Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Plea for Airline Miles/Reward Credits

UPDATE******** CHANGE OF PLANS - SEE JUNE 23 POST ***********

Because we're going to Salt Lake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were floored - positively shocked - to get the approval letter yesterday. Salt Lake City is home to THE most experienced early intervention doctor. We are so blessed to be invited to his practice.

While there are charity organizations like Angel Flights that transport patients, they only allow for one parent to accompany the child. I'm sure you can understand the concern with having your child undergoing medical treatment and not being able to both be there should something arise. Also, these planes are often small, seating only two people and their luggage. One such flight was in the news this week when it crashed, killing a two year old obtaining a similar treatment on her legs at an out of state hospital.

While we are blessed to typically have the means to be able to pay for a Southwest flight, there are huge penalties when a flight is changed at the last minute. Many times we cannot book the flight until we know that the OR date is firm, sometimes even not knowing if he will outgrow a cast until the week it is suddenly too small. Also, if he has an anesthesia reaction, we may be required to stay an additional day in the hospital. Missing a flight like that would require us to upgrade a flight to premium, costing upwards of $600 - $800 for the change. Also, while Jackson can technically fly free until his birthday, that is next month. So, we will need 3 seats per visit, round trip.

Flying to and from Salt Lake, thankfully, is a plentiful thing on airlines such as American and Southwest. Southwest's Rapid Rewards flights are transferrable and there are no penalties. They can be booked on any flight, there are no blackouts or restrictions, and we can change the flight up to the day of.

These are precious to us and provide far more than the worth of the flight. I know some of you may not travel often, but for those who do - would you please consider signing up for a free Rapid Rewards account and flying Southwest? It will save your company/client money because the flights are so much more affordable, and you can obtain a free flight just by taking 8 round trips.

Similarly, if anyone has existing reward flights or even miles from another carrier, those would be so greatly appreciated. As Jackson turns two, and his spine becomes less flexible and his growth slows, we are coming upon a very difficult time where every day, every cast is precious. Each one must be applied at the very best, most experienced facility, by the most experienced person or we risk not only not having correction, but also having him regress further like he has. This is buying our child valuable time to grow and have his heart and lungs function properly - it is literally adding years to his life.

Please let us know if there is anything you are able to do. We are also always in need of hotel room loyalty points/rewards. Ronald McDonald House is a fantastic charity, but they cannot guarantee a room. They put you on a waiting list and will let you know if a bed is available the day of your visit. Naturally, we cannot wait until that day to know if there will be a place to sleep, so we have to book rooms regardless, and, again, there are penalties for last minute changes and cancellations.

And, always, thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts along this ever-changing journey.

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