Tuesday, February 17, 2004

more LA woes

So not only did we have to wake up at 3:30 in the AM the day after the wedding, and not only is LAX the worst airport ever in terms of destination and arrival information (not that there weren't TV screens in the terminals for displaying such information, it's just that they all were broken), but about half an hour before our flight, we were told that it was cancelled due to equipment failure. No apology. No information about later flights. Not even a ticket agent at the booth. They even used the wrong flight number when announcing the cancellation, so, lacking anyone live human to ask for clarification, we had to call the airline's 1-800 number to confirm that it was really our flight that got grounded. Damn ATA. What the hell kind of airline is that anyway? Some third world prop plane corps? (Actually, it stands for America Trans Air or something equally generic. They should rename their airline something catchy. FlightCom! AirCorp! ZoomCo! Hey, maybe I should start my own airline. I would probably run it better than ATA.)

So by the time we figured out what the hell was going on and made it back down to the ticketing counter, the desk was swamped, with a line of disgruntled customers (80% fresh from the past weekend's hip-hop convention) literally out the door and into the parking lot shuttle pickup area. Joe and I did some quick calculations and figured out that if we stood on that line and waited for ATA to rebook us (their next scheduled flight to New York was leaving at 11:30pm) we would still be in LA to celebrate our golden anniversary. And we were both due back at work the following morning. So we took matters into our own hands and booked another flight ourselves, figuring that we could square things away with ATA after we got back home.

24 hours later, ATA has agreed to refund us the cost of our cancelled flight (how generous) and offered us two round trip tickets in the contiguous 48 states to compensate for the $500 each that we paid to United for our flight back to New York. You read that right. A THOUSAND DOLLARS we had to spend because our flight got cancelled. ATA argues that yes, we were probably right that had we waited in line like good little sheep, they probably wouldn't have gotten a flight out that day anyway (remember, this was the Monday of a three-day weekend), "but you didn't give us a that chance." What, we didn't give you guys the chance to GET US FIRED? We don't have jobs where we can just show up late or call in sick. We needed to get back to New York and we simply didn't trust them to be able to do that for us.

Free plan tickets is one thing, but limited to the contiguous 48 states? Have you seen where ATA flies in the US? Dayton, Ohio. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Frigging Moline Illinois. In other words, no place we would ever be interested in flying. Come on guys, why so cheap? You give out free tickets all the time whenever you overbook, to destinations "anywhere that ATA flies," including international locales. Why can't you help a sister out? Let us at least fly to Guadelajara, for chrissake. Or even Hawaii, that's not technically international. You broke your damn plane in the first place. And it's bad enough that your compensation package forces us to have to fly with your craptastic airline again. Some come on guys. Fly us to Montego Bay?

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