Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh you'd like to fly to Los Angeles? How about two days from now?

No Continental, thank YOU.
Our adventures began somewhat inauspiciously on Friday when I (EB) arrived at Newark airport for my flight to Los Angeles. Upon attempting to check in at an e-ticket machine, I was informed that I could not check in because it was more than 24 hours before my flight. Odd, I thought, given that my flight was in just over 1 hour. But upon further inspection it was revealed that the machine believed my flight was on Sunday rather than Friday.

A swift discussion with a Continental representative revealed that my 3:25 flight had been canceled and I had been rebooked on the 3:25 on Sunday.*  Apparently Contintental believed that my primary interest was in flying at 3:25, irrespective of the day. Surprisingly, I informed them that actually what I really wanted was to get to California THAT DAY rather than fly at 3:25 and encouraged them to make that happen. Though all direct flights were booked, after a little persistence they found a spot for me on a flight to Chicago and then from Chicago to LAX.

Well, at least someone was glad I was there.

A couple hours later, I was off to Chicago and all seemed to be well in the world.  After a lovely airport dinner in O'Hare and the joyous news that I was being given an exit row seat on the flight to LAX, thunderstorms rolled into Chicago and all flights were halted for an hour and a half.  Luckily I had rented a movie on my snazzy new ipad, so the time passed relatively quickly.  Finally at 10:30pm Chicago time we took off and at 12:45 am the flight touched down in LA.  A quick ride brought me to the wonderful home of Amy and Matt Bell, where a lovely guest room and delightful dog to spoon with awaited me.  I had arrived!

* Side note for this story - are there actually people who go to the check in machine, see their flight has been canceled and they are rebooked for two days later, and just shrug their shoulders and go home to come back in two days?  Is that really a winning strategy for airlines?  I am dubious.

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