Following on from my little set-to with United Airline’s automated non-service line last week, the flight attendant on the much delayed flight from Austin to Chicago suggested at one point (while we were waiting in the refueling area in Indianapolis) that we should contact the United 1-800 number to check on later flights and to help resolve our missed connections.
Like a fool, I listened to that advice, called the number, and selected the option to query flight departure times thinking I could find out when my London flight was leaving and perhaps reserve a seat on a later flight, if necessary.
“Please speak or type the flight number you are inquiring about.”
(Not being a complete fool, I typed the flight number)
“Your flight appears to have multiple stops, please say the name of the city you want the departure time for.”
“I do not understand. Which of these cities do you mean? Portland–” (a flight attendant walks by muttering, the voice recognition system picks it up and stops talking)
“Did you mean Detroit?”
“My mistake. Your flight appears to have multiple stops, please say the name of the city you want the departure time for.”
“I do not understand. Which of these cities do you mean? Portland–” (my neighbor coughs)
“Did you mea–” (a baby cries out nearby)
“My mista–” (a passenger walks by)
“Are you inquiring about a domestic or international flight?”
I hang up. Yelling down the phone in private is one thing. Doing in front of a planeload of tired and irritable people is quite another. Then about a minute afterwards, someone just in front of me (one of those going to Kiev) by some miracle got through to a live operator only to be told that nothing could be done about remaking connections until we all got to Chicago anyway!