When all hope was lost, God stepped in with a miracle that still makes me smile when I think back upon that entire day and everything that led to us landing in Tallahassee on our scheduled flight, 10 minutes early with our luggage at baggage claim!
First off, you must know that I pray each time I travel by airplane. Praying for on-time flights, safe flights with no turbulence and prayers for pilots, flight attendants and all people onboard my plane. I had traveled with my husband and solo with no glitches for a couple years now, like so smooth, I knew God had a hand in it. I was grateful and thankful, but as it always does, time moved on.
However, I had also been praying for months that my husband would see God’s love and grace in our lives through some incident that the only explanation would be GOD.
God’s goal is that he wants to reveal Himself through you and me. He wants us to succeed and wants us to experience His love every day. And on Tuesday, September 5th, 2023, God showed me that though things don’t go the way we want them to, His plan is always greater than ours!
Here is our timeline for the day that God’s glory shined upon us!
8:05AM I received a text that my 1:15pm Delta flight out of Austin, Texas was delayed until 3:00pm [Sketchy #1] which would cause us to have a very short layover in Atlanta to catch our next flight to Tallahassee that departed at 6:56pm.
I looked at suggested options for changing our flight, but together with my husband, we decided that we would wait to change flights until we got to the airport.
8:12AM In the meantime, I text my family, “Need all the prayers. Flight out of Austin delayed 2 hours. Specific prayer requests: Flight leaves Austin at 3pm and gets in early to Atlanta. And arrival & departure gates in Atlanta are moved to the same terminal.” The power of prayer is incredible, but also 2 or more standing in agreement holds more weight and authority. And I have learned through experience with God that you need to be very specific.
9:00AM I had noticed one flight option leaving at 10:45AM to Cincinnati, then to Atlanta that would allow us to catch the flight home to Tallahassee. So, I quickly texted my Sister-in-law who was dropping off my nephew at school for a ride to the airport to attempt to make a 10:45AM departure, which I knew would be cutting it close, because I would need to check my luggage since I already had 2 carry-ons.
9:50AM We arrived at Austin Airport and I knew we wouldn’t make it through bag check & security for the 10:45AM flight, so we waited in line to see a Delta agent. A kind woman assisted us, but wouldn’t let me change our flight, because with the delay until 3pm, she said that 25 minutes between flights would be enough time to reach our connection. I asked if she could tell me why our flight was delayed, she claimed that they had to change planes and told me that it would take off on time. [Sketchy #2]
At this point, I’m slightly annoyed that I didn’t get my way. She could have booked us on the last flight 11PM out of Atlanta to Tallahassee to ensure we had seats home that night.
We spent the next few hours working and reading in the airport. We found some ridiculously expensive lunch around 12:30pm.
1:42PM I received texts from Delta, “We’re sorry for the delay. Please accept your meal vouchers.” [Sketchy #3] I immediately think our flight is going to get cancelled, because Delta never gives away free vouchers! And thanks Delta, for waiting until after lunch time to give us food vouchers!
2:00PM As our departure time got closer, they changed our boarding gate 3 times [Sketchy #4], and we ended up at Gate 2. As we were sitting there, the same Delta agent that checked us in and wouldn’t change our flight came walking up to open the Gate and board our flight. I kind of smiled then thinking this never happens in large airports, so something is up!
2:20PM Our Delta Agent announces that our airplane is in Austin and is being towed to our gate from the hanger. [Sketchy #5] That it should only be 10-15 minutes, then we would quickly board and depart at 3pm. But I’m looking around and notice that there are no pilots or flight attendants waiting to board that airplane to quickly get us ready to depart. [Sketchy #6]
2:45PM There was finally no line to talk to the Delta Agent, it was obvious to me, there was no plane coming. So, I went to chat with the same Agent that told me we would be departing on time when she checked us in at 10AM.
I politely say, “it doesn’t appear that our flight will be taking off at 3pm, can you please check the 11pm flight from Atlanta to Tallahassee to see if there are 2 seats available?” At that moment, another Delta Agent comes up and whispers in her ear, “your flight just got delayed to 4:30pm”. My Delta Agent then begins looking at my options, because now we would definitely miss our 6:56PM connection.
By the way, Delta sent additional food vouchers at 3:03PM. [Sketchy #7]
The Delta Agent tells me that she is sorry, but there are no seats available on the last Tallahassee flight and she would have to book us on the 8:32AM flight home the NEXT MORNING! She asks if we are from Austin, NO, and then tells us she recommends getting halfway home, then catching the flight the next morning. We agree! Then she realizes there is another flight currently boarding Gate 9 departing Austin at 3:28PM. She calls that gate agent to see if she can fit us on that plane. She immediately rebooks us on the 3:28PM Austin flight to Atlanta but says we will still miss our connection and books us on the 8:32AM flight to Tallahassee the following day. Their system wouldn’t even allow our original connection because of the limited amount of time between arrival and departure. Last thing she tells me, ask a Delta agent to book you a hotel when you get to Atlanta.
3:21PM We boarded the 3:28PM Delta flight that was scheduled to arrive in Atlanta at 6:45PM, leaving us little to no time to catch our connection that was still departing on time at 6:56PM.
Our flight heads to the runway and I begin conversing with God. I was so confused, thinking I had prayed the same way I always do, but this time nothing seemed to go our way. It dawns on me that my ways are not God’s ways and I have this strong feeling that we were somehow going to make it home to Tallahassee that night.
I began praying that our flight would somehow arrive early in Atlanta. I go to Delta.com to check our arrival and departure gates and realize that BOTH GATES are now in the SAME TERMINAL AND IF WE ARRIVE EARLY, there was a slim chance to catch our original connecting flight home. More prayers and conversation occur with me then contemplating that this could have been God’s plan all along.
6:28PM Our airplane lands on the Atlanta runway 17 minutes early! I began mentally preparing my husband that we were going to have to ask people to allow us to move forward from the back of the airplane (which he would never do without me), and to be ready to run to the left from Gate D24 to Gate D44. Nothing against my husband, he is just extremely laid back and just lets things happen, which couldn’t be more different than me! 😊
6:36PM The airplane stops at Gate D24, people start moving around, and I immediately grab my bags and start politely asking people to let us pass, because our flight departs in 15 minutes. People look at me, like I’m crazy (who cares) and my husband is behind me saying, “sorry, but I’m with her”. I make it about halfway from our seats toward the front of the plane. A young woman was in front of me and didn’t have anywhere to go. I began praying, asking the Lord to help everyone grab bags and de-plane as fast as humanly possible. Then literally the row in front of this young woman are 3 elderly people that of course, she lets get up and get their bags. I laugh to myself and hear inside of me, “Patience, I’ve got this.” They very slowly get off the airplane and enter the jetway, where I quickly slide around them and begin running with my heavy backpack and heavy large purse. I don’t even bother to look for my husband, because I’m making that airplane…in his mind, he thought I could hold the plane, I explained later that they don’t do that.
6:48PM I get to Gate D44 and the boarding door is closed with no gate agent. I feel so deflated. There were a few people standing around, and I distinctly remember one woman looked directly at me and said, “She is coming back, you made it.” In shock, I’m like, “The plane is still here? The gate agent will be back. What is going on?!”
Notice that Delta claims boarding ends 15 minutes prior to departure!!
The Delta Gate Agent finally opens the boarding door, and another Delta employee quickly tells her more people need to get on board.
Finally, I look behind me as my husband is just now arriving, because he wouldn’t ask the 3 elderly people to let him by on the jetway.
Then I must explain to the Gate Agent that this was our original flight, but we had been rebooked, so my Delta app no longer had our boarding passes. She requested our driver’s licenses and then printed our original boarding passes, and we walked down the jetway to board our original flight home to Tallahassee!!! Words cannot describe the incredible emotions that flowed through me at that moment! There would be no night in a cheap Atlanta hotel, then up early to the mess of Atlanta airport security.
As I sat in my seat, slightly tearing up, while thanking and praising God, I thought back over the entire day and each thing that had occurred in order to get us on that original flight home. Then I remembered my specific prayer requests that I sent to my family.
“Need all the prayers. Flight out of Austin delayed 2 hours. Specific prayer requests: Flight leaves Austin at 3pm and gets in early to Atlanta. And arrival & departure gates in Atlanta are moved to the same terminal.”
God had put us on another 3 o’clock (be it 3:28pm) flight, that arrived early in Atlanta AND because we had changed flights, the arrival and departure gates were then BOTH in Terminal D!!!
In utter amazement, I began crazy texting my family about how every prayer request came to be and showing my husband my initial text to my family.
Then I got a Delta message saying that our luggage had been loaded on the airplane with us to Tallahassee!! Which if you have ever run to your connecting flight, you know it does NOT happen!!
7:58PM Our Delta flight landed 10 minutes EARLY in Tallahassee. It seemed unreal to be at home with our luggage before we were initially scheduled!!! More praising & thanking the Lord for His hand in every aspect of our day! I know now that God was teaching me to trust in His ways and not my own, but also answering my prayer of showing my husband the goodness, grace & glory of our Heavenly Father!
The icing on the cake came when I looked at my luggage and realized the first Delta Agent (the one who played the largest role in our day) put an expedited rush tag on our luggage, because I had initially worried that we would miss our connection. I wish I knew her name so that I could thank her for doing exactly as God had planned throughout the entire day!
I will never forget this day. Experiencing the love of God and having Him teach us through a journey of obstacles was pure joy!
God wants us to participate with Him in our journey, always conversing with Him through good times and bad. Remembering that God’s will for our lives, not our own, should be our ultimate goal. And choosing to let God’s will unfold in your lives will not only bring us closer to God but will release His never-ending love upon us! And that, after all, is what our soul constantly desires to experience in full.
May God richly bless you and ignite a new hope in you that His Glory and His Will dramatically unfold in your life!
BY THE WAY, all my “SKETCHY notes” led to our original flight out of Austin, getting further delayed to 7:30AM the next morning and then CANCELLED completely!!