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The Flying None

“None” as in No customer service.

We’re on vacation, but it was by the skin of our teeth.

Friday morning we got to LAX at 5:15 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. flight. (I won’t get into why we were late, except to say my husband has become more high maintenance that me.) Now I admit this was really tight, but we were in the allotted time frame for making the flight. We decided to split up and I would go to the express check-in scanner to get the boarding passes while my husband stood in line to so we could check the bags. The boarding pass kiosk confirmed us and spit out two boarding passes for the 6:00 a.m. flight but checked our bags onto the 7:15 a.m. flight. No problem, right?

This is where things turn ugly.

It’s finally our turn to check our bags. We hand over our boarding passes and the slip about the bags. This totally confounded the woman behind the counter and this is the exact moment that she become The Most Unhelpful Person on the American Airlines Staff. She comes to a complete halt.

Unhelpful Woman: I don’t get it. You can’t fly without your bags.

Me: I’m guessing we can because the machine spit out the boarding pass and gave us a thing to check our bags on the next flight.

Unhelpful Woman: Doesn’t matter. You won’t make it anyway.

Me: Well, it’s only 5:30. What say you we try? We have plenty of time if you just check our bags.

Unhelpful Woman: You won’t make it.

Increasing Irate Me: Well, we won’t make it if you don’t go find the tags for our bags. Could you please help us get on this flight?

Unhelpful Woman: Hmm. But we don’t do this.

Me: You must. Otherwise, we would’ve been bumped to the next flight with our bags.

We go back and forth like this for about 10 minutes, with her repeatedly telling me we won’t make the flight. Well, no shit we won’t because she did everything in her power to make us miss the damn flight. At this point, Bill (smart guy that he is) senses that I’m about to leap over the counter, hog tie the woman with luggage tags and toss her onto the conveyor belt of suitcases, so he steps in and tries to sweet talk her. That doesn’t get us anywhere either. She reassures us repeatedly that we aren’t going to make it.

Useless woman finally summons help from someone else who assures her that we can indeed check our bags on the next flight. She officially moves into slo-mo at this point because she’s going to prove that she’s right and we are, indeed, going to miss our flight.

My bag goes on the scale first. 64 pounds. Apparently, a couple of bikinis, a few pairs of shorts, some flip-flops and hairdryer weight 64 pounds. (Oddly, we went to China for the same period of time—in the winter—and I managed to pack much less. About 15 pounds less to be precise.)

So this is where I really become unglued. My first instinct is to pay the fee for heavy bags, but I quickly realize, she will send me to the longest line she can find to pay the fee, so I start pulling out books. If I have to carry them on the plane on my head, I will. 60 pounds. So next I pull out my tennis shoes, my blow dryer and a couple of other odds and ends. 54 pounds. Next I pull out my make up case and a few other things. 50.5 pounds. I swear to God she was going to tell me to take out something else so reduce that half pound, but I think she realized she overplayed her hand by this point and realized how bad that would be for everyone because when I turn around to dump all the removed shit into Bill’s dive bag and see that there’s an entire crowd of people who are staring at this show. I quickly repack the other bag, and the Waste of Human Flesh decides that she needs to see our ID, our passport, birth certificate, Social Security Card, First Grade report cards and college diploma.

We finally get our bags tagged and drag them over to the Second Most Useless Human on the Planet. The guy who collects the bags for the security check barely glances down and states, “Those locks aren’t TSA approved.” Sigh. Never mind that they have the TSA stamp all over them. I’m ready to point this out, but Bill tells me to just remove the damn thing and go.

At this point I’m totally convinced that they’re radioing ahead to each other that “Super Bitch is coming through and slow her down whenever and wherever you can.” At this point, Bill is convinced that I’m going to get us thrown out of the airport and banned from flying.

We finally get to the security line and I am stuck behind Clueless Stoner Dude. He pulls a quarter out of his pocket and walks through. Of course, he dings. He pulls another coin out, walks through and dings. We go through that like four times before they pull him aside to do a search. Meanwhile, there’s also a father with two boys in front of us, and he’s pulling matchbox cars, frogs and God only knows what else out of his kids’ pockets. I kept expecting someone from Candid Camera to come out and tell me it’s a joke.

I finally push through and Bill gets hung up behind the same mess. He tells the guy we’re late and that his wife is already through and asks to go ahead. He bolts through and doesn’t even have time to get his shoes on. He’s doing the sock slide down the concourse behind me as I run ahead, doing my best OJ Simpson (minus the murder thing), hurdling over kids in strollers and zigzagging through crowds. At one point I hear Bill swear and I turn around to see he’s running behind trying to keep his pants up because he just lost 60 pounds and everything is big and he didn’t have time to get his belt on.

We finally get to the gate just as they’re getting ready to close the doors. Of course, they had given our seats away—the seats that I handpicked two months ago on Seatguru.com. So we both got shoved in middle seats one row apart.

So we made it. We totally collapsed all sweaty into our shitty seats and promptly doze off.

We spent two days in Miami, and now we’re in Grand Cayman hanging on the beach.

It was totally worth it.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s jerks like you that make the lives of customer service agents miserable……You were late; your bags are thus late; you should have been put on standby for the next flight, the one that your bags would get on even if you didn’t. Selfish, boorish travelers who absolutely don’t have your $hit together (overweight bags, late on arrival, etc.). Get a watch, get a scale, get your act together like the other 157 people who made it on the flight.

    • I admitted I was a little late, but the lazy cow behind the counter did everything in her power to make sure we missed our flight. She was petty and mean and she had zero interest in doing her job.

      Aside from that, had the machine not given us our boarding passes, I would have waited for the next flight. Patiently. But since there was a big, fat technological fail—one that wasn’t my fault—I had every reason to believe I could get on the plane.

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