Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Life in the Lower classes

OK so I was forced to travel to the Netherlands with the regular folks in steerage...err...I mean economy. You see I am here for a conference, and my company has implemented a Business class over 6 hours and work related ONLY policy. This flight was 8 hours but since it was not for a specific project, but instead educational, never mind I am one of the presenters, I could not take my beloved Business class seat.

Now I fly much, and generally it has been in Business Class so this was a bit of a culture shock ( They would not let me into the Business Lounge!!), but to make matters worse there were these items:

1) March 2, 2009 the biggest snow storm on the eastcoast occurs and Javier has a flight.
2) In the great wisdom of travel management, My company decides they want to stagger the Corporate Amex bills and thus initiat a process where on my way to the airport I find out that my new corporate amex is in the office and that the one i have now has been cancelled. I find out because someone in the office calls me to warn me that a notice was sent out at work. DOH!!
3) So now after being the phone with Amex for an hour they tell me they will overnight me the new card to the hotel, it will be there by the 6th. Its now the 2nd.

Me: you know thats 4 days, not exactly overnight

Amex: Well the international desk folks are out of the office right now, and I dont think they can get a card in to you overnight when they come in.

Me: so bottomline, you can't "overnight" it to me...ever, you are just saying that

Amex: Sorry, but yeah thats basically what it comes down to I guess

Me: so OK there is nothing you guys can do to "uncancel" the card at least until I get the new one?

Amex: Nope. It says here on your record that the card is cancelled and it would take longer to uncancel it than to send you a new one.

Me: OK so how can I check in?

Amex: Perhaps you have another card with you?

YESAmex is suggesting I use a competitor. Anyhow after another 30 minutes of finagling and being passed onto a better customer service dude, he redeems Amex by calling the hotel and arranging to have my stay authorized using the new card number that I do not have yet.

However until I do get my card all my expenses meals are going on my debit card which SUCKS!

So now I get to the airport, and find that although my flight is delayed, I luck out that the earlier flight was also delayed and that I could get on it. thus by some trick of fate I end up leaving at almost the same time.

So I check in and head towards the business class lounge, when with a pang of regret I realize I will not be able to go into the halls, of comfort and joy that have over the years of my international business travel given me comfort with free wine and beer. Those people at the front desk would merely scoff at my SILVER ELETE status if I tried to use that angle. There would be no sympathy.

So I headed on over to the gate, where I saw all of the economy travellers, who could not sit down for long due to the seats that seem made to keep you from falling alseep, they somehow manage to always have a metal bar jab you if you lean to far to the left or right. WTF?! Everyone fighting for the last outlet in the wall to be able to plug intheir laptops. It was barbaric!

Seeingthis inspires me to make one last ditch effort to get in business class on the cheap, I head on over to the counter in front of the gate with my winningest smile possible and ask if I can be put on the list to get bumped up ( if you outright ask for it you are looked upon as somewhat of an ASS, just an insider tip from me to you). The woman just looked at me with a half closed eyes and said they ar overbooked, no upgrades.

As I left I sought out one last shot at dignity, "Say with my Silver Elete Status can I board with the first class folks?", she said YES! VICTORY!!! I finally get some recognition for my loyalty! I can board with the important people!

So as I get onboard, feeling pretty important again, I see an immediate problem with my seat, it is right in front of a wall. In otherwords it will not recline. In this case it did slightly, like one inch, and when it did that it would slam into the wall behind me. So I have to sit like his for 8 freaken hours! No other seats available! This just never ends!

For a movie they were showing "Slumdog Millionaire" a movie I had been wanting to see! Its an Oscar winner! However as the movie starts I realize they are speaking Hindi ( I guess) and that the movie is subtitled...in DUTCH!! ( I was flying KLM the Royal DUTCH airlines, owned by the French BTW).

So basically the flight sucked. The only good things was that they let me drink wine and beer freely on the flight so I arrived this morning with a crook in my neck and a hangover. Can't Wait for this conference!

So now I am off to take a nap.

1 comment:

ramster said...

after this, ironman will be a snap!