Archive for November, 2007

Right place, wrong time

November 8, 2007

A crazy thing happened before my recent nonstop Delta flight from Durham, NC, to Boston. The flight was scheduled to leave at 4:25 p.m. I got an email at 1:25 p.m. saying “we have just been advised of a time change.” The flight was rescheduled for 5:36 p.m. On the way to the airport, around 4 p.m., I got another email and an automated call to my cell saying there was another time change — to 8:42 p.m. I headed back home.
Around 7 p.m. I checked the status online, only to learn that my plane was on the runway awaiting takeoff! What??!!

I called Delta and was told “we’re sorry for your misunderstanding. You should have gone to the airport at the time your flight was originally scheduled to depart.”

Now that’s just ridiculous.

I had to rebook for the next morning, greatly inconveniencing many people and missing a meeting. Not to mention that the flight was at the crack o’ dawn, a time of day I do my best to avoid.

Later, Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said in an email, “occasionally we are able to recover from the delay more quickly than expected…. In certain situations, and it is not often, customers can find themselves with circumstances where they are unable to make their flight.”

Translation: There was no “misunderstanding.” I did the right thing, which turned out wrong.

For the record, Delta’s policy of alerting passengers about delays and cancellations is much appreciated. I just hope Delta doesn’t steer me to the right place at the wrong time again. 

Foot and mouth disease?

November 4, 2007

When I travel with Wessel, he does a thorough and spectacular “what-did-we-forget?” search before we check out of our room. He’ll often come up with something he found under the bed, or, more obvious, something I left on the nightstand. (I have been known to find his shampoo in the shower stall.) When I travel alone, I always intend to follow his lead, but more often than not I’m caught up in a mental and physical whirlwind and don’t really see what I’m looking at.

Still, when I returned home from England, having spent a few days alone there after Wessel went home, I could not believe that my electric toothbrush was not in my suitcase. I could picture it next to the sink in my beautiful bathroom at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester, and I was so sure I’d packed it up. On the other hand, I’d had to leave my room at 5 a.m. to catch a taxi to the airport, so anything was possible.

Being an electric-toothbrush addict (my dentist endorses this obsession), I went out and spent $20 on a replacement toothbrush the next day. OK, it’s not a huge amount of money, but it was annoying.

Today, some four weeks later, I went to put on a pair of shoes I don’t often wear. toothbrush in shoeAs I stuck my foot into the right shoe, something blocked it. “What could that be?” I thought, scared it was a  rodent. Nope, it was my electric toothbrush. I’m guessing that I had shoved it through a small opening in the full, bulging suitcase, and it just happened to slide into the shoe. How I didn’t notice it when I unpacked is anyone’s guess.

You could say that I was caught with my  mouth in my foot. Sort of. It was good for a laugh.  And at least now I have a backup, just in case.

License to kill (a rental-car reservation)

November 1, 2007

As Wessel was driving me to the airport to go to my mom’s, near Tampa, Florida, I said, “I have this feeling I’m forgetting something really important.  Well, whatever I’m missing, I can get it there.”

Not quite. What I couldn’t get was another driver’s license. Arrrrgh!! Just before going up to the ticket counter I discovered that my driver’s license was nowhere to be found.

Wessel, already late for work, dashed home to see if he could 1) locate it and 2) bring it to me. (I did this for him with his passport once – and made it back in time!)

No luck.

Southwest said I could fly without a non-government-issued ID, but that I’d get the full pat-down and search. Then I thought about my rental car, through Dollar. This would not be good. Once in Tampa, the Dollar clerk said, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do. We can’t rent you a car without your license in hand.” Period. 

Super Shuttle van at TPA airportMeanwhile, I counted my blessings that I could get a Super Shuttle van drive to Mom’s. Of course the “15 to 20 minutes” I was told I’d be waiting was more like 30. When I asked the ticket seller, “why do you say 15 to 20 minutes when you don’t really know?” she answered, “I’m sorry, hon, that’s what I’ve been told to say.” Good to know their policy.

At my mom’s, an hour later, I had a brilliant flash of one more place to look for my license — my rain jacket, which I’d luckily packed. Yep, I’d put my license there while on a bicycle ride a week earlier. There it was!! I’d had it all along.

Because I travel so much, I keep a packing list. At the top, in large letters, is my reminder to “take Swiss Army knife out of purse!” Now I’ll be adding: “Check for license!”