Flight delays happen. I get it. And I usually try to not get too bent out of shape about it. In this case it is my flight home from Chicago this afternoon. I received the alert on my phone as I boarded the Blue Line train to O’Hare that I’d be about an hour late getting back to JFK. Not a huge deal, though I’ll miss seeing my parents at the airport in what was going to be a serendipitous meeting of flight schedules. But I also decided to check for alternatives. Because if I don’t have to be delayed then I shouldn’t be. Also, it was unclear just how long the delay would really be; it was an aircraft swap due to mechanical issues and the inbound aircraft hadn’t left JFK yet so the delay was slipping.
Walk-up fares from O’Hare to LaGuardia are $89 this morning. That’s about what I paid for the busted segment so mostly a wash. And the busted flight is on JetBlue where my Mosaic status means I can just take the existing value as a future travel credit. No harm, no foul, if you will. So I bought the United flight leaving 90 minutes out, selected my middle seat in E+ and was actually reasonably happy about mostly saving my trip home.
And yet, as that plane taxis out for departure, I’m sitting at O’Hare typing this and waiting out the JetBlue delay. Loyalty won.
I’m in the midst of another Mosaic challenge run and I’m currently $10 short of the $1250 necessary to secure the benefit for next year. And the time window for the challenge more or less expires with today’s travel. I do not have more time and any additional fare would cost way more than the $10 I’m missing. So my choice was to either get home a couple hours faster or give up on Mosaic for 2016. And I chose the elite status.
I’d like to think that I can still get value out of the 2 extra hours I’ll sit here in O’Hare today. And I was not going to see my parents either way since the new flight was at LaGuardia rather than JFK. And I do get value out of the flexibility of being able to change my JetBlue tickets without any fees, the one main benefit I see in the Mosaic program. I think I made the correct choice. And yet I still feel a bit like I gave up control of my own destiny, a move I’m no particularly happy with.
There is the theory of Original Routing Credit which I suppose I could try to pursue. But I’d be refunding the ticket and getting that value back from JetBlue while buying my own replacement which likely works against me. And I did not want to risk that with the Mosaic requalification at stake.
Loyalty is supposed to reward me, not punish me. I suppose I can see that reward in the form of sufficient time to hit Tortas Frontera for lunch today rather than being on time.