Now I really should be spending my time writing my novel or working on my textbook, but I wanted to post this while it was still fresh in my mind.
Last week I made a few posts about my recent trip, and how it pays to keep your cool and be nice to the airline reps. This post is about how those reps can make your day…or make your day hell.
In September of 2000 my wife and I took a trip to our favorite Caribbean island. It was our first trip there in 10 years without the kids. Everything was perfect. On our last day we checked out of the hotel, left the car in the airport parking lot with the keys in the glove compartment (how's that for security?), and checked in for our flight. We boarded, the plane (a prop job) taxied down the runway and stopped. We were waiting about 10 minutes and it wasn't do to air traffic issues…there were only 2 flights a day in and out of that airport. Eventually, the pilot announced there was an equipment malfunction and the flight would have to be cancelled. They needed to fly in parts from San Juan.
So, we went back to the terminal, reclaimed the luggage, and queued up to wait and see what the airline is going to do. Of course, there are always the requisite A-holes bitchin' and moanin' about the situation, and this was no exception. They hadn't made any announcements yet, so I got out of line and went up to talk with the airline rep. She was busy trying to placate a rude New Yawka bitch and her snotty daughter. They were bitchin' and moanin' personified, and they began to sling personal insults at the poor island girl.
Bitch: "Ya know, we come heeya several toymes a yeeah. Ow-er money pays faw yaw salree. I expect betta treetment dan dis."
Rep: "Mam, we're working on seeing what we can do. As soon as I know something I'll let you know."
Bitch: "We ah also eeleet frequent flyuhs, so we expect to get an upgrade. That's the least you can do faw ow-wer troubles."
Rep: "We're working on it mam."
Snotty Daughter (stomping her feet): "Mommy? Mommy? I'm going to miss moy appointment with Doctah Kleinfeld. Doesn't that idiot understand he's the best awthodontist in New Yawk. It's gonna' take us two months to get anutha appointment with him. God I hate huh."
Bitch: "Oh my gawd, I fawgot about dat."
Snotty Daughter: "Stupid imbecile prawbably doesn't even know what an awthodontist is."
I waited for the bitch to stop bitching, and explained to the rep that I understood it's not her fault. And, if it made logistics any easier, I said that my wife and I would be okay with staying on the island another night. I also schmoozed her a little bit to try and make up for the crap she had to take from those A-holes. She smiled and thanked me...and genuinely seemed to appreciate my effort.
Ultimately, the airline decided to ferry us to another island where we would catch a plane to San Juan, then overnight us in San Juan and fly us to New York the next day. From New York my wife and I would then catch a flight home. Not the most direct route, but whaddya' gonna' do.
The rep called each person's name and handed them tickets and meal vouchers. When I went up to get ours, the rep smiled and thanked me for being so patient. Then she said, in a voice just loud enough for the A-holes to hear, "And we've got you and your wife going back first class."
You can imagine how the shit hit the fan when Ms. Bitch heard that. Of course, I just had to rub it in a little and mentioned that I wasn't even an elite frequent flyer on that airline...at which point I quickly learned a few curse words I hadn't heard before and became the newest enemy of Ms. Bitch and Snotty Daughter.
Ah, but it gets even better. San Juan was apparently a hub for passengers traveling to New York from many Latin American and Caribbean countries, so the plane was absolutely full on the San Juan to New York leg. Now, I'm sure everyone has seen at least one movie with a scene from a third world country…a scene that involves a bus packed with locals, food, chickens, pigs, etc. Hold that vision for a second. The aircraft on this leg was a DC-10…a very large plane with 8-10 seats in the middle. Guess where Ms. Bitch and Snotty Daughter were seated? Yep, right smack in the middle of the middle…worst seats on the plane. Now this occurred before 9/11 when there weren't many restrictions on what you could carry aboard...so about the only things missing were the pigs and chickens.
I had to give her credit for persistence if nothing else. Ms. Bitch refused to go down without a fight. Before we took off and several times during the flight she complained to the first class flight attendants that she and Snotty Daughter should be put in first class and we should be moved back to cattle class because they were elite flyers and we weren't.
We just smiled at each other and enjoyed our champagne. As my wife likes to say..."what goes around, comes around."