Wednesday, April 09, 2008


My flight to NYC today (for Dharma Mittra's teacher training) was on an American Airlines MD-80.

I wasn't aware of the importance of this until I received an e-mail from Catesey this morning, asking me about the type of plane I was flying on.

Sure enough, it's one of the myriad planes grounded by American Airlines. Hundreds of flights have been canceled.

(It's a Boeing plane, by the way. After receiving many tax breaks, Boeing relocated its headquarters to Chicago).

Sure enough, my flight was cancelled, too.

(Now I am 3 for 3, with flights cancellations from ORD to LGA).

But this time I was not immediately rebooked.

This time I was told to call American Airlines to rebook.

I started calling.

And calling.

And calling.

When they picked up, the voicemail said all the agents were busy, and to call back later.

Every time I got past that noise and was on hold for an agent, I got a fast busy signal. Nada.

I kept calling. For hours.

Using the other line, I also booked a flight on United for $300. Just in case.

I looked into a flight on Southwest, even though I'd prefer not to fly from Midway to Long Island (although my friend there said she'd pick me up, no problem).

I talked to Dreyfus about driving out east, or taking a train.

Echoes of 9/11, only not as dire.

I came up with plan B, C and D.

I waited for the travel agent to open at 9AM.

In the interim I dialed and dialed.

Gridlife's advice was to keep calling; it was like trying to get Cubs tickets. If I perservered, eventually I'd get through.

He's the Travel Answer Man, so I didn't give up.

He was right of course.

Finally, after two hours, I got through and was put on hold.

No busy signal this time.

This time I heard that glorious waiting music.

And I waited.

And listened.

And waited.

And listened.

Fortunately I have a headset phone and was able to finish packing while I waited.

And wash dishes.

And take out the garbage.

Finally I heard a live human voice.

I was happy to hear it.

The voice booked me on a United flight leaving at 5PM - the earliest she could get me out.

This meant I would miss Catesey's play tonight.

So after hanging up I called United.

If mom says no, ask dad.

After some confusion (my fault), United canceled the 2PM flight I'd booked earlier, and re-booked me a "courtesy" seat on it.

Now I'm off to the airport, hoping the ticketing agent has access to the same information I do.

Fingers crossed.

1 comment:

  1. Hi C.K.
    Goodness, sorry you had to go through that, and that's good that eventually they found an alternative way for you to get to your destination. I was thinking of the same for me personally because I am flying on AA on May 14to Boston from San Francisco for a conference. I have to check whether I'm on a MD 80. I hope they have solved their problems by then.