Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wild, Wild West

(I apologize in retrospect for my recent silence and boring-ness. I apologize in advance for the length of this blog post.)

I love going home. I love being with my family and friends and being back in the mountains. What I do not love is having trouble getting there.

Approximately one minute before I was to leave my office to meet my ride for the airport, the entire district received an email that we were on lockdown due to the tornado warning. We were not allowed to leave our buildings at all. I waited for an hour before the weather cleared and my building supervisor more or less said "It's your life. Good luck." I navigated the out of order street lights and moron drivers, grabbed my luggage, and jumped in my friend's car, only to get stuck in rush hour traffic to the airport. Lovely.

With 26 minutes before I flight took off, I arrived at the airport and had an experience that inspired this nastygram:

To whom it may concern,

I was completely dissatisfied with the customer service I received on my most recent trip. I was running late due to a bad storm and terrible traffic, and I arrived with about 26 minutes before my flight. I understand that there needs to be enough time for my luggage to get on my flight with me, and the need to adhere to policy. What I do not understand, nor tolerate, is being treated with disregard and rudeness.

The first agent at the desk said, curtly, there was absolutely nothing she could do. Either I go without my luggage, I fly out in the morning, or I shop around with the other airlines. In my experience with other airlines, this is a service they have done for me, in order to get me to my destination as soon as possible. Then, while looking up my information, she abruptly left and handed me off to another agent, who stayed on his cell phone for a minute before finally ending his conversation. I had to repeat my story, and he was equally rude about his inability to help me. Once again, I understand policy, but their tone, which was short, annoyed, and demeaning was absolutely uncalled for. I was clearly upset and there was no attempt or to do anything to help calm me down.

Once the decision to fly without my luggage was made, I had less than twenty minutes to get to my plane. I asked if the agent could alert the gate that I was coming as fast as possible and hold the doors as long as they could, to which he said, without apology, "No." I left my bag with a friend and literally ran through security and to my gate.

Once seated, the head attendant got on the intercom and said in a "hypnotizing" tone: "You will all sleep until Denver. You will not bother the flight attendants", emphasis on the word "bother". Now, I won't ask one to shine my shoes, but their job is to make sure we have a pleasant, safe flight. I was not amused.

I do not appreciate such treatment, and will be reluctant to fly with your carrier again.

I was not happy, but I was fairly sure that I had everything with me that I absolutely needed. That is, until I was talking to my seatmate about it and suddenly gasped.

18-year-old Jewish kid: What?

Me: Do you know about Mormons?

18YOJK: Yes.

Me: You know our big white buildings? Temples?

18YOJK: Yes.

Me: Well, we have to be a member in good standing to enter, and we have to have sort of a card that says we are.

18YOJK: Oh, so a "Good Mormon Card"?

Me: Yes. My "Good Mormon Card" is in my luggage.

At least that made me laugh, and I've learned that there are ways (and phone calls to bishops) to get around it if it's not on your person.

The rest of my flights were fine, both there and back. I feel like I know Terminal A of the Denver airport like nobody's business though. I know only London-Stansted, UK, and Hamburg- Lubeck, Germany, better.

I also found that if there's anywhere to go without your luggage and "Good Mormon" paraphenalia, it's Utah and your parents' house. Thursday afternoon, I got to go shopping with my mom and grandma for enough new clothes and toiletries to last through the weekend, on my parents' dime. It was awesome!

That same evening, after some difficulty of getting my parents out of the house (totally raising my mother's suspicions), my siblings and I threw a well attended and happily received surprise 25th anniversary party. Their anniversary was in April, but since we'd been planning this since January, we didn't really do anything then, and my dad had been a little miffed. Not so, now! Everyone had a great time, and my parents were thrilled.

Just after we cleaned up, my brother went to say farewell to a friend who was leaving for a long vacation and lives a block from our house. He took his longboard. It was dark. There was a pothole. The longboard stopped. My brother didn't. Not surprisingly, his collarbone didn't get along with the pavement and quickly became Z-shaped, broken in two places. For those of you who know, this is the same brother (well, my only brother) who shattered his elbow in a bike accident, and had to go home from his mission. Many people haven't been surprised to see him in a crazy sling contraption again, until they realize it's on the right side this time. He should be waking up from surgery right about now. Silly boy. Trumped me for recent trauma tales at the family reunion. However, it is highly entertaining to walk by his bathroom and realize he's stuck getting out of his shirt.

The rest of the weekend went pretty much without incident. Friday was the celebration of my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary, which we spent in the Logan temple and Bluebird restaurant. My brother, being on the Lortab, couldn't be there with us, and I was sad, but I was also overwhelmingly happy that I have the kind of family I would be in the temple with. Saturday afternoon was a family reunion and Saturday evening was a wedding reception for some friends. There I ran into both an old friend from high school and a guy I took on a date here in December who almost immediately left the ward as soon as he'd arrived. Apparently, he moved to Arlington, then back to Utah to date the girl he was at the reception with. High school friend? Super fun! Date with new girlfriend? Not so much. Also weird was the 20 year old sister of the groom and her 60 year old boyfriend (the wedding photographer).

Sunday, we celebrated both my birthday (late) and Father's Day (early) and took family pictures. It was a really chill day, which was extremely nice. Monday was back to DC.

Overall, it was a great time, just maybe a little too adventurous than necessary.


Nancy said...

What? I totally missed you!!! Sniff, sniff!

SJ said...

I'm sad to say that in the current high-cost climate of things, the days of airlines being nice to customers are over. *sigh*

AmandaStretch said...

Nancy - I know! Sad! :(

SJ - It's true, and lame.

And since I totally meant to add this , this was Frontier Airlines. I'm not currently a fan.

Smashie Smasherton said...

Yeah, expecting any level of customer service from an airline is foolhardy indeed. So is expecting any kind of response from a complaint letter.

AmandaStretch said...

I know. But it's worth a shot.