By: Chris Bennett

Alaska Airlines and How Not To Get To SMX Advanced in Seattle

June 4, 2007

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So I brought my family down to Vegas last week because nearly all of my wife’s family lives there and they have kids the same age as my twins and it is always easier on her to hold down the fort when I leave on Biz. I left super early this morning to catch a flight on Alaska airlines to Seattle it would of got me to the conference just in time, but I was 3 minutes late when I missed the 7 am flight.

That airport is one of the poorest run airports I have ever seen, I’m sure all airports seem that way when everything goes to pot, but it was bad. I arrived on time but because of how understaffed that place is I waited in line forever. Once I made it to the check in counter I was 3 minutes later than the 45 min cut off that Alaska has on all their flights. Basically you have to check in within 45 minutes or you lose your ticket on that flight. I begged and plead with the lady, but she was just as stressed as I was since that place is so crazy and I am sure she had been there since 4:30 this morning.

She put me on standby on the 9 AM flight and then booked me on the 11 just in-case. I have been on standby before I missed a flight once with Mat coming back from a conference we did in Hawaii and standby was no problem. Today was a different story as Alaska had over sold all of their Seattle Flights. There were 3 people that had been sold seats when there were no seats to sell. There were about 9 of us desperate travelers all pitching our story to the check in counter trying to convince them we were more deserving of the standby spot if one became available. One never opened and we all waited for the 11. At this time Mat had already arrived in Seattle from AZ and was giving me the play by play at SMX. He said Rand mentioned one of our clients in a session, that was pretty cool, good exposure for the client especially if it gets linked to and blogged from all the SMX recap posts going out right now.

1 0:30 comes around and everyone is tapping their feet dying to get on the plane and the guy gets on the loud speaker and says there is a little piece broken on the plane that has to do with the fuel regulator and that it won’t be a moment until it is fixed. 2 hours later they say they have to order a part from Seattle and fly it here in Vegas then use it to fix the plane. Meanwhile I have seen 3 planes leave in front of me all one way to Seattle and all over booked with no standby’s.

They keep egging us on saying one more hour, one more hour, well 13 hours later I am back at my brother in laws house in Henderson getting ready to leave in the morning. They never fixed the flight and all flights even on other airlines were totally booked. So I missed the entire first day of SMX.

The crazy thing of it all was how peoples true colors come out in a situation like that, these two guys that where super huge, hung over and tatted out ended up being some of the most relaxed and laid back in the group, whereas the touristy 40 somethings wearing mom jeans were the ones swearing and yelling and confronting everyone. There was one lady in her mid thirties super manly and buff, she faked a panic attack to try and get on a flight. No joke, she told the two guys with her that she was going to go up and fake a panic attack to try and get service, and she did. It was super awkward and totally idiotic. I can’t believe how desperate people get in certain situations, I was stoked to have 12 hours of uninterrupted work, with no pone calls, 4 hours of newly ripped music on my Treo and Tony Hawk Down Hill on my DS.

Anyways stuff like this sucks but it shouldn’t ruin your day or your week, there is too much to do and get done to let this stupid stuff get in the way.

One thing for sure is if I ran my business as poorly as LAS airport it would of never got off the ground.

Look forward to seeing you are SMX (for a day).

Written by Chris Bennett on June 4, 2007

Chris Bennett is the Founder and CEO of 97th Floor. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him below.

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