I arrived at Jackson a couple of hours early and got put on an earlier flight; great! So next security, have to get past the TSA
(Totally Stupid A**holes). They ran out of plastic totes with a 30-deep line of people trying to make a flight leaving in ten minutes, so when I was told 'you can get more down there', I retort 'Well if you can't organize it yourselves I'll do it for you!' So I end up stacking their totes ready for the passengers behind me as the TSA
's at Jackson were most unhurried and seemed incapable of doing it themselves.
I get to Atlanta, I find my gate and get a magazine to read, then decide I want a beer, followed by food. I return to the gate, my flight has already left.. bugger. I forgot I'm in eastern time and my flight left an hour ago. Delta neglected to remind the passengers and I forgot too, so sod it. I get rebooked, then call my disgruntled wife, already in Wichita having taken an earlier flight. I tell her to go ahead to the hotel without me. Luckily airport Hilton is within walking distance of the terminal, but it's snowing, so she takes a taxi.
I get to Wichita and go to pick up the Hertz rental car. It transpires that hertz have lost the company billing details. So me plus wife retire for the night without a rental car. The next morning I had to resort to a taxi until eventually the company gets me a nice rental Chrysler from Budget to cruise around in. Note to self: Hertz = Incompetent, Budget = Better.
On the day of the return flight my personal affairs get behind schedule, so I have to call and push the flights back a couple of hours, I pay $175 for the privilige, no big deal, but unbeknown to me, the operator accidentally changes my destination.
I get to the airport, the following transpires. (Abbreviated)
'Hello I'm here to check in to fly to Jackson Mississippi, via Atlanta.' - Me
is shown, confirmation number given to young black woman clerk...
'I got you here for Jacksonville, how many bags?' - Clerk
'Whoah, hang on, lets check we've got the right airport first, that's Jackson Mississippi' - Me
'Yes, How MANY BAGS SIR
!?' - Clerk
'No, you just said Jacksonville, I'm flying to Jackson, Mississippi, airport code JAN.' - Me
'Yes, Jackson, how many bags?' - Clerk
'Zero. No bags.' - Me
Clerk prints boarding pass...
'Here are your tickets to Jacksonville.' - Clerk
Wife - 'NO, JACKSON!' (From behind me)
'Excuse me!? Don't get an attitude with me, you owe me an APOLOGY!' - Clerk, to wife
'Hey, we just tried to confirm the destination with you and you ignored us! Jacksonville is in florida! That's a completely different state! I'm trying to get to Jackson, Mississippi! The operator I spoke to when I re-booked must have made a mistake...' - Me
'Sir, your ticket is to Jacksonville, that's what I said.' - Clerk
'I know and I tried to check with you but you were giving me a hard time about how many bags I have! You're the one with the attitude problem... how are we going to fix this...?' - Me
'I can't change it now I've already checked you in.' - Clerk
'Ok, where's your boss? I want to speak to the manager.' - Me
'My manager isn't here today.' - Clerk
'S YOUR LUCKY DAY ISN
? Are you sure there's nothing you can do, we never asked for a destination change..?!' - Me
'No sir, you need to call Delta and rebook. I can't do anything' - Clerk
So next, my wife calls Delta, the operator refuses to talk to her so the phone is handed to me. Operator has a thick indian accent, the following transpires, abbreviated-
'I've been booked by accident to fly to the wrong city, I need to fly to Jackson, Mississippi, can you rebook me please?' - Me
'Sir, I see you are already checked in. You will have to fly to Jacksonville.' - Operator
'No, I won't. That's hundreds of miles away from Jackson, I rebooked to move the flight time back, not change my destination, I need this fixed right now and if you can't fix it I need to speak to somebody who can.' - Me
'Sir, there will be a charge of $75.' - Operator
'No there won't, I've already paid $175 rebooking fee, I won't pay for Delta employees mistakes. You need to fix this for me right now.' - Me
'Sir, please hold.' - Operator
'Ok' - Me
- Hold -
'Sir, you will need to do this at the airport.' - Operator
'No, the girl at the counter is incompetent, she doesn't have the common human decency to even acknowledge...' - Me
'Sir, you can only do this at the airport.' - Operator
'Fine. I see you're just as incompetent and useless as she is, I'll fly to Atlanta and deal with this there. Goodbye.' - Me
I bully the girl into giving me the tickets after having my ID
checked a second time. At security the one old TSA
guy checks my ID
and boarding pass twice, on both sides of the metal detector, studying them both for a good 30 seconds each time and checking my license with a UV
My wife is turned away to have her boarding pass re-printed for some reason. I didn't ask why... I sped her to the bar and calmed her with a beer.
I fly to Atlanta (with wife) then I find the customer service desk and explain the snafu again to the customer service rep including that the Wichita clerk was not willing nor able to help me. Unapologetically, but admitting the mistake of the operator (absolving herself from any responsibility) she says she doesn't have the ability to help us either and directs me to the ticketing/rebooking hotline phones.
I call, rebook, and tell the operator - 'Thankyou! You're the FIRST PERSON who's ACTUALLY BEEN ABLE TO
HELP ME!' and upon hanging up, the service desk girl behind me exclaims, 'HEY, I HELPED YOU! I told you to use the phone!' Wow.. yes, so helpful.
I have to ask her to print my new boarding pass and begrudgingly thank her for directing me to the phones.
She gives me the boarding pass and tells me I better hurry.
It's 8:25 by my watch, and the flight leaves at 9.35, this time I remember I'm in eastern time and realize I only have ten minutes to get to the other end of Atlanta airport. Me plus wife run to train, upon arriving at terminal T, heading for T1, I run up the stairs.
I run as fast as possible to the gate, listening to last calls for me to board the plane all the way, I make it just as the rep is taking the passenger manifest to the plane.
Wife is left behind, but she was taking a different flight so no problem...
I find my seat and nestle in, coughing and wheezing for having run further and faster than I have in the last 3 years.
Then I start to think about the drive home from Jackson, and try to calculate in my head what the parking fee will be. Oh crap.. I don't have any money. I gave my wife all my cards and cash to look after and didn't ask for any money for parking.
So, I arrive at Jackson, I go to the car and dump my stuff in it then walk downstairs to the girl at the parking booth, I try to explain I have no cash because my wife has it who has flown to a different airport. I offer to write an I.O.U. note with my name, address and driving license number so I can pay the fee by post when I get home. I get the blunt response - 'No they won't accept that'.
I plead with her and ask her if it would be in any way possible to get around this.. she refuses to help.
So, me and the car are stuck in a parking lot still over a hundred miles from home, asking for a lift or getting a taxi, bus or hitching are all out of the question. I reason that since the car is my property, and that having only taken a ticket as opposed to having signed a parking space rental agreement, and finally having been refused the opportunity to defer my payment the parking attendant is therefore relieved of any right to contain me and my property.
So I drive to the entrance, planning to take another ticket to activate the gate and escape, but a cop cruises past so I bottle it and get back in the car. Instead I drive to the exit planning to beg for release, but by the time I get there all the booths are three cars deep, everybody has gotten their bags from baggage claim by now.. I calmly decide to simply bump over the curb onto the terminal road and drive home.
I drive off from the airport without squealing my tires or speeding, expecting to see blue lights in my rear view mirror at any moment, but nothing. I get home, wife gets there shortly after and I go to bed. Phew.
The morals of this story are,
1. If you value and acknowledge your own basic human rights, never ever fly Delta.
2. If you actually intend to drive the car you rent, don't use Hertz.
3. Never trust your wife with your money, because sods law says when she has it is when you'll need it.