A couple months back I booked a ticket to Florida for Thursday, February 23 at 1:00am. Yes, I had it all figured out. I'd hop on that Thursday night red-eye and arrive in Florida Friday morning. I would be met there by the grandest of all paternal grandparents, who would be nervous and concerned that I didn't bring a jacket, and then my grandmother would tell me to go to law school. It was a perfect plan.
Except, of course, that Thursday at 1:00am is on Wednesday night, not Thursday night. So it was two days ago that I received my confirmation email from Cheaptickets.com (the Charles Barkley to Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity's Jordan, Magic and Bird). I glanced over it to see my exact departure time, and I noticed that it had me arriving on Thursday morning, not Friday morning. An understandable, yet undeniably idiotic misstep on my part.
"No problem!" I thought. I'll just call Cheaptickets.com, and they'll move me to 24 hours later. After enduring 45 minutes of Pachelbel's Canon interspersed with Cheaptickets promotions, a young woman picked up. It went something like this:
Young Woman: Thank you for calling Cheaptickets.com, the Charles Barkley of internet travel agencies.
Me: Hi. So I did something dumb. I--
Young Woman: Sir I'll just need your phone number.
Me: [wondering why they always want my phone number] 310 587 0796
Young Woman: And I'll need your Cheaptickets record locator.
Young Woman: G as in giraffe, is that right?
Me: Um, no. D as in duck.
Young Woman: So that's DHD8BTT
Me: No! It's--
And with the phone clutched tightly between my ear and shoulder, I accidentally hung up. If someone was nearby my apartment at that moment they would have assumed I was watching Aladdin and that they had heard Jafar's reaction when he realized that Abu had stolen the lamp. Yes, the two reactions were basically identical. Something like, "NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!". I even pointed my face up to the sky and extended my arms in anguish, just like Jafar. There hasn't been a noise that loud coming from my apartment since my computer froze after I had spent 8 hours inputting notes into a 60 page composition that was being performed the next day and I lost all but the first 4 pages.
After 5 minutes of meditation, I called back. After 45 fresh minutes of the Pachelbel-Cheaptickets.com collaboration, a young woman picked up:
Young Woman: Thank you for calling--
Me: 310 587 0796
Young Woman: Uh...right...and I'll need--
Young Woman: Okay...and what's the problem today?
I went on to explain the problem, and she cheerfully offered to switch me to a later flight-- for $1,100. After my inevitably rude reaction, she suggested that I try flying standby.
So tonight I did. And I'd prefer not to detail the hideous 3 hour fiasco that took place at the airport. Let's just say that a) I certainly didn't make any friends there, and b) I'm still in LA.
Sometimes, you get the bear. And sometimes, you watch TiVo'd figure skating.