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  • Writer's pictureJane Ritzenthaler

Aston-Bampton, Part 2


I'm back in England! Simon and Joanne, where I was house sitting in March, invited me back while they take a short trip in-country to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Even though they will only be gone 4 days, they wanted me to come for at least 10 days so they could show me more of the Cotswolds. At first I was a bit apprehensive, because trying to fly standby in the summer could be challenging. But I was willing to try, especially after my daughter Amy said she could come with me! She flies on a buddy pass, which is a considerable savings over a full-fare ticket. She lives in Spokane, Washington, so the first leg of her trip was to Phoenix, where we would take the non-stop to London's Heathrow airport. As I watched the flights on the American retiree site, the trip to London looked amazing - almost half empty. But her flight from Spokane was getting dangerously full, so she decided to purchase a regular ticket. I told her to be sure and have her suitcase checked all the way through to London. She was due to arrive about 4:20 in the afternoon, and the London flight left at 6:00, so there should have been plenty of time.


But those of you who know Amy also know that drama follows her everywhere! She texted me from Spokane that the agent at the ticket counter said she couldn't check her bag through to London, that she would have to retrieve it, go to the Phoenix ticket counter, and check it there. A bit troublesome, but she had no choice. Later she let me know that the flight was delayed, but was told that the time could be made up when they were in the air.


My daughter-in-law Dawn dropped me off at the airport in Phoenix about 3:15, and I was amazed the place seemed virtually empty! I went to the international section, and went immediately up to the ticket counter, checked my bag, and headed to security. Again, virtually empty!




I zipped through and was at the gate by 3:25. Now I just had to wait for Amy. She texted me when her flight arrived, and later when she had retrieved her suitcase from baggage claim. She asked when the flight was due to board - "in about 15 minutes," I replied. Hmmmm. Then she called me from the ticket counter. "They can't check my bag...there's a one hour cutoff for international flights. And they can't put it on a later flight." She was frantically trying to figure out how much she could stuff in her backpack, what to do with the suitcase, and who would pick it up. I hustled to the gate, where they were boarding the flight, and with Amy still on the phone explained the situation to the agent. The guy standing behind her (not sure his role - he wasn't dressed in a uniform, but he had a radio on his shoulder) and he called down to the ticket counter to let them know they could take the suitcase. Amy was instructed to ask for the supervisor, Nydia. They connected, and she took the bag! Now her challenge was getting back through security, which was far busier than it was when I came through. Fortunately, she is TSA pre-approved, but still she dashed through the airport and to the gate, feeling the torn meniscus she is scheduled to have repaired in August. I was so thankful when I saw her! The helpful gate agent gave us bulkhead seats in Premium Economy... delightful! We actually got to sleep a bit, too.


Simon picked us up, and we took the scenic route back to Aston. That evening, we joined their friends to a special dinner of curry at the local pub, The Red Lion. Amy and I managed to stay up until shortly after nine, which didn't seem that late since the sun still hadn't set! This morning Joanne is taking us to Witney to do a bit of shopping.

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Yvonne Oldenburg
Yvonne Oldenburg
Jul 08, 2023

I'm so excited for your and Amy's adventures! 😍

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