Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Airline Hijinks

Those of you fortunate enough not to be travelling by air lately should pay close attention to the latest woes of these poor travelers.

The trip to the Land O' Green was planned some time ago, and tickets on our friendly local air carrier (name withheld to protect the guilty, but rhymes with belta ) were dutifully purchased. Plans were carefully made, schedules checked, and bags were packed. In this modern age, one can actually get seat assignments from the comfort of one's home, and print them out wasting your own ink instead of the airlines. Even international! This of course is ho-hum to many of you, but for the novices -- pay close attention.

Entering the secret and arcane web portal, we applied the magic words to acquire our coveted seat assignments and boarding passes. Boing. Boing. Out they come. Oops, there seems to be a problem. One of the flights is different than the one we booked. And it is conveniently scheduled to arrive at JFK 2 hours after our flight to Dublin leaves without us.

Humm. Click, click. Can't figure this one out. Oh well, that's what 800 numbers are for. Hello? Please press 1 for ... 2.. press. 99 to repeat 1 through 98.., press, wait ...... Your call is important to us so just wait, we'll get to you when we feel like it.

We seem to have a problem with our tickets that we were so careful to book so carefully.
Oh, there's no problem, we cancelled that flight and rebooked you.
But you rebooked us so we would miss our international flight, and by the way no one told us the flight was cancelled.
Oh, you would have found out when you got to the airport.
You mean the one where our plane left without us?
Well .... Yes.

Needless to say, no -- to say, we were now scrambling to find a plane that could get us from the tiny 10 flight Pensacola airport to JFK tomorrow morning with all the flights full. Eventually a route through Disneyland Orlando was found that got us to JFK in time to catch our Dublin flight. Unfortunately, the previously made cancellation removed us from the Dublin flight since we would arrive too late to catch it, and why waste those seats. We then received what is know euphemistically as a seat request. For the uninitiated, this is a useless piece of paper that looks enough like a boarding pass to get you past TSA, but means you don't have a seat.l

On arrival at JFK (p.s. Avoid Orlando like the plague if you can't stand kids, and if you do, their mouse ears, glazed eyes and drooling will permanently cure you of that) by luck of the draw, Mo got a seat, next to Robyn no less, and Augie got to keep his seat request.

Boarding time, no seat for Augie. Finally a supervisor appears and in despairation, assigns one of the last seats, and you'd think it was his from the way he was acting. But it turns out that it is in the coveted ZONE ONE, and Augie boards ahead of everyone else. Sooo... You'd think this was a happy ending, it was sort of, but it was minutes from total airline purgatory.

Lesson to learn, as the military says -- don't trust the airlines, and do confirm your ticket and seat a couple of days in advance.

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