3 things I learned this week: The good, the not-so-good and the 'Breaking Bad'

Good Thing No. 1:

It was announced this week that Allegiant is once again offering flights from my place to (near) my grandsons' place. Twice a week. For pretty darn cheap prices, even figuring in the cost of paying to lug my Grandma Bag with me when I visit.

grandma and grandsonsThat's great news considering my third grandson will be born in June and I'll be visiting soon after his birth. Also great news because that...

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The one in which I eat my words

Related Posts with ThumbnailsGuess who Grandma gets to see in 22 days!In July I wrote a post called Dear Southwest Airlines, in which I bid the airline farewell. I'd been flying back and forth on Southwest to see Bubby in the desert ever since he'd been born. Then Allegiant arrived in town, batting its eyelashes and cheap fares with service to Bubby, and I thought I no longer needed Southwest.

How wrong I was.

Many times since Allegiant set up shop at the airport 10 minutes from my home, with supposedly inexpensive service to an airport not too far from Bubby's home, I've researched flights for upcoming visits on both Allegiant and Southwest. Much to my surprise -- and chagrin -- Southwest keeps winning out. And winning the dollars from my travel budget. And winning me over once and for all.

Allegiant flies to and from Bubby's home only twice a week, leaving my home each Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. All fine and good. The return flights are the same days -- Wednesday and Saturday. At cussing SIX O' CLOCK IN THE MORNING! That's the ONLY time. Ever. Which means I'd have to leave Bubby's house at about 3 a.m. in order to make that flight. Always.

Okay, yeah, sometimes there's a little inconvenience when getting a cheap flight. We'll make do, I told myself.

So keeping in mind the trade-off of funky times in exchange for cheap fares, I went to book tickets for Jim, Brianna, Andrea and myself to go to Bubby's house for Thanksgiving. But the flights were not cheap on Allegiant. In fact, they were a bit more than those on Southwest. And Southwest had several options of times, none that required leaving Bubby's at 3 a.m.

So I booked four tickets on Southwest. Yes, we'll have to drive 50 or so miles to the airport -- when Allegiant takes off just 10 minutes from my door -- but the list of pros and cons fell clearly in favor of Southwest.

Soon after, in return for my, ahem, loyalty, Southwest sent me a voucher for a free flight to anywhere I want, good for one year. What did I do with that freebie? Well, what do you think I did? I booked a flight to see Bubby, of course! For the end of this month!

The freebie from Southwest went a long way toward mending my broken heart after a failed attempt to schedule a visit from Megan and Bubby in October. I'd been thinking I truly would not make it without major chinks in my heart if I had to go without seeing Bubby until Thanksgiving. Then Southwest came to my rescue.

Thank you, Southwest!

But wait! That's not all!

One day last week I went to the mailbox and found a letter from Southwest. My first thought was that they'd finally read my Dear John letter to them and were rescinding my travel rights on their airline for being such a cuss. They'd show me who was boss, I feared, and I would indeed be using only 6 a.m. flights on Allegiant for my visits with Bubby.

I quickly tore open the letter to find ... FOUR DRINK TICKETS! "Have a drink on us!" good ol' Southwest told me, in appreciation of my loyalty to the company.

Sheesh, nothing like free drinks to make a grandma feel like a heel.

Although I have no plans to imbibe while in the air as I travel to see Bubby -- either on my visit in a few weeks or on the Thanksgiving trip -- it gives me a warm fuzzy just to know I could if I wanted. For free. Courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Then again, maybe I will take them up on the offer. A stiff 7-and-7 will be great for washing down the sharp and snarky words about Southwest that I'm now eating, just three months after having written them.


Today's question:

What do you usually drink -- alcoholic or otherwise -- when flying?

Dear Southwest Airlines

Dear John Southwest,

You've been so good to me all these years that this is really difficult for me to write. To make it a little less painful for us both, I'm just going to say it up front: I believe it's time to cool our jets, for I've met someone new.

I hoped to keep my new dalliance secret, to not have to admit my loyalty no longer lies with you, but Thursday's press conference announcing $29 introductory flights and more made it impossible for me to pretend any longer. I've found a new love, a new best friend, a new way to fly to see my beloved grandson Bubby.

Yes, dear Southwest, you probably guessed it. It's Allegiant Air. They're back in town and I can no longer go on seeing you when it's Allegiant who has my heart, my bags, my flight to an airport near Bubby.

Me love you long time, Southwest, and you were oh-so good to me during that time. You carried my bags for free, offered up peanuts and pretzels at the same time, provided the most interesting airline publication of all, and even introduced Jim to Sky Mall ... and we have the replica of Mount Rushmore at the top of our backyard waterfall to forever prove Jim's appreciation for that serendipitous introduction.

Most importantly, though, you were my first, Southwest. You were the one to carry me relatively turbulence free to visit my brand-new grandbaby for the very first time, just days after his birth. And for that I will always love you.

But sometimes even the strongest of loves can't make a relationship work. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.

Please don't take it hard, as it's not you -- or your treatment of Kevin Smith -- it's me. I just need less. Less time driving to the airport; Allegiant will pick me up 10 minutes from my house whereas you required me to drive a minimum of 90 minutes to reach you. I need less time riding the parking lot shuttle, less time standing in the security line at the international airport where you're located, less time lining up in my designated slot to board. Oh, and less time scrambling to check in exactly 24 hours before flight time in order to make the A group.

(Which reminds me: I've always wondered who it was you were playing favorites with, who made it so that even though I checked in at the exact millisecond I was allowed, you granted me an A36 -- or worse! -- boarding pass. So maybe it is you, just a teensy eensy bit.)

But I won't hold that -- or the comment from the pilot on my last flight about how "gooood looooooking" the flight attendants were -- against you. Because despite a few questionable practices here and there, I hope we can still be friends, hope to still get together occassionally. For as wonderfully appealing as Allegiant is, they can't offer me everything: For one thing, they provide service from my town to Bubby's only twice a week and sometimes a long-distance grandma needs a little more flexibility than that. Those are the times, sweet Southwest, that I'll most treasure our long history and book some time aboard your wings.

Thank you, Southwest. I've been honored to be your passenger, to be part of your Rapid Rewards Club. And I hope you will, in return, honor the idea that the skies are indeed friendly, that you won't turn the other direction and pretend you don't see me when we pass one another as Allegiant carries me back and forth between the mountains and the desert, between my home and Bubby's.

You'll always hold a special place in my heart, Southwest. Don't ever forget that.

Friends forever,

Bubby's grandma, aka Rapid Rewards #248817951

Today's question:

What's your favorite airline and why?