Today was the start of a two-week vacation. A vacation desperately needed as I am IN A FUNK, downtrodden and mentally beat up. I have been dreaming of the moment when I step out onto the beach with my drink of choice and sink into a recliner and listen to the waves. If all had gone well, I would be doing that right now. But all has not gone well, and after six exasperating hours at the airport I returned home like a whipped dog, my tail between my legs.
We had to wake up at 4 am to catch the first flight and we got to the airport in good time. On the way, my husband pulled up his newest app that showed real-time changes to our reservation.
“UH-OH” he mumbled.
“This says our flight is 90 minutes late. We wont make the flight to Kawai if that is true.”
“Your app is stupid. It is 5 am and no bad weather. Why would it be so late?”
I made fun of his app the rest of the time.
The app was correct. The terminal departure board was not. It said “ON TIME”. So we wasted precious minutes waiting in the ticket line before being told we were going to have to be re-routed.
At the second counter, the agent obviously needed to find a new job. His customer service manner was as bad as some bedside physicians I have been forced to work with. He told us the only offering was TWO connecting flights that had a 6 hour layover, making our trip 18 hours long.
I saw red.
” I paid 7000.00 for an expedited trip to Kawai and you are telling me that instead of a 10 hour flight I will have to take three planes over 18 hours for the same [expletive] rate?”
“Well you are lucky to get on at all. That group over there wont leave until tomorrow.”
I gave him my best pissy look. “I don’t effing care about that group over there. Your company’s poor management IS. NOT. MY. PROBLEM. You had all night to bring in another crew if this crew need more rest time. I demand to have a lower airfare rate if I am going to have to travel for so long. The least you could do is have some customer service and get our bags on for free!”
Stiffly, “You will have to take that up with United.”
Liar. He could have looked for flights on another airline, he could have issued us vouchers for free meals. He could have done a lot but he didn’t care.
Then I remembered a phrase a friend of mine just sent to me. “Let go, or be dragged.” I could either allow this to set the tone for my vacation or shake it off. I chose to shake it off. Thank you Greg.
Ninety minutes later we were backing out of the terminal while they did the last safety checks. Then the engine powered down. Then the engine powered up. Then the engine powered down.
With a sinking heart, I knew there was a problem. And sure enough, after 30 minutes of “We have a failure of the de-icer on the right wing but we hope to resolve it quickly” they decided it could not be resolved, and like Jonah, we were spit back into the terminal.
Now we weren’t going to make our re-issued flight.
I JUMPED into line and I was appalled at the horrible customer service. One would think that they would bring extra ticketing agents when an entire plane full of people were going to be stranded from connecting flights, but no, the two agents at the desk plodded along as if nothing unusual were happening. I finally got to an agent. And waited for an hour at the desk while he tried to find other flights, messed up our tickets, had to call their IS department to fix his errors and then waited while he got a whole different flight checked onto their plane. Still no extra agents to help.
But he was nice and sympathetic, so unlike the —–head who changed our first set of flights, I did not want to wrap my hands around his throat. And he tried to get us an upgrade to our seats, but even that was full. In the end we had a choice to take the flight and be put up at a hotel or go back home and take a better flight tomorrow. Brent and I looked at each other and with one voice said, “GO HOME”. At least tomorrow we have free food for the flight, courtesy of our sympathetic agent.
The one caveat: I was able to retrieve my bags, so they at least are not lost in the mysterious world of airline baggage. Give thanks for the little things.
Of course, I am getting eff’d from my timeshare, as I lose this day, and I had to cancel and re-issue my rental car, which has tacked on new charges. Any chance to screw the customer out of more money.
Breathe. Breathe. “Let go, or be dragged.”