Sometimes, you reach your breaking point.
My breaking point came in T2 at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport as I stared down the barrel of a ten-hour layover with no lounge access. This was after a schedule change and seating change on my outbound flight from JFK to Santiago the night before in an attempt to make it to Iguazu Falls.
At this point, I’d been traveling for over 24 hours.
I hadn’t slept.
And I still had over 12 hours left to go, culminating in a border crossing between Brazil and Argentina at the un-Godly hour of 3am.
That was it — I’d had enough. So, I decided to throw in the towel, cut my losses and head home.
I scoured the Internet from the domestic terminal at GRU looking for award flight availability back home, and found some viable options. I was reluctant to blow miles on a trip home, but was resigned to do so until I had a Facebook chat conversation with a friend who works for Delta. He graciously offered me a buddy pass to get me back to the States that evening. The best part about it?
It was in business class. And there was plenty of non-rev space available open that evening. I took my friend up on his offer, paid some nominal fees and taxes, and I appeared on the stand-by list for DL 472 to JFK — a flight that would sent me right back to the airport I’d departed less than 24 hours before.
I arrived at the gate about an hour prior to departure and let the gate agent know I was there, per instructions from my friend. After all revenue passengers had boarded, my name was called and the gate agent handed me a boarding ticket for seat 6B, in business class! I was going home…