Sunday, September 24, 2006

how nearly screwed me

I left the Met in the middle of the Impressionism tour to cab it to JFK Airport.

Expedia booked my return flight to San Fran on Alaska Airlines. When I arrived at the airport, there were signs for the airlines at each of the nine terminals, but none listed Alaska.

The cabbie stopped at Terminal 1, the closest terminal. I leaned out the window and asked a tall security guard standing on the curb, "Which terminal is Alaska Airlines?"

He pulled out a booklet and scanned it. "It's not in my book." Pause. "I think it's terminal 4."

He stepped back to the door and asked an older guard. "Alaska. Terminal 4?" The older guard nodded authoritatively.

So I had the cab drop me at Terminal 4. I walked the entire terminal and didn't see a desk for Alaska. But my Expedia ticket says clearly:

Sat 23-Sep-06
From New York (JFK) 3:50 PM
To San Francisco (SFO) 7:30 PM

Alaska Airlines, Flight: 6032

I asked another guard, "Where's Alaska?"

"Walk down to aisle 6," he said, pointing.

I walked there. Aisle 6 is EgyptAir. I asked a EgyptAir rep, who announced that it's in terminal 8, but by now I realized they were all full of crap.

I called 411 on my cell and connected to Alaska's 800 number. On hold, then finally connected to a rep.

"We don't fly out of JFK airport," the rep said.

Fucking Expedia.

The rep took my name and informed me that my flight is actually on Delta Airlines. Delta is in terminal 3. AirTrain to terminal 3.

When I walked up to the line of Delta check-in counters, it was less than 30 minutes before my flight departure. I scanned the counters. The only one open was a middle-aged woman with an oversized nose.

It was with a heavy heart that I walked up to the counter. The rep continued to look away from me. "Excuse me," I said. After fifteen seconds, she turned to me. "Yes?"

I explained in a rush that I needed to check in.

"Flight?" she asks.


"We don't have that one," she said immediately.

"Alaska said you did and that I was on it..."

She clacked at the keyboard without speaking, for a few seconds. "They already closed the gate."

I pleaded. I explained how screwed me. My words tumbled out in a passionate jumble.

"I'll call the gate," she said. She picked up the phone. "Hello hon, this is Mary at the counter. How you doing? Yeah? That's good. Listen, I have this passenger here, seat 32F. ... Uh huh. No bags to check. ... Yeah, I'm willing to walk her through security."

At the last sentence, my heart did a dance, and I thanked her once out loud and many more times silently. She could easily have not offered the extra step of helping me bypass the security line. She could've stopped, and told me the gate was indeed closed.

Thank you Delta representative!

So it was that I became the last person to get on my Delta flight.


Anonymous said...

Next time, look for that little "Operated by:" on the itinerary... but yes, I agree that travel sites should make that way more prominent. In fact, they should list the operating carrier first (since that's where you have to check in), and the booking carrier second.

Also, Expedia is soooooo old school, like 1998 old school. The smart kids these days use kayak... or farecompare... or something like that...

Besides, aren't you supposed to be using your corporate travel agent?

John said...

EXPEDIA?? I was another victim. I created to alert as many people as I can about how bad EXPEDIA is.

Spread the word.!!

Anonymous said...

john, your website is much to jumbled to read. you need to sort the information, because as it stands now, it's hard to see what exactly the problem was with expedia.

John said...

Thanks annymous. I put my case in the main page.

Anonymous said...

i switched TO expedia because of chronic problems of travelocity. Anyone want to start a page?

Anonymous said...

i switched TO expedia because of chronic problems of travelocity. Anyone want to start a page?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the scoop on Expedia is that quality people have left in droves and many undeserving but loyal minions have been promoted too quickly. The company is now driven by a bunch of non-technical PMs who think too highly of themselves. Also there have been instances of flagrant nepotism. Disgusting.