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The Great White North – Tips 3, Part 2

January 3, 2008

Continued from  The Great White North – Tips 3, Part 1

Yeah, right. My nice day was going down the tubes… fast.

I hauled my bags back up to the Air Canada counter and stood in line…. again. It was becoming very tedious and I was starting to stress the meeting the next morning. I calculated what time my flight would actually arrive in Montreal and felt every minute of sleep deprivation I would surely have if we didn’t get this straightened out right away. I tapped my foot as I stood. When I finally reached the front of the line–another 30 minutes later–the agent called me up. I stepped forward, passport and e-ticket in hand.

At the very same time, a lovely girl from somewhere across the pond and her boyfriend stepped up to the Lufthansa First Class counter.

“Excuse me!” the girl interrupted, slapping her ticket onto the counter. “We are first class. We need to check in.” She had a thick accent, even thicker perfume, and an attitude that filled all areas surrounding the ticket counter that weren’t already infiltrated by her perfume.

“Lufthansa does not have a First Class, only Business Class,” the agent replied. “You need to be in that line over there.” She pointed to a long line to the left of First Class Attitude Girl and her boyfriend.

First Class Attitude and her boyfriend weren’t having it. “We ARE first class,” she yelled at the agent. “We paid for first class and I have the golden card!”

I wondered what the golden card might be, perhaps something to do with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while simultaneously thinking of ways I might beat her about the head and shoulders with it, or how well it would fit up her nose.

I tapped the edge of my passport on the counter and wondered if this girl’s Daddy might be the Sultan of Brunai or some other person with gobs of money. She reminded me very much of a three-year-old having a wicked temper tantrum and I thought a good time out, or perhaps even a little swat on the rear, might cool her jets. But alas, I was not her mother… just another passenger trying to get on a flying tin can. I rolled my eyes at her and turned away until the agent had finished checking her and the boyfriend in.

I felt my blood pressure rise as I realized that I was getting dangerously close to missing my second flight to Chicago.

“I’m so sorry,” the agent apologized as she stepped back over into my just-a-peon line. “How may I help you?”

I explained my plight to her and she hemmed and hawed as she looked up the flight to Montreal. “Ah, yes,” she mumbled as she looked at something on the screen. “The Montreal flight has been cancelled due to weather. There’s a huge noreaster and they’re getting lots of snow.”

“Is the weather in Chicago or Montreal?” I asked, thinking that maybe she could re-route me if Chicago was the problem.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Would you like me to take a look?”

“No, I’d like you to let me miss my second flight to Chicago while you spend the afternoon helping people with golden tickets or golden cards or whatever else they have that makes them oodles more special than me so I can miss my business meeting in the morning because you’re all a bunch of yahoos,” I thought, while my lips said, “Yes, please.”

She frowned and completely sidestepped the weather question. “I see that your flight to Chicago is with United,” she said. “I can’t rebook until they release that flight.”

“And how do I get them to release that flight?” I asked, dreading the answer.

“You’ll have to go to their ticket counter and have an agent there do it,” she said.

I counted to ten in my head again and stifled the urge to scream in frustration. I snatched the handle of my suitcase, and headed back in the direction of the United counter. The agent called to me as I headed away, “Make sure you get a voucher from them… signed… showing that they released the flight.” I put my hand in the air in the “talk to the hand” or “I’m acknowledging that you’re talking to me but I’m not turning around” way, and kept going.

I stopped at a seating area, dropped my backpack and purse in a neighboring seat, dug out my Blackberry and called my travel agent. You know, the corporate agent? The one with the after-hours emergency number? It was, after all, a Sunday.

I got a very nice gentleman on the phone and explained my situation. He seemed to be understanding and was happy to try to help me with rebooking… just as soon as he could get through to Air Canada, which was currently “experiencing a larger than average call volume,” leaving him with an estimated wait time of 45 minutes. Absolutely outstanding. He was able to look at my flight, though and he could see that I was going to miss my flight to Chicago.

Dreaded words came across the telephone line. “I can’t do anything for you until that flight is released by United.”

Ugh. My brilliant plan to unload this mess on the travel agent, the one we paid to handle these kinds of things, was not working to my satisfaction.

“Just swing by the counter,” he said, “And have them release it. Then give us a call right back and we’ll rebook you. We’ll get it all worked out.”

He sounded so cheerful. I figured he had never in his life set foot on an airplane, nor had he ever gone through this kind of run-around. He couldn’t have if he was using verbiage like “swing by the counter.”

I loaded myself up again with what now felt like fifteen thousand pounds of luggage, backpack and purse, and headed into yet another sea of people. I wondered how many folks, by this time, had actually gotten on a plane in my fair city and had already reached their destinations, while I could not get anywhere.

To be continued…

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2008 3:56 pm

    Yahoos and Golden Card Attitude Girl – geesh. How’s your blood pressure, girl? We can’t wait till you come back….

  2. January 3, 2008 8:01 pm

    Wow — I can seriously empathize with you. I’ve been there a thousand times. I remember travelling right after 9/11 and the HOURS and HOURS of wait times before security. It was insane. Here’s hoping for a better travel day!

  3. Lynda permalink
    January 4, 2008 10:30 am

    Wow, and GRRRRRRRRRR. I’m amazed at your patience and composure at this stage of the game. I’m making a note to NEVER fly to Canada for any reason whatsoever.

  4. tulips4me permalink
    January 4, 2008 12:25 pm

    I am pretty sure that I would have called my huuby by now and told him to come back and get me because I just wasn’t gonna go at all!!! 🙂

  5. January 4, 2008 9:17 pm

    Good grief! I’m starting to get aggravated just reading this…

  6. January 9, 2008 5:13 pm

    If I knew your name and address I’d ship you my Prilosec. You obviously need it more than me right now. Safe (and Smooth) travels to you!

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  1. The Great White North - Tips 3, Part 3 « In this house, I’m the Mama…

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