Sunday, June 29, 2008



People do it for fun I'm told.

Anticipating the break?  Yes.  Being at the destination, yes I can see that.  Having the change of scene, enjoying the local treats and being far away from ordinary life concerns, yep.  Having new untried shoppies to investigate and many nice shiny things to play with?  Also yep.

But speak not to me of the airline company and its oxymoronic 'Customer Service'.  Well, we WERE serviced, but it was more of a surprise-from-behind-via-large-horse variety.  I kid you not.

Dear readers, there is a HYOOG difference between 'connecting flights' and 'connecting baggage'.  Trust me on this.  'Flights' means yes you can indeed get off one plane, wander to another departure lounge, and get on another.  Possibly even ending up where you want to be, with your luggage coming out of that weird black hole and going twirlies on the carousel.  'Baggage' means something different entirely.  It means that you can book connecting flights, but if, according to a highly semantic technicality, you have made two separate bookings, or sectors as I now know they are called, your bags will come out of the plane at the connecting airport, where you have to retrieve them and then check back in.  And even though you are promised by a supurrvisor purrson on pain of losing his job (tell someone who cares) that there really IS time to do this in half an hour, this is a LIE.  

What happens is that you retrieve bags, run sweating to the desk with your priority check-in ticket waving from your teeth, see your bags disappear up the treadmill thing, only to have the check-in purrson say 'oh dear the flight's closed'.  Things get farcical after this.

WE are not allowed on the flight.  The friends travelling with us are at the gate, holding up the plane for us, oh noble dear ones, saying 'no no they're on the way, we were promised they'd have time' etc etc, until they were told 'well now YOU have to get on the plane or stay behind'.  Meantime our bags have very efficiently made it onto the plane, thanks to the wonders of baggage handlers.  We otoh are stuck wrangling a customer service purrson who (eventually) has to grovel to us for not checking us in via correct procedure - if she had, the bags would have stayed with us.  She was so mortified when I burst into tears saying 'but my meds are in my bags!' she even said 'Come and stay at my place'.  

V#rg#n REFUSED ALL RESPONSIBILITY for this check-in/luggage shambles, the official word being 'if you check in thru our website it's your responsibility to check these things'.  WHAT???  They set up their check-in system full of bells and advertising whistles encouraging you to make web bookings, oh yes, it's fun, funky, cheaper and foolproof.  BullSHIT.  There is this absolutely fatal flaw in the system, which I might add I wasn't able to avoid even though I also chose to PAY THEM EXTRA by ringing a Customer Service Call Centre (I can think of some other words starting with C I'd like to use here) to ensure all the bookings were streamlined.

The message I get is that it's all my fault for changing my bookings when my travel dates changed.  This world-wide company can't manage streamlining bookings when travel dates change?  Isn't that somewhat equivalent to missing the toilet when you sit down to piddle?

Grrrrrrrr... we were forced to stay the night in a deeply, deeply ordinary and nasty motel, dining on cheapo versions of Lean n Queasy and a small bar of chocolate I happened to have in my bag.  M was so upset he fanged off in a taxi to get booze to help us thru the night. [He was a bit nervous to get a taxi driver in traditional Muslim head-dress, but fortunately no problem.]  We barely slept, I mean, up again at 4.45am to catch two more planes to Canberra, the alternative being to hang around in Brisbane with no motel and no nothing until 3pm.  Not to mention spending large portions of the night composing letters of complaint to Richard the man.

We be grumpy.

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