Sunday, March 18, 2012

Can't Get Started

This isn't the best way to start a trip, let me tell you. But I guess I should start back at the beginning. When the taxi pulled up to my house, yesterday morning, it was greeted with a mixture of excitement and fear. Yes, I'll admit it. I was a little trepidatious. It's been a very, very long time since I've traveled outside of the country alone. I did it in my youth without fear, but in recent years I've had Marc by my side on these long journeys wandering the Earth. And I would be lying if I said I had no apprehension. It's like re-learning to ride a bike. And I'm going to a place where I barely speak the language and I don't expect many to speak mine. And it didn't help that I had a raging headache as I was departing. But the excitement far surpassed the fear.

I arrived at LAX with plenty of time. There was quite an extensive line, both at the ticketing counter and the security check but I've got Premiere status on United. I have never been so thankful for that status. Those special Premiere check in and security lanes make all the difference. On the flight I was able to finish up a project for a friend of mine and had a pleasant conversation with my row mate. When the woman across the aisle heard I was heading for Argentina she interrupted our conversation and gushed about the country. She had visited two years prior and was full of great information on what to see and where to go. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I left the plane with a gigantic grin on my face, racing through the terminal to catch my plane to Buenos Aires (since our flight landed 20 minutes late). But when I reached my gate there was a flight to Ghana boarding in it's place and a quick look at the monitors informed me that my flight had been cancelled. I was crushed.

Not my agent, but another hard-working soul.

I spent the next three+ hours in line at the only open United Airlines customer service desk. The first hour I also waited on hold with the United Airlines customer service phone center as well. Yes it took me one hour and two minutes to reach an agent on the phone and three hours to reach an agent in person. Both had the same news to deliver: there was no way I was going to make it to BA in time to make my connection to Mendoza. In fact, there was no way for me to reach Argentina at all until Monday. Despite my disappointment I couldn't take out my frustration on the poor agent. It wasn't her fault. She was just the bearer of bad news. Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones and I was simply placed on the same flight the next day. Other passengers on my flight were not so lucky. Many of them were placed on the Monday night flight. Unfortunately, there was no way for the customer service agent to contact my connecting airline in Argentina, so I was given an official document in hopes that it would help me get placed on another flight to Mendoza once I arrived in country. My lesson for the day was patience and kindness. Rather than taking it out on the helpless customer service agent, I opted to be kind and thankful for her help so late at night. In return she put me at a luxury resort for the night and threw in a $100 travel voucher that the other passengers weren't receiving. I'm still mad at United but grateful for that agent who did her best for me.


Since I didn't get into my room until after 1:30 in the morning I slept in late then went down to the spa in the resort and indulged in a facial. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? After my spa day I went back to the airport and met up with my cousin, Cindy, who just happened to be dropping her brother-in-law off there as well. What are the odds? She was kind enough to grab an early dinner with me at the airport, which was another pleasant surprise. So I suppose if I have to have an unexpected 24 hour layover, this is the way to do it. Just hope I don't encounter problems getting a new flight to Mendoza. I have a 9PM dinner reservation to make tomorrow night!

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading along as you go and loving all the details! Have fun and I can't wait to relive the memories with you in Tucson!


Your comments make me smile!