Summer 2010, Cont’d
We had a great time with all our OBU visitors, and our World Cup adventure was definitely one for the books. Our next adventure came a few days later when our friends Matt and Tiffani began their journeys to Cambridge. We’ve been planning their visit for a long time, and we were super excited for them to finally get here so that we could start our UK Road Trip Adventure 2010. We were receiving regular text message updates with the status of their travel progress. Tiff’s plane from LA to Chicago had a minor blip, which meant she had to be re-routed to St. Louis and await a flight to Chicago from there. Foolishly, we thought that this would be the end of the travel drama, and it was for the better anyway since Tiff and Matt were now in the same airport just a few gates away from each other. The next text message, however, was the kicker… from Tiffani: “Matt’s flights are all cancelled. All.”
This is a good time for a lesson in how airlines work. When a flight gets cancelled, the airline has to find the least disruptive way to re-route all its passengers. This ‘least disruptive’ strategy means that most of what you’ll hear when talking to the airline is, “I’m sorry… we can’t… there’s no way… it’s not possible.” As it turns out, what is ‘least disruptive’ for the airline is ‘most disruptive’ for the travelers. When Matt’s flights were cancelled, the airline began with the usual strategy of seeing how much this particular passenger was willing to be screwed. It went something like, “I’m sorry, we can’t get you on a flight to Chicago today at all, and there’s no way to get you to London for another two days. It’s just not possible.” Matt could’ve said, “okay,” and the airline would have won. Lesson #1: never give up, never surrender. When the Man tries to keep you down, you keep fighting until the Man gets you to London.
[Anxiously awaiting Matt’s arrival at Heathrow]
Matt was a champ, employing the “this is unacceptable” attitude until they finally said, “okay, fine, we’ll get you to London.” See, this is what really chaps my hide. The airline says, “I’m sorry, that’s not possible,” but I always feel like I’m being lied to when they say that. It doesn’t make sense to tell someone getting to London is impossible when there are thousands of other people going to London on different airlines that very night. In this case, the airline should’ve said something like, “well, we really don’t want to do anything about your situation, but if you complain enough, then we may just have to find a way to get you to London…” which is exactly what they did.