Hey! Were you on a friggin awful plane ride? Sat next to an awful person?
Got treated real bad? Bathroom? Puke? Rudeness? Write it on up!


A few years ago I had the opportunity to fly to New York last minute for a weekend filled with Broadway shows and Manhattan night life. Anyway, the day-of-flight ticket was way expensive, so I called my cousin who at the time was a flight attendant for a major airline that rhymes with Fu-nited.  She had these “friends fly free” vouchers where you go to the airport and give them your name, and if there’s any room on the flight, you’re golden.  So the flight out was a dream, it was 7 am on a Friday, like 10 people on the plane (including my four friends who had planned this trip for months), and I got a first class seat with breakfast and all that good stuff.

One alcohol-fueled weekend in New York later…

Sunday was a whole different story.  I got there at 9 am for a 1 pm flight. By the way, this was my wife’s birthday.  Last thing she said before I took this trip, “OK, just be back for my birthday…”  All the flights seemed to be filling up.  One after another.  I didn’t realize if you are on these vouchers, when you don’t get on stand-by on one flight, you are at the bottom of the stand-by list for the next flight.  And so on, and so on, all day.  That wasn’t the worst thing though.  No one would help me.  I’m from Chicago, so I asked if any flights could get me to Milwaukee, or Gary, or Madison, or anywhere my wife could pick me up.  No one bothered to look it up.  I asked how much it would be to just BUY a one-way ticket home.  I was told $800.  Sheesh….


That’s when I flipped out and said something horrible about the financial status of this airline. Apparantly, I made the desk clerk cry.  I went back to my seat, where it was now about 5 pm.  I got to talking to a nice woman in the terminal, and she told me she was in a similar situation, so she just went ahead a bought a ticket.  “You spent $800 to get home?” I asked. She looked at me strange. “No, I paid about $250.” WHAT?? I stormed back to the desk where a different woman was working and asked what the price for a one-way ticket to Chicago was. “About $260,” she said. I couldn’t believe it. Sold. I bought it right then and there.


Then the customer service manager came up to me and asked about my earlier altercation.  I told him what happened, and even offered to apologize to the woman I heard I upset.  Instead, he took away my voucher and said I was flying as a representative of the airline and my cousin was subject to disciplinary action, blah blah blah. (My cousin later laughed at those suggestions, she’d been there over 20 years). He tried to take away my ticket I had just bought, too, and I was like “Hey, I just paid for that!” He thought it was a ticket the woman issued me for the voucher.  He almost ripped it up in front of me. Luckily, I saved it.


So, I was in the airport for 12 hours.  My friends were on a 9 pm flight, and were surprised to see me still there.  I got to ride home with them.  Not in first class, but I was glad to be out of there. I saw about an hour of my wife’s birthday. 


Geoff from Chicago



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