Let me tell you about one of my flying habits. If I arrive at the airport early, I almost always use the time to work in the airline lounge rather than try to run for an earlier flight. There are some exceptions, but usually, that’s the way I roll. Maybe I have some kind of cloud following me, but in my experience, every time I try to do something fancy like make an earlier flight, I wind up wishing I had remained on my original. A maintenance issue here, an ATC delay there….and I usually wind up screwed.

Today, I arrived at my new local airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) for my 7:25pm departure with enough time to run for the 5 something flight. It really would’ve been nice to get to Raleigh earlier and get a good night’s sleep for the long drive back to Atlanta tomorrow. I weighed that against the fact that my Medallion upgrade had cleared for my scheduled flight, and that I would have to stress it through security and all the way out to the E concourse for a chance that I might make an earlier flight and sit in coach. The upgrade mattered less on this short flight, but it still beats a stick in the eye. In the end, I relaxed and strolled out to the gates and decided to enjoy some quiet time in the Sky Club.

Arriving at my gate just prior to boarding, things were looking good. Boarding was called, and I queued up. The first few First Class customers boarded and then the Captain appeared. There was a maintenance problem. UGH!!!! Maintenance had discovered a hydraulic leak and were working on the plane. New departure time, 8:10PM. Maybe it’s just me, but more often than not, these things seem to take longer than planned. I whipped out my iPhone and sent a direct message to Delta’s uber-awesome @DeltaAssist folks. They kindly protected me on the 8:30PM departure for Raleigh as a backup, and then I waited…..and waited. The agents announced around 7:40 that maintenance was still working on the problem, and they really did not know when we would depart, but 8:10PM did not look viable.

I had to make a decision. Do I stick around and hope for the best, or do I book it all the way to concourse A and get on the 8:30PM flight which @DeltaAssist had protected me on? I decided to “fold ’em.” As I was heading for the airport train, I DM’d @DeltaAssist to let them know I was giving up on my scheduled flight and going for the backup. Within minutes they had reissued my ticket for my new flight. All I had to do was walk onboard my new flight using my old boarding pass. Delta’s gate reader spit out a new receipt with my new seat number, 12D in Economy Comfort, and I was on my way.

We pushed just a couple minutes early, and I’m now airborne and blogging via GoGo. I couldn’t help but look at my original flight. Turns out that it left about the same time as my new flight. I could’ve chanced and be writing this in First Class. Coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’….whatever. I don’t regret my decision one bit. I feel like I folded ’em and still won.