Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Saturday, October 6

Airline Turf War

Warning: I'll be blogging on my phone the next few days. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling will suffer accordingly.

I got to the airport yesterday on time and ready to depart for Reagan Intl Airport in DC. Unfortunately, so did a lot of other people. Seven people too many. And Northwest Airlines had one incompetent woman start trying to redirect customers to other flights about 20 minutes before scheduled take-off. So I was losing confidence in my Memphis connection. Across the hallway, United was offering a nonstop flight to Dulles. I asked for a transfer. The Northwest counter called United and made the switch then sent me across the hall to the United counter which said they needed a reservation number and sent me across the hall to the Northwest counter which said "huh?" and sent me back to the United counter which repeated the request and sent me back to the Northwest counter which had mislocated my original boarding pass and finally found it and sent me back to the United counter which then asked for a ticket for the United flight and sent me back (pause here to take a breath and rehydrate) to the Northwest counter which said United was responsible for printing the ticket and sent me back to the United counter which disagreed and sent me back to the Northwest counter where the woman who had been screwing me over...I mean helping me...had been replaced by someone who knew what they were doing and I was seated on the plane to Dulles a full eight minutes before departure.

Of course, the woman who couldn't even transfer me across the hall couldn't be relied upon to tranfer my luggage. But it was still bound for DC so no big deal right? As I soon learned, there is a phone version of the across the hall pingpong game I just played.

I filled out a lost luggage claim at Dulles around 5 pm and then didn't worry much about it until I got back to the hotel about midnight and called United to check on progress. Let's pause to get hydrated before we start this time. Okay, ready? United said that my bag was at Reagan Airport at the Northwest counter and then faxed Northwest to request they send the bag over to United at Dulles. I did ask why the bag had to go to Dulles instead of getting on the delivery van at Reagan and the woman at United explained in her very best patronizing voice, the kind I use when dealing with whiney 2 yr olds, that she simply couldn't do it that way. Anyway, we were faxing something to Northwest. Northwest decided it wasn't their responsibility to take the bag over and so didn't do anything. United had already faxed them so they didn't do anything. So no one did anything for seven hours that night until I woke up and called to check on the status of my bag. The guy at United who answered my call worked an airline miracle (while oddly enough using exactly the same patronizing voice as the woman I had spoken with the night before). He called the United counter at Reagan and had someone walk from the United counter to the Northwest counter and got my bag and stuck it on the delivery van which delivered my bag in a mere 45 minutes during DC morning traffic. Which was miraculous all by itself.

All of this might have been frustrating instead of amusing, except that I didn't have to lug a piece of luggage behind me last night on the DC subway and I got to go down to breakfast this morning ultra casual and I got to skip out of the welcoming remarks because I was busy pressing my shirt and getting dressed.

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