Air rage

About 26 hours ago I sat down at my departure gate at the Toronto airport, feeling good about having successfully used a parking service that got me right to the door with having to hobble from the parking garage, and excited for my trip to Seattle. Today I’m in a different airport, but on the same coast – in fact, in the same time zone – still trying to get to Seattle.

Yesterday’s flight crew from Toronto to Detroit (my usual stop-over connection) didn’t show up… maybe at all, maybe just too late to be of any use to anyone. I crashed in a hotel near the airport to try again in the morning, this time stopping over in New York at JFK. That’s where I’ve been since about noon, as the plane they had us on was determined to be unfit for travel – after we’d been sitting on it for an hour.

I won’t say what airline – yet – because this is not the track record I’ve known them for. However, the last 4 coast-to-coast flights I’ve flown with them have been delayed due to maintenance issues, and with Gold status and more than 60,000 miles flown in the past 12 months, I’m expecting them to rectify this and restore my trust. If they don’t, then I’ll go back and put in their name! So far the delays have cost my travel budget nearly $1000 in re-booking, no-show fees, parking and the hotel last night. Personally I’m out over $150 in cash and rewards points used for the unexpected hotel stay.

Add to this the fact that I’m hobbling around on a bum leg, from gate to gate, as they try to adjust to the problems – and yes, I’m taking advantage of wheelchair service whenever its prudent/possible – and I’m one grumpy traveller. And I like travel – imagine if I were someone who didn’t like this to begin with!

This weekend two good friends got married. One new one, on the west coast, the other an old friend a little closer to home. The kids were the flower girl and ring bearer in the latter. They were very cute, but despite everyone’s comments about how well-behaved they were, it was a long day. I alternated, every two minutes or so, between bribing, threatening and pleading with them to behave, be quiet, sit still, not run out into the parking lot, not stand in front of the head table and tell stories… We do have good kids, its just that formal ceremonies are not a natural fit for a 4 and 3 year old. Dancing, however, is. Ben rocked the dance floor – at one point he was in the middle of the circle, and all the guys were copying his moves. He was in his glory, and hopefully for the next wedding, that’ll be incentive to hang in there until the end. Abi, being a little more timid took turns dancing and cowering in fear from the dancing. I did a little with her – not that I’m a good dancer, even with two working legs!

Nicole and I “celebrated” our 31st birthdays this week. The quotes are because we didn’t really celebrate them. They just kind of happened while we were trying to keep up with life. Oh well, I gather it stops getting better at 30 anyway. Certainly my body is fairly convincingly communicating that my best years are behind me… Here’s to another 40-50 years of sliding, unremarkably, down hill.

At least I can take some of my impotent frustration out on my airline’s customer service department…

3 thoughts on “Air rage

  1. I’m surprised the airlines charged for the re-booking and didn’t pick up the tab for the hotel. Usually they do if it’s their fault (as, I would assume, crew no-shows and maintenance issues would be). And I might even hit them up for free flights, just to keep a good customer happy. Certainly an upgrade to business or even 1st class is in order!
    For some reason, kids LOVE to dance! Must be expressing their natural joy of life. Enjoy them while they’re young – even chuckle at the rougher times – because they grow up WAY too fast!

  2. Back in the 80s (when you were born) Saint Ronald Reagan broke the back of the labour union movement in the ol’ US of A by crippling the airline industry. Capitalists (and their Republican Party flaks) cheered and made a gazillion dollars. And the airline industry in the US hasn’t recovered since. But then billionaires don’t use commercial airlines, do they? You do. Why don’t I like Saint Ronald? Many reasons. You just experienced one of them. Sorry about your luck. (And NO apologies for hiding my true feelings about this and a dozen other issues while you were growing up. Would you really have been able to process this opinion at thirteen?)

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