The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Business Trip...

...that wasn't meant to be.

So, yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am (OK, I got out of bed at 4:50 am) to get ready for a flight to AZ (business not pleasure) leaving out of Metro at 7:58 am. I left later than usual for the airport at 5:55 am instead of 5:40 am (JEEZ what a difference 15 minutes makes in the morning commute!). So, I white knuckle it all the way to the airport, all solid one hour and 10 minutes of the drive, of course behind people who are going the speed limit in the left lane (*newsflash*, the left lane is for speeders, like me, who are trying to make it to the airport on time, so if you're only going to drive 70 mph, move over to the middle, or better yet, the far right lane and get outta my way-no, I don't have road rage tendencies at all, why do you ask?)

So, I get there on time (55 minutes to spare-plenty of time when you already have your boarding pass in hand that you printed at home the night before) and drive to my usual parking lot. As the shuttle bus driver takes my bags and loads them on to the van, I fish in my purse for my wallet to get him a tip. My wallet. My wallet. WHERE IS MY WALLET?

Wait a minute, sir, I can't find my wallet!
Ma'am, is it under your seat?
No, no, no, I checked. I don't have it. (I don't have my freaking wallet!! ) I can't believe I don't have my wallet. How can I get on an airplane with out my ID?!? (How can I tip this shuttle bus driver with out my wallet?) How do I pay to get OUT of the parking lot with out my wallet???!!!
Oh, you haven't been here long enough, they won't charge you (as he loads my bags back into my vehicle).

How much more of a doofus can I be? I can't believe I have to call my colleague and explain to him this gross level of travel ineptitude.

Hello, George? I won't be meeting you at 9 am in Phoenix today like I thought.
Oh no, Why?
I don't have my wallet and will have to take a later flight. (more babbling and explanation given but not typed here.)
Oh my goodness…do you happen to have your passport with you?
NO! And I told myself just last week that I needed to put it in my briefcase, but I obviously didn't. Can you pick me up at the airport later?
No problem, just let me know when.
I don't have any money. Sorry about that.
No need to be sorry, these things happen.
No, I was saying sorry to the parking lot lady, not you, although I am sorry that I won't be there today. Jeez, I hope I can find my wallet at home!!

OK, no big deal, I can still make it to AZ for the BIG meetings which are tomorrow and the next day. I'll just call the travel agent to get my flight switched. So, the travel agent switches me to the 7:28 pm flight arriving in to Phoenix at 8:41 pm. Great! Although she can't issue me a boarding pass because I had already printed one last night for this morning's flight that I wasn't able to take. Hmmmm. So, only the USAir ticket lady at the counter at Metro can issue me a boarding pass and I have to arrive there in person to get it. OK, then, just send me my confirmation. I don't want to get to Metro and not have a seat. I'm assured that I definitely have a confirmed seat, but the boarding pass will need to be printed at the airport. Great. I'll just drive the hour and a HALF back home to get some work done. Cool, I find my wallet at home here in my dressing table drawer along with my brushes and combs and hairspray (what the heck is it doing in there?!!)

So, at 4:00 pm I depart again for Metro airport (for the second time in one day). Another hour and a HALF drive, but, I figured as much and allowed myself the extra time. The whole way there I check, and double check, and triple check for my wallet. Check. Check. Check. Cell phone? Yep, still there. Briefcase with laptop? Check. And check again. I'm totally nervous that I've forgotten something else important. But, no, I haven't forgotten anything and arrive at Metro with TWO hours to spare.

The US Air ticket line is unusually short, which pleases me, because that means I'm that much closer to eating dinner at some restaurant in the terminal (I'm starving, that salad for lunch isn't holding me over very well). Even though the line is short, it moves slowly. Only a couple of agents are working the counter. Someone is trying to check a bike in a carrying case that weighs too much, most of the self serve kiosks are out of order, but I need to speak with someone anyway but the other 4 people in front of me might not have to speak with someone and could have used those kiosks if they would have been working. So, I wait. YAY! It's my turn.

Good evening, (I politely greet the US Air ticket agent. Kill 'em with kindness. And I explain my story.)
Let me tell you honey, all your travel agent did was unassign your seat from this morning.
But I have the print out right here from the travel agent that says I'm confirmed on this flight.
I'm sorry, but you are not confirmed on this flight and there are already 12 people on standby. The plane holds 121 people and we have sold 133 seats. To be realistic, you could go standby, but you are not getting to Phoenix tonight.
But I specifically asked the travel agent, several times, several different ways if I had a seat and she said yes, yes, yes. Now what do I do?
Well, there is a 9:45 pm flight through Vegas that arrives at 1 am
(OK, that's 4 am EST, and I've already been up since 4:30 am this morning and with my luck I'll get stuck in Vegas, which would be kind of fun, but still not make it to Phoenix)
OR I could put you on the first flight out tomorrow at 7:58 am. (in response to my blank stare)
(OK, that's the flight I was SUPPOSED to be on today and it doesn't get me to Phoenix in time for the meeting anyway ... BIG SIGH) Well, let me call my colleague and I'll let you know.
Alright, and when you do, you don't have to wait in line, just come right back up to the counter.
(The kindness thing works, even if it doesn't get me on the flight) OK, Thanks.

I can't believe I have to call George again...

Hello, George? I don't have a seat on tonight's flight, so don't bother picking me up at the airport at 8:41 pm because I won't be there.
Oh my goodness…what happened?
Well, I'm here at the airport and even though the travel agent ASSURED me I have a seat, the US Air lady says that I don't and I'm pretty sure she trumps the travel agent. (more babbling and explanation given but not typed here)
Hey, don't sweat it. These things happen.
I know, but I WANTED to be there for these meetings.
I mean, it would be nice for you to be here, but it obviously wasn't meant to be, and it isn't really NECESSARY. It's really not a problem, Jeff and I can handle it.
Are you sure? Well, OK, but call me if you need ANYTHING.

So, now I'm on my way back home from Metro (for the second time in one day), and I call the travel agent to ask her to cancel everything, air, hotel. And I nicely express the fact that I'm a little put off about them telling me I was confirmed on a seat when I wasn't. She comes back with, BUT YOU ARE CONFIRMED ON THIS FLIGHT, SEAT 19 E.


Well, I'm on my way home now, and I'm not turning back around and going back to the airport AGAIN, so just cancel everything.

And there you have it. The business trip that wasn't meant to be….

1 comment:

Mindy said...

I am very impressed that you kept your composure during all of this. Travel agents and airport people can be awful. My kids still talk about the time that "Mommy screamed and used bad words" at an airport when we got stuck in FL for 2 days.
It does help to be able to blog about these things, I think.