09 August 2005
We arrived at the airport at 4 a.m., in part because Rick’s flight to London (to go to the Embassy to get a replacement passport) left at 6 a.m. Just before 8 a.m., the queue opened for my American (codeshare with BA) flight home.
And then the problems began. In order to check my luggage, they had to split Rick off the PNR. Catch is, the lady at the terminal wasn’t a SABRE expert and didn’t know how to do it. I was too rusty to remember the commands off the top of my head, unfortunately. She flipped through her pages of notes, but finally called for help.
She managed to get both segments split off, my baggage checked through and my boarding passes printed. I happen to know that couldn’t be done without properly splitting the PNR, so I wasn’t worried.
I arrived in Chicago without incident, went through immigration, picked up my bag, went through customs, gave my bag back to security, got on the train, and schlepped from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3.
When I arrived at Terminal 3, the lady was busy telling everyone that if they had a seat assignment NOT to check at the desk. So I sat down and waited for boarding. Thankfully, I asked for pre-boarding as I was so stiff I could barely walk (my first flight having been 7-1/2 hours). The ticket beeped. I had to go see the pissy woman at the counter anyway.
She said the flight was oversold by 10 people and that I’d have to take the next flight.
I asked her, “and your inventory management issues are my problem because?”
She said that I had an invalid connection, therefore they moved me to a later flight. I pointed out that SABRE wouldn’t let one book an invalid connection as a pair of segments; I happened to know from my earlier conversation that it was booked as a segment pair. The minimum connection time in ORD is only 1:15 from International to Domestic; the connection was longer than that. She seemed floored that I knew that.
Then she said that the issue stemmed from the fact that the PNR was improperly divided. I pointed out that if it hadn’t been properly divided, my boarding passes and baggage claim wouldn’t have printed. As a result, I knew she was lying. [Given later information from Rick, she may have been correct, but that would have occurred after it was correctly divided. In any case, when an airline screws up, it’s supposed to make good, so it doesn’t matter that BA may have mucked up the res.]
She started to feed me another fib, and I said, “Save it. I used to be a res agent for Expedia.” She shut her mouth. Dang, I’ll have to remember that. 🙂 (Yes, I really was a res agent for a division of Expedia, but that’s another story)
I said, “look, I’ve been traveling for 17-1/2 hours and I had a valid ticket on this flight and a window seat. I have your name and, because you’ve been in my booking, Management will know exactly whose head to chop. You can get me a first class seat on the next flight and two round-trip tickets to Hawaii, or you can get me a window seat on this flight.” She furrowed her brow, looked into it, and voila! An aisle seat magically appeared.
“I’ll take it.” I was feeling cranky, but not so cranky that I wanted to deal with her later.
I hate aisle seats because I’m prone to bruising. My right leg now looks like a poster child for domestic violence — but it’s American Airlines’s fault, not Rick’s.