I’m mad as hell and there aint nothing I can do about it! Or is there…After contemplating several ways to satisfy my anger I’ve decided the best recourse I have is to share my story far and wide like an old biddy at a quilting bee.
This morning I left my house, baby and suitcase in tow, and headed for the airport. As my husband and I entered the ticketing area of the airport we noticed the ticketing line was extremely long though it appeared to be moving quickly. The line seemed to be full of beer-bellied, baseball-capped, 40 something men. Suddenly I remembered my neighbor saying something about Nascar weekend a few days ago. No worries, I thought to myself, I’ve got my seat assignment and I’m over an hour early for my flight so I should be fine.
We walk up to the end of the check-in line to wait our turn and the line does move rather quickly. After the attendant checks my bags and hands me back my ticket the she says, “Just go up to the gate counter and get your seat assignment. Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll get on the flight.”
Hmmm, I think to myself. Why would I be worried? I bought my ticket from an on-line travel website weeks ago. The airline was America West and I was assigned a seat at the time I purchased it. I had decided to make the trip up to Washington so that I could spend some time with my extremely ill father and to let him get to know my baby a little bit more.
As we reach the security check point my husband kisses my daughter and me and we part ways. After getting through the mammoth security lines I head over to the gate counter. I say to the lady at the gate, “Hi, I was told that I needed to get a seat assignment at the gate.”
She gets my name and says, “Have a seat. We’ll call you in a few minutes.”
So I sit…and I sit…and I sit. The plane begins pre-boarding and the boarding attendant raises her voice and says to me, “Do you need to pre-board?”
I reply, “I don’t have a seat assignment.”
She’s says, “Oh” and moves on to the next customer. As they are boarding the plane the attendants ask for volunteers to take a later flight that will land in Seattle at 2:30 am, after you spend several hours in the Las Vegas airport. That’s going to be fun with a baby. Another perk they’re willing to throw in is a $300 travel voucher so you can travel on their lovely airline at a later date. No thanks!
Eventually the plane is boarded and the gate counter is surrounded by angry passengers. I call my husband to let him know to come and get me. As we talk he says, “You better make sure to get your bags.”
I run up to the counter and say, “I need my bags!”
The counter lady looks at me and says, “Your bags are on the plane. You can get them in Seattle.” Oh great, now my clothing, toiletries, and most importantly my baby’s car seat are on their way to the Northwest.
At this point I’ve lost it. I can tell all of the other passengers think I’m a lunatic over by the wall crying my eyes out. Actually, I take that back. There were quite a few who came up and asked if I needed help. Some of them said, “You make sure this airline takes care of you!” Those passengers were actually very comforting.
Eventually it’s my turn and the counter lady says, “Do you want a later flight and a $400 voucher or cash back for $277 (which would not fully reimburse me after airport taxes and such)?
I look at her and say, “I want the first flight out of here on any airline and I want it to be first class.”
She says, “We’ve been calling all morning and there are no available flights out of Phoenix today. Do you want the voucher or your money back?”
I reply, “I want my money back, I want the voucher, and I want the next available first class seat out of here.”
“We can’t do that,” she replies.
Of course I’ve already asked for the supervisor or anyone higher than the lady I’m talking to. Wouldn’t you know it she was the highest ranking person available at the time? Eventually I agree to take the travel voucher and the ticket for the next day.
As she is filling out my paperwork I ask, “If you guys knew you were so overbooked than why wouldn’t you call me this morning to warn me about this? I would liked to have known this before I made the 45 minute drive, checked my luggage, and stood in hellacious security lines.”
She then goes through some asinine explanation and I finally say, “Just zip it and give me my stuff.” (I’m not proud of this, but you have to admit it is a little funny)
After this woman finds out that I’m going to visit with my ailing father she does become softer towards me and I start to calm down. To their credit America West did eventually manage to come up with a car seat for my daughter.
Honestly, I would hate to have their job and I know I could have handled this in a more Christ-like way. I just felt powerless in the situation and frankly, ripped off too. Sometimes those feelings bring out the jackass in me.
Well, I’m off. I must go and purchase some new make-up, a toothbrush, contact solution, and anything else that may be vacationing in Seattle at the moment.