Stress, Serendipity, Southwest Airlines

Yay!!! We are on our way home from the US to Australia. The worst of the stressful few weeks is finally over.

Or so I thought.

It’s been a massive undertaking going overseas, moving mom, selling and emptying the house.

But we did it, my husband, brother and I. 

I thought all the stress of getting that done was now past tense.

I was looking forward to relaxing on the plane home. A glass of red, a movie, a snooze.

But it wasn’t to be 

At least not stress free.

We rock up to the American Airlines counter at the airport for the first leg of our trip, Phoenix to LA. which is partnered with our booked flights through Qantas.

The girl at the American Airlines counter looked at our booking and said these unforgettable words:

“ We can’t check you in. You’re not ticketed.  Qantas hasn’t ticketed you and we can’t do anything about that. You’ll have to contact them directly to sort it out ”

Earlier in the week things were going so well with mum’s move and emptying the house I called Qantas to change the date of our tickets to an earlier date. After waiting the now standard time to reach Qantas Customer Care of 3 hours ( I actually waited 3 and ½ hours) all the changes were confirmed by the agent and I was assured it was all taken care of.  But it seems it wasn’t. New tickets weren’t issued. If we were at a Qantas counter on our way home they could have rectified that, but we were at American Airlines and they couldn’t.

So here we are at the airport with our confirmed booking but unticketed flight to LA only 2 hours away from departure time and we can’t get checked in. 

My stress levels soared. 

I begged the American Airline staff to help us by getting in touch with Qantas, which they did, and guess what? They were on HOLD. The best she could offer is that I call them myself to sort it out. 

I rang the Qantas number and was placed on HOLD. That’s another 2-3 hour wait. I asked American if we could book one way tickets to LA and get over there to sort out the rest with Qantas and she said, no because there were no flights until after 6pm and that wouldn’t give us enough time to catch our scheduled flight out of LA.

The American Airlines personnel then told us to move out of the way of the counter and go sit somewhere and wait for Qantas to pick up. I knew it wasn’t going to work if we had to wait the average 2 ½  hours, because the American flight would be leaving before that. 


Distraught, I headed to a few seats near the American counter when  my husband serendipitously said let's go sit over there and pointed to another row of chairs on the other side. 

I was on still hold with Qantas.

My brother had left us earlier to wait for his own check in to open at British Airways. 

Now here is where the serendipity comes into play.

My husband saw my brother in the distance just standing and waiting.

Go and get him, I commanded.

Intuitively I knew we three had to come together again. 

The three of us had recently worked like the dream team and we had this incredible collective energy to get things done and I knew we needed to be together again to figure this situation out.

My brother came over and I told him what happened and how stressed I was.

Then I leaned back in the chair and looked absentmindedly at what was in front of me. A big sign above the counter that read:


It was like a neon sign. The serendipity of us sitting right there near the counter of Southwest airlines hit me.

I’d flown with them many times before. They are great. Free 2 pieces baggage per person.

I said, OMG maybe we can get to LA with Southwest and sort the rest out there. 

My brother got onto looking up their flights on his phone. My husband went to the counter to see if there were any seats for the next flight to LA.

Boom, Boom and Boom.

I was still on hold with Qantas as we easily booked our new flights with Southwest, checked our luggage and headed to the security gate.

My phone was still on hold to Qantas as I placed it into the tray and murmured, please don’t pick up while going through the security belt.

Up to the gate. Still on hold.

Waiting for boarding onto the Southwest flight to LA .... still on hold.

Just as they announced boarding opening,  the agent from Qantas picked up.

I hastily explained the whole situation and to hurry please in getting our remaining flights ticketed so when we arrive in LA there will be no problem. 

In the nick of time just before boarding Southwest the Qantas agent confirms we are ticketed through LA to Sydney to Gold Coast.


After a few more hiccups we did finally make it on our flight home from LA on Qantas.

And yes, I did have red wine (or two), watched a movie, and had a long snooze.

P. S. Still waiting to hear back from Qantas about refunding us the missed flight. 

With love & gratitude,

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