May 16, 2007
My sister warned me about my connection. She took the same flight last week that I was going to be on and her flight was delayed an
hour. Clarke took the same flight the week before and his flight was delayed an hour. My flight, keeping with the trend, was an hour
delayed. A bit of a problem when your next flight takes off 1½ hours after your flight is originally scheduled to land (we can all thank the
lack-of-radar at the Buenos Aires airport for this).
I ran off the plane in hopes of some miracle that I could clear customs in time for my flight (I had 13 minutes). No hope of that when I saw
the line to go through Passport Control. It kind of made it easy as now I could at least be patient while waiting in line. After all, my flight
was now gone.
I went to the Re-Booking desk with my luggage when I got through customs. I was the only civilian in line as everybody else had just come
off from a military flight. Talk about the perspective that can be put on the situation. Don’t get me wrong – these people looked anything
but unhappy (after all, it was probably a dream of theirs to come home instead of being in Iraq) but I couldn’t help but look at them and
wonder how many months of hell they had just gone through. In any case, I knew that under no circumstances was I going to get upset
with the agent at the counter. There would have to be some solution that would allow me to be back in S.F. tomorrow morning so that I
could get on my flight to New York…
The counter agent pulled up my record. He literally had me come to his side of the counter so that I could see that every flight to San
Francisco was booked. I was supposed to go on a flight that went through LAX and would give me a 7-hour layover there (something I was
looking forward to as I had a couple friends I was going to hang out with). But since I missed the only flight to LAX for the day, that wasn’t
happening. The guy made it seem like I couldn’t get on a flight out today. I explained that I needed to as I needed to catch a flight
tomorrow. He told me (with a bit of a shortness) that I knew what the terms of my ticket fare were. In a very nice way I said “Yes. The
terms were that I was going to get to San Francisco today.”
He told me that there were still possibilities. He walked me to the Reservation Hotline phone and told me to come back to him after seeing
what the reservations agent could do. A very friendly woman answered the phone. I explained my situation to her in a sincere yet
extremely-friendly-and-asking-for-a-big-favor kind of way. I told her I would be fine with any extra connections. She just asked when
today I needed to be in SF and I told her “anytime”. She told me that she was sure there was something they could do.
After holding for a bit, she came back on and told me they found a place for me on the direct flight to SF that was leaving in 2 hours. This
would get me into SF six hours earlier than my original flight I had. I kept thanking her and telling her what a sweetheart she was. She
also said that since she saw I had an aisle on the original flight (40D) she put me in an aisle for the next seat. I said every nicety in the
book short of ‘I love you!’.
I went back to the man at the Re-Booking desk. He was as nice as could be and did my baggage tags. I also thanked him about ten times.
He also confirmed I had an aisle seat as he checked the seat configuration for the flight. He even shook my hand good-bye and told me
with a big smile that he was glad he could help.
I acquired my patience skills while on the road. This is just proof that a lot can be gained by practicing patience (as another civilian guy
next to me at the ticket counter was being quite a handful to his agent and my agent).
Oh. I should mention that I type this while sitting in a bit cushy seat as a flight attendant is on her way to bringing me a glass of wine in
the first-class section of the plane…