On Thursday evening our flight was late, so naturally we wanted to change it. They were too busy at the lounge to help, and told us to go to Customer Service (they may have also said the flight we wanted was full, but I’m not sure). There was already a huge line at Customer Service, so we called the concierges from Calgary (the current airport) and Vancouver (the desired destination) – they didn’t answer.
We finally gave up, located some seats in the crowded lounge and settled down. We had food, drink and internet, the wait wasn’t supposed to be too bad.
However, I was soon restless and got up to stand in the queue for Customer Service. I don’t really mind waiting in line as long as I have my iPhone with me, I can always read interesting things (at least this is what I like to think) while I wait.
Standing in line, I read some e-mails from the newsletters I am subscribed to: about how to protect yourself in a falling market, vitamins that give you more energy than coffee (I’ll have to try them one day), and somebody’s recent visit to Paris. The last was the most interesting. The author said that Paris smelled of urine, the only exception being right after it had rained. Another interesting point was a little-known side entrance to the Louvre which his landlord told him about, and which allowed him to skip the long lines at the main entrance. It puzzled me that in our internet-age more people don’t know about this, but who am I to judge? I’m sure I’ll forget about it if I ever go to Paris (actually, let’s use some positive thinking here: when I go to Paris). Also, while I was in Tokyo I went to a museum on a Monday, when it was closed. I wasted time and subway fare, something which a quick check online would have prevented.
It was after I’d read all these things that I started to grow impatient. I was bored and restless; I wanted to use my laptop for the various things I like to tell myself are useful.
Then I remembered the golden rule about changing a flight in an airport: stay in line and call customer service at the same time. Why else do I bother reading travel blogs and forums, if I’m not going to act accordingly?
I find that’s often a problem – we read something, we might even agree with it, but we rarely put it into practice, whether because of forgetfulness, laziness, or a thousand other reasons.
I called Customer Service expecting to be told the flight I wanted was full or already closed, but amazingly the lady on the other end told me she had to change my check-in and then that I’d gotten a seat. She didn’t even tell me to hurry up, although according to my iPhone app the plane was already supposed to have left. I even had time to ask if one of my colleagues could get on the same flight, which she obligingly managed.
We started running, tearing through the airport, and arrived at the gate breathless. As I explained to the ticket agent what had happened, another agent walked by and informed us that was impossible, because the plane was full. The first agent started typing and typing - I am so curious what they do as it should be very simple to get a quick yes or no – and after a long while (so it seemed to me) I heard the wonderful sound of a boarding pass being printed.
“There were two no-shows in business class,” the agent said. “That’s how we were able to get you seats.” I thought loudly, that I hoped nothing bad had happened to the passengers whose seats we’d taken. I wouldn’t want my own good fortune to be based on someone else’s misery.
I boarded the plane, stowed my bag, and threw myself into the seat. I don’t know if I deserved business class, but perhaps it was the Universe rewarding my perseverance. I had a Heineken as a treat (I normally drink Coors Light if I have bier) and some Italian wine (can’t remember last time when I had both bier and wine). I’m no connoisseur, but the wine was very good. Perhaps it was the result of these two drinks, but it felt as though the plane landed almost immediately after take-off.
I wonder what would have happened if I’d called 10 or 15 minutes later. Perhaps I would have been told the flight was full and I would not have tried again
Now I know not to give up. Keep trying until the last moment !