Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What a long strange trip it is

I never made it to Atlanta yesterday. After the three and a half hour delay and a gate change, we were finally scheduled to leave Houston. Scheduled to leave, however, is no promise that you'll actually be leaving. We boarded the plane, were all accounted for, seatbelts buckled, cabin door shut, and cell phones turned off. We sit there. We sit there a while longer. Then we are told that the flight has been delayed another hour and a half. If we want to do so, we can get off the plane. Or what? Sit on this plane parked at the gate for an hour and a half with no air circulating? I hardly think it an option. Standing near the gate, considering what options I did have, the next thing I heard was the announcement that our flight has again been re-scheduled. We will now be departing three hours later, at 9:24. Upon investigation, I learned that they hoped to depart at that time (their word, hope, not mine) but it was still no guarantee that we'd be able to do so as there was still unstable weather in and around Atlanta. Unstable = Severe thunderstorms. At this point, unstable = me. After six hours at the airport, I changed my flight to this morning, and headed for home, dinner and sleep.

This morning was a new day and all was sunshine, on schedule, and smooth flying. Sadly though, not smooth driving. Note to Budget: When you say that my car will be ready in a few minutes, what I hear you say is that my car will be ready in a few minutes. I do not hear you say what you really mean, which is that you hope my car will be ready within an hour because you have no cars and can only give them out as they are returned, and after they're vacuumed and washed. If you would just tell people the truth up front, then they wouldn't be checking their watches every two minutes and stomping up to the counter to inquire when their car will be ready. A multitude of red-faced hissy fits are going on at the counter and I'm sitting in a seat reading my book. Why not? Waiting is the theme of this trip. Plus, I let it go because I know that we're only human and mistakes do happen sometimes.

I understand that very well on this trip.

Finally, I arrive at our office, give my presentations, attend my meetings and wrap the work day at a reasonable hour. Time to go to my hotel and relax a bit. But when I get to my hotel and try to check in, the woman behind the counter looks at me and flatly states that they do not have a reservation for me. At this I begin to crack. I begin to feel a hatred bubbling up in me for people behind counters. I begin to feel that this counter just might be the one that produces my own hissy fit.

How could you not have my reservation, I ask nicely but, I admit, with a bit of exasperation. Thinking someone around this place cannot type, and maybe can't hear, I slowly spell my name for her. She re-checks. No reservation.

I explain to her that I called yesterday to notify them that I would not be arriving as previously scheduled, but to still hold my Wednesday reservation. I explain it calmy but very seriously. Still, what I get in return is: I'm sorry Mam, but I do not see a reservation under your name.

In a bit of a huff, I drop my briefcase to the floor, flip it open, pull out my printed confirmation, and read her the number in a tone that conveys my confidence because I DO have a confirmation number and that number proves I have a reservation, and she WILL honor it and GIVE ME A ROOM.

Not their confirmation number.

This is the Marriott, isn't it?

No Mam, this is the Residence Inn.



tinyhands said...

Sorry, but I had to laugh at that last bit. So close and yet, wrong.

Sass said...

I would laugh if I haven't done the exact same thing with Hilton locations. Hopefully you got a room and are enjoying Atlanta and Buckhead