. I called Alaska Airlines to discuss the dilemma. The agent was very helpful and understanding, telling me what happened to me has happened to others. The state of Hawaii with their rule that incoming travelers must have a negative Covid test 72 hours before boarding an aircraft is all but impossible to achieve simply because most labs can’t produce results that quickly. Alaska’s next flight out was at 10 a.m. the next morning. That would have been 72-and-one-half-hours after my test. Close – but no cigar.
For a “can-do” kind of a guy, the “no-can-do” can be quite a bitter pill to take. I always figure there must be a way. I could repeat the whole process again and hope for my lab results in 54 hours. That would do the trick, but there’s no guarantee, and in all probability, chances at best are 50/50 a second try would succeed. So, something new must enter into the equation:
- The state of Hawaii would have to change their rule to allow travelers 96 hours to get test results, OR
- Alaska Airlines would have to change their rule to allow passengers to board with proof of a test taken within 48 hours with results pending. Travelers would then have to self-quarantine until test results are received, OR
- Walgreens, or some other Hawaii approved “trusted partner” would have to guarantee test results in 48 hours, OR in my case 54 hours
So, now I will have to wait until something new develops to reschedule Sunride Hawaii. Daniel, the nice man whose condo I had reserved at Waikiki Beach, graciously offered future dates to remediate the non-refundable payment rule of VRBO (they don’t allow last minute cancellations). Catch 22. Alaska Airlines is providing a credit voucher to fly within one year. So, I’ll get to go sometime in the next few months. I can treat it as a true vacation. I won’t be able to say I accomplished the goal of riding my solar powered electric bike to all 50 states before the 2020 Presidential election, but I can truthfully say I did 49 of the 50. That’s 98%, pretty good, an “A” grade, but not “A+”.
After hanging up the phone with the Alaska Airlines agent, I bid my friend Eric farewell and headed out in Seattle traffic for a long drive home. It took 3 hours to get there earlier in the day, it took 5 hours to get back home. I walked into the bedroom exhausted from the tension of the day and the long drive. Judy looked up from her reading and gave me a pouty look showing empathy for my disappointment.
“Well, aren’t you going to ask?” I said.
“How was Hawaii?”