Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pittsburgh Journey Log

Remember the scene in "Gone with the Wind" when Scarlett is standing in the middle of the fields at Tara after vomiting up the radish she ate, saying with great vehemence, "With God as my witness, I will never be hungry again!"?

Well, picture the same scene with me as Scarlett, no radish boot, saying the same thing about flying US Air.

I called twice in the last four days about flying standby. Both times I was told that all I had to do was go to the airport, pay $25 dollars, and hop on a non-stop flight to Pittsburgh. Now that struck me as strange (both times) because I bought my ticket on Expedia and it includes a changeover in Philly. I pointed this out to both "Customer Service" reps on the phone, and both said that it did not matter.

SOoooo, instead of sleeping in util 8am to catch my 10:30am flight, I woke up at 3:45am and booked it over to the airpiort to catch the 6am. Now, not only does this involve losing sleep I desperately need, it also means taking a cab ($26) instead of the subway ($1.25).

To summarize, the people at the front desk did not let me check in for the 6am. I spent 20 minutes at the desk, then had to call their consumer affairs number, which yielded about the same result as if I'd stood around playing hopscotch for 30 minutes instead of being on hold and talking to two agents.

So I finally returned to the same damn booking lady (a supervisor), and told her.

Now I need to mention that numerous times thorughout this process, I told them that I understood the rules and policy. I was just upset that I was given wrong information twice by two different people. US Air hires incompetent people and the customer is punished.

Of course, no one understood what I was saying because I must have switched into Swahili or something, and they all just kept explaining the policy (Well, you bought on expedia, and these tickets are $584, and you paid $101.) Stupid people piss me off. Listen!! Listen to your customer!

So anyway, I was talking to the supervisor, and of course, you know me. I started crying. (In case you don't know me, here's an example of me watching a commercial: "He didn't wear Right Guard? And he killed the poor squirrel . That's so awful! "

So the lady put me standby on a 6:30 am to @#($*#@$) Philly. I think she felt bad because she knew I was right, so she waved the $25 change fee.

I arrived in Pittsburgh eventually, and plopped myself down at a bar for a few beers while waiting for Dan and Jamie to arrive. I ended up sitting next to a woman from Thetford, VT, who explained to me that it was four miles from Dartmouth College. I told her that was where I did my undergrad, and we sat and talked a while. Anyone that is already halfway through a beer by 10:30am is my kind of person! She eventually had to run for a flight, but a stream of other fun people kept coming. I love airport bars.

Dan and Jamie arrived around 11:45, and we went to pick up the rental car. We drove to the hotel, dropped off the car, checked in, then Dan and I took off for PNC Park to see the Pirates-Cubs game. We bought tickets on the street for $10 a piece. The game at that point had been going on for about an hour. The seats were about 15 rows back from third base! They were great.

We really liked PNC Park. Great view of the city, good food, none too crowded. It looks almost exactly like PacBell in San Fran, possibly designed by the same guy. We had one of the Pittsburgh sandwiched that has meat, coleslaw, tomato, and french fries on it. It was pretty good.


Yoav said...

Sorry to hear these travel woes ;( I hope the rest of the trip goes better -- have fun!

Ilana said...

The trip is awesome! I'm just trying to give USAir the publicity they so sincerely have earned... =D