Expedia booked my return flight to San Fran on Alaska Airlines. When I arrived at the airport, there were signs for the airlines at each of the nine terminals, but none listed Alaska.
The cabbie stopped at Terminal 1, the closest terminal. I leaned out the window and asked a tall security guard standing on the curb, "Which terminal is Alaska Airlines?"
He pulled out a booklet and scanned it. "It's not in my book." Pause. "I think it's terminal 4."
He stepped back to the door and asked an older guard. "Alaska. Terminal 4?" The older guard nodded authoritatively.
So I had the cab drop me at Terminal 4. I walked the entire terminal and didn't see a desk for Alaska. But my Expedia ticket says clearly:
From New York (JFK) 3:50 PM
To San Francisco (SFO) 7:30 PM
Alaska Airlines, Flight: 6032
I asked another guard, "Where's Alaska?"
"Walk down to aisle 6," he said, pointing.
I walked there. Aisle 6 is EgyptAir. I asked a EgyptAir rep, who announced that it's in terminal 8, but by now I realized they were all full of crap.
I called 411 on my cell and connected to Alaska's 800 number. On hold, then finally connected to a rep.
"We don't fly out of JFK airport," the rep said.
The rep took my name and informed me that my flight is actually on Delta Airlines. Delta is in terminal 3. AirTrain to terminal 3.
When I walked up to the line of Delta check-in counters, it was less than 30 minutes before my flight departure. I scanned the counters. The only one open was a middle-aged woman with an oversized nose.
It was with a heavy heart that I walked up to the counter. The rep continued to look away from me. "Excuse me," I said. After fifteen seconds, she turned to me. "Yes?"
I explained in a rush that I needed to check in.
"Flight?" she asks.
"We don't have that one," she said immediately.
"Alaska said you did and that I was on it..."
She clacked at the keyboard without speaking, for a few seconds. "They already closed the gate."
I pleaded. I explained how expedia.com screwed me. My words tumbled out in a passionate jumble.
"I'll call the gate," she said. She picked up the phone. "Hello hon, this is Mary at the counter. How you doing? Yeah? That's good. Listen, I have this passenger here, seat 32F. ... Uh huh. No bags to check. ... Yeah, I'm willing to walk her through security."
At the last sentence, my heart did a dance, and I thanked her once out loud and many more times silently. She could easily have not offered the extra step of helping me bypass the security line. She could've stopped, and told me the gate was indeed closed.
Thank you Delta representative!
So it was that I became the last person to get on my Delta flight.