Thursday, September 3, 2015

Travel woes

If you're used to flying Southwest like me, you probably take the world to be a warm, friendly, trusting place, entirely free of malice. I consider Southwest an extension of my front yard. It's not my favorite place to put a lounge chair and sip on some coconut water but familiar and comfortable nonetheless. That is on a bad day. On a good day Southwest is my girlfriend who I can call in the middle of the night to crib about work and weight issues. It knows me intimately. I mean, in the capacity of a frequent flyer. Potato pahtato, right? It knows me, it gets me. We share a really special bond.

I don't expect camaraderie from a foreign railway company or airline. I'm not saying lets get all pally pally and take a pouted selfie together. Not going that far. But a howdy won't hurt.

Turns out I expect the world sometimes.

"Thank you for buying a euro rail pass at the 11th hour, Ms. Joshi."
"Oh you know, chores chores..."
"Yeah, not our problem. FYI there's no print-at-home option. We'll ship you your pass which will weigh a kg."
"Wait, an actual paper ticket an all? Wow, I thought those were only found in museums now."
"We'll also charge you an enormous fee for expedited shipping and some more for rolling your eyes."
"That is not even..."

"Your booking with RyanAir is now confirmed, Ms. Joshi. Please be responsible enough to bring a paper boarding pass in this era of smart phones. The airline will charge you 70 euros to print it at the terminal otherwise."
"Ha ha nice one."
"Not joking."
"Wait, what?"

"Your booking with RyanAir is now confirmed. You may choose a seat if you like."
"Choose a seat! Woo. You know in Southwest..."
"Not interested."
"Ok, sorry. Let me find a seat."
"That'll be 35 euros."
"No, I don't want a seat in the cockpit. I get all claustrophobic."
"I meant cattle class."
"And if I don't pick a seat?"
"Where will you sit, tell me."
"Wait, so what does a ticket confirmation get me?"
"A promise that we'll do all we can to fleece you."

"Ms. Joshi, your carry on looks like a check in. We'll have to check it in."
"Ha you know American portion sizes are bigger than tapa size."
"Please, don't waste our time with your lame humor huh?"
"Sorry, I mean, this is standard carry on size in the US."
"Not standard here. We make our own rules. 60 euros please."
"For checking in my teensy weensy bag for a 1 hour flight?"
"You heard me."
"Wait, your website says bag checkin fees are 40 euros."
"That's a web special promotion."
"So I was supposed to foresee all of these and pay online?"
"Can you hurry up?"

Finally, on board RyanAir. Just as a flight attendant is about to sell me a cappuccino for 7 euros, my phone beeps. It's a deeply personal email (account summary email if you will) from Southwest. "We've missed you."

I do a Europe trip roughly once a year so technically none of this should surprise me. What can I say, Southwest spoils me. It makes me Bloody Marys just the way I like it. It auto checks me in. The crew are all stand up comics of sorts and entertain. And once it even got an entire flight to sing me happy b'day on my flight to LA.

Oh Southwest, how I have missed thee!

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