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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Note: Reworked and reworded after I’d gotten past all the anger. It’s been a … frustrating day. I was pretty calm about things until this evening, and then things started getting to me.

So. Travel. Sorry. And to think at one point I considered what it would be like to write travelogue books for a living. If I could only meet that impressionable young soul now…

Recap of today in chronological order:

  1. Flight is still scheduled for on-time departure. Seems dubious, but calls to airline, checks on websites, and all that stuff say it’s so.
  2. Drive to JFK. Takes two hours.
  3. Park in long-term lot. They haven’t plowed slush away, so walking to AirTrain sucks.
  4. Take AirTrain to AA terminal.
  5. Step off train.
  6. Flight still on-time. Sweet.
  7. Get in line.
  8. SMS: Flight canceled.
  9. Staying in line, start calling AA. I’m told that due to abnormal call volume they can’t accept my call. Try a few more times, eventually get through. Rebook for earliest next flight out that I can get on, which happens to be late Sunday night, two days later.
  10. Try to call corporate travel services to change car reservation. Busy signal.
  11. Grab a snack, haven’t had lunch yet and it’s going to be a long drive home.
  12. Try to call corporate travel services to change car reservation. Busy signal.
  13. Go find Sarah, wait with her while she gets her airfare refunded (non-refundable ticket, mind you, you’ll see why that’s funny later), since she’s not going to fly out Sunday, when she was going to be returning Sunday.
  14. Call Orbitz, cancel hotel for this weekend. Took a long time, but got a full refund. Sweet.
  15. Try to call corporate travel services to change car reservation. Busy signal.
  16. Get on AirTrain.
  17. Try to call corporate travel services to change car reservation. Busy signal.
  18. Hike back out to car. Scrape ice off of it. Cut up hands a bit because I’m too lazy at this point to get gloves out of backpack, which I just threw in my trunk.
  19. Take wrong turn and get lost in Jamaica. Find way back to 678.
  20. Drive 2.5 hours.
  21. Try to call corporate travel services to change car reservation. Busy signal. Shouldn’t really be trying to use the cell phone in the car anyway.
  22. Hit Connecticut state line, and suddenly the plowing has just stopped. Connecticut apparently forgot to plow I-95 today for some reason, and there were 6+ inches of snow piled up on the interstate, and just the tracking of cars in the lanes provided clearance.
  23. Notice that unlike the interstate, the roads look pretty well plowed. Get off interstate in Stamford, and drive rest of the way on roads that, considering the situation, are incredibly good. Towns were apparently not sleeping when everybody realized 3 days ago that it was going to be a nasty Friday, unlike the state.
  24. Get home. Still pretty calm. Little frustrated with Connecticut.
  25. Call corporate travel services. Get through to voice system. Stay on hold 63 minutes. Hear ringing. Call disconnected.
  26. Rage.
  27. Go to corporate travel services website. Attempt to modify car reservation. Website craps out with an error.
  28. Attempt to remove car reservation. Told to confirm changes to itinerary. Told I have a conflicting flight reservation. Weird. Told I should pick one of the two options. My two options are: 1) Fly to ORD 2) Fly to ORD, connect to SFO. I want to go to SFO, so I pick #2. I hit continue to check things over before confirming changes.
  29. Website craps out. Get error message.
  30. Revisit website from login page. Check itinerary. It’s gone. In its placed, I have a canceled trip to Chicago.
  31. Yes. Chicago.
  32. More rage. Gobs and gobs of rage. Worst. Website. Ever.
  33. But I figure it’s just a web glitch. It can’t have been so stupid as to actually cancel my flights.
  34. Call corporate travel services. Hold 59 minutes. Tell him my record locater. Am told that I canceled it.
  35. I did? I explain what happened with the website. He’s not familiar with the website.
  36. Rage.
  37. I settle down a bit. I ask how this is possible, and realize he’s not going to have an answer. I ask if I can restore my flights, and no, that can’t be done, the flights are canceled, and he can’t rebook them because the flights are full. Guess I made somebody’s day. I at least inquire if I was refunded for my flights that I didn’t cancel but can’t take.
  38. No. They were non-refundable.
  39. But I didn’t cancel them!
  40. I get mildly (read: not particularly mildly) impolite with my new friend. I know this isn’t fair, but I don’t think it is fair to have zero desire to help a customer, to forget the customer is always right, and to have zero interest in trying to find a way to solve my problems. I’m also not very fond of incompetent e-commerce website design. But again, not his fault on that point.
  41. I didn’t cancel my flight. And I still have a conference to be at Monday, having already missed all my plans for the weekend. I need a flight, and I need not to pay for a flight that I would still take, had some lazy web monkeys not decided to write a buggy website that canceled my reservation.
  42. Right. As I was saying. I’m mildly impolite, and he tells me it’s impossible to refund my money because I’ve voluntarily canceled my flight, and they were non-refundable tickets.
  43. I’m less polite. He hangs up. I guess I liked it back in the day when they’d transfer me to a manager, rather than just hanging up.

Anyhow, we’ll stop the brain dump there, but the short term issue is solved, and I’m still heading up Sunday night. Biggest remaining downsides:

  1. All our plans for this weekend are shot.
  2. I’ll be coming in red-eye for Sarah’s birthday, rather than arriving the night before.
  3. My company gets to pay more than double my original fare (modulo figuring out how to handle the fact that I also had to pay the original fare) because of lousy web site. That sucks. I don’t like wasting their money.
  4. I wasted almost half a day with this nonsense, when I could have been doing something productive or meaningful with my life. Like writing code. It was a nice quiet day due to the weather, and I could have gotten a lot done.