We're Julie & Kate, wedding/portrait photographers in San Diego. We know that running your own business can be both lonely & confusing, so in 2015 we decided to launch a podcast to combat that! Our candid, fun conversations will keep you company while driving to shoots or editing photos, and our goal is to feel like your best friends
She ran into a slew of issues while traveling for a wedding and she spills the beans with us! We’ve picked some of our favorite “lessons learned” and shared them below. Be sure to listen to the episode to hear the whole story!
The thought of being a destination wedding photographer is a DREAM. You get to travel around the world on other peoples’ dimes, and you get to photograph weddings in unique and picturesque destinations. However, travel can be anxiety-inducing even when you’re doing it for fun! When you’re doing it for work, it can be even more-so. Sometimes you can do everything right, and things still go wrong.
Here is a quick recap before we get into lessons learned. Long story short, told by Julie:
American Airlines Flight 4899, Operated by Piedmont Airlines as American Eagle
CLT to ROA
Depart: 7:24 AM
Arrive: 8:35 AM
Let’s start by saying that the first flight from SD was oversold AND there were tailwinds so right off the bat they had to get 20 volunteers to take a later flight which cause a bit of panic for many of the passengers already which made for a delayed flight.
Once I arrived to Charlotte, NC, and about to take a seat on my hopper American Airlines plane, I walked onto the aircraft with my carryon and the flight attendant told me that I would need to check my bag. Mind you, the bag was already in the space above the seat which fit with room to spare so I was confused that A. nobody told me when my ticket was scanned going onto the plane and B. it fit fine. I kindly asked to speak to a manager in a quiet voice because I didn’t want other passengers to hear our conversation about the contents of my bag. She said no, you need to check you bag. I asked one more time for a manager and the pilot of the aircraft, a woman if that makes a difference, turned to me out of the cockpit and said, I am in charge and you need to get off my aircraft. I shut down. Said OK, thank you and I turned around, carry on in hand and walked down the airplane stairs trying to hold back tears in my eyes and went out to see if I could switch some of my gear from my carry on to a smaller bag that would fit under the seat. I bring a small bag with me always in case something like this happens. But when I asked them how much time I had, they said as they were shutting the door, “I’m sorry, the gate is shut.”
The pilot and the airline staff were incredibly rude and made me feel like I was committing a crime. They forced me off the plane by giving me an ultimatum. My bag measurements were according to size and weight AND I called the airline prior to my flight to ensure that both flights were ok to have a carry on. I have flown on this type aircraft previously with no troubles and American is the first I’ve ever had an issue with. Had the aircraft bag guidelines online or the person that I spoke with on the phone told me this wasn’t allowed on this airline, I would of easily and happily booked a different flight with one of my chosen airlines. I only chose American Airlines because it was one of the few that flew directly into the small Virginia town of Roanoke. I would of flew Southwest or Delta direct from San Diego to Charlotte and rented a car (which is what I had to do once I wasn’t allowed on the plane) which would of been faster, cheaper and with my desired airlines.
It’s not that I didn’t want to check or valet my bag, it was that I can’t – my job as a destination wedding photographer is to show up with working gear. When I put my equipment in the hands of the baggage handlers (you know what I’m talking about and how they are not gentle on luggage), I put myself gear at risk of being damaged or broken. Yes, I do have insurance on all of my gear and you should too, but I don’t have time to make a claim and get replacement gear prior to shooting my destination wedding. That is why I need my equipment with me at all times. I’d rather be known as the photographer that gets kicked off the plane, rents a car and gets to the wedding as opposed to the photographer that shows up with broken gear or much worse without gear.
After roughly 5 hours on the phone with customer service and management, they placed the blame on my because I volunteered to get off the plane and miss my flight. We all know that I did not volunteer to do this, I was just trying to avoid being the next viral airline horror story that we all watch on the news because someone was being unruly on the plane.
I did file a formal complaint which was mailed in roughly 2 weeks following my flight. But I have yet to hear back from them and it has been roughly 3 months. To end this long by mighty story, the last person I spoke with in customer service was on my side and she said… Go on social media, they respond fastest and best on social.
Well, here I am… Talking about what I learned…
Some of these we already knew, and they saved Julie from even more trouble. Others were lessons learned!
There was some positive that came with this experience, the destination wedding went flawlessly despite the crazy travel issues. BIG WIN!
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