Let Go….Or Be Dragged

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.

He sucks.

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.

Eff, Eff,Eff,Eff

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.”


4 comments on “Let Go….Or Be Dragged

  1. I’m really, really, really sympathetic with your situation. Has happened to me too, in trying to get from one part of the globe to another. But I’ll never forget a story a man told me, while we were waiting in a VERY long line (welcome to Israel) where we were being issued our documents and various vouchers in Hebrew so we had no idea what they were for (we had just made Aliyah, which means we are Jews who have chosen to make the Land of Israel our home). Since we had no choice but to stand in this line, we exchanged our stories for why we made this momentous choice.

    All of this couple’s (grown) children already lived in Israel and were constantly bugging their parents to move there. The parents were constantly coming up with reasons why they couldn’t yet: they wanted to put more money into their retirement plans, they wanted to redecorate their apartment so it would be worth more, etc. etc.

    This man lived in Westchester and worked in New York City. He took the commuter train to work. One day he was on the train to work and a tree had fallen across the tracks, and it took an hour for the work crew to cut it up and get the train back on its way. He was furious. He would be late to work, and he had an important meeting.

    He caught the subway from the train station. Just as he was exiting the underground subway stop, the second plane hit. Right where his office used to be. It was 9/11, and that tree saved his life.

    At that moment he realized that nothing is permanent, that God works in miraculous ways, that God had a plan for him that played itself out in an open miracle that day.

    He called his wife to let her know he was OK, and they simultaneously agreed that they would start moving toward making Aliyah.

    2005, and I am having a slice of pizza in what is rumored to be Jerusalem’s best pizza parlor. I notice a framed poster on the wall. It is the Twin Towers, “before.” I asked the pizza man why he had that poster up. He said, “to remind myself that nothing is permanent, and that living in New York is just as dangerous as living in Israel.”

    2007, and it is two days before I made Aliyah. It was my son’s birthday, so I brought him to New York to hang out before I left. He was terrified about my safety, going to live in Israel.

    I booked a hotel on Hotwire. We knew it was in Manhattan, but we didn’t know where. It turned out to be the hotel that had a whole side blown off it when the Towers went up. It had been repaired, and our room was in the repaired part. Our room had floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with a little cute table in front. Looking down into The Hole, which had not yet been repaired. We were both, of course, shaken by the sight, but it helped him understand that the idea of safety and permanence are entirely relative.

    So when my travel plans get totally f*cked and the ticket agent is an ass, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, I think of these things and how I may be the very one who, by my inconvenience and minor suffering, might be the card that prevents the larger house from coming down. Somehow God is using me to prevent a disaster. Or, alternatively, my being prevented from carrying out my well-crafted plans might be saving me from some disaster, like the man I met in the Aliyah line.

    These things may or may not be true, but they help me get through the annoying grrrrr travel derailments. I hope your vacation turns out to be loads better than you imagined!

  2. What a truly awful set of circumstances Lori. I agree there are times you have to let go or be dragged down but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t complain to the airline about the poor service of their staff,as well as praise the good.
    I hope everything goes well as soon as you’re back on track.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxxx

  3. Truly unbelievable service. A full complaint should give you some kind of credit or compensation. At the worst, you get to vent .. and let go!

    • Had issues coming back as well! One flight 2 hours late. Will try and avoid United next time! I should complain, as I lost a time share day due to the flight issues, but I am no longer ticked off enough to fight. So, letting go!

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