Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ski Trip to B.C: Delta, Who said Canadians are nice?

Continuation from yesterday: 5:30 a.m. at the Delta International counter at Logan. I ask about my flight and ticket agent starts typing into her terminal. Calls over another agent in red jacket who starts typing.

Agent Red: "Your flight to Minneapolis has been delayed till 11:00."

Me: "What about our connection to Calgary? We have to catch a 6:30 bus from Calgary."

Agent Red: "You won't make connection."

Agent Red types, makes a couple of phone calls and rebooks my travel companion, Erik, and I on Air Canada flights to Toronto and on to Calgary.

We thank the nice lady in the Red Jacket.

We traipse with our 8-foot ski bags from one terminal to another. We check in at Air Canada and wait at the gate.

Ominous weather report on TV at Air Canada terminal: New England will be lashed by huge storm, hurricane winds, epic rain and snow.

I approach Air Canada agent at gate for flight to Toronto.

Me: "Is the flight to Toronto on time?"

Air Canada agent: "It's all set, boarding in one hour."

Me: "Shouldn't the plane be outside next to the gangway if we're leaving in an hour?"

Agent: "It's all set, boarding in one hour."

I go to the window facing the gangway. No plane.

There are no planes coming or going on the runway.

It has started to rain, the sky has turned gray.

My mood has turned gray. I return to my seat and start reading my book, "So Long, See You Tomorrow." The book is about a murder. I am in the mood for a good murder story.

Twenty minutes later, I look out the window. No plane.

Me: "Shouldn't the plane be outsie next to the gangway, if we're leaving in an hour?"

Agent: "It's all set, boarding in 30 minutes.

Boarding time, comes and goes. I can't afford to piss off gate agent -- if flight is delayed or cancelled. I will need her help.

Plane arrives, we board 30 minutes late. I look at the snotty gate agent. So Long, See You Tomorrow.

An hour and a half later, plane arrives on time in Toronto. We board four-hour flight to Calgary.

We take a shuttle bus from Calgary airport to Grey Hound terminal to wait five hours for six hour bus ride to our final destination, Revelstoke, B.C.

Dear Greyhound,

I have been taking your buses for more than 30 years. During that time, I have learned to set my expectations for customer service low and my expectations for normal behavior from fellow passengers even lower. Your bus operation in Calgary, has forced me to reset my expectations.

Here's what happened on Feb 24:

At the Calgary Greyhound terminal, I approached the check-in counter. Middle-aged agent was chatting with a co-worker. I waited. He chatted. I waited some more. He glanced at me and chatted some more. Eventually, he answered my question.

An hour later, I approached check-in counter. I posed question to over-weight female agent. She typed into terminal with her one good hand. hunt. peck. hunt. peck. hunt. peck.

The bus arrived. Passengers lined up in front of a small desk in front of the gate. A twenty-something guy in a uniform put on a pair of plastic surgical gloves. Behind him, a large woman in uniform twirled a large black device about the size of a night-stick.

He searched everyone's carry on bags. He made remarks, like:

"You can't take those cupcakes on board, unless you give me a bite, hey?"

He is a funny man.

He searched my bag. Bag all set. I had a pair of ski boots attached by a strap.

Funny man in uniform: "Can't let you take those boots on. You'll have to check them for under the bus."

Me: "Is there any chance you could let me slide? These boots are my babies and they cost $900."

Funny man: "With that strap, you could swing them around like a pair of numbchuks."

Me: "What if I promise not to swing my $900 ski boots like numbchuks?"

He says OK.

The big woman with night stick-device, runs it along my the front of my legs, over my crotch, around my ass.

Big woman: "Turn around."

She runs device over my ass, down back of my thighs. I appreciate her thoroughness; I haven't had this much action in months.