Sunday, May 23, 2010

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Our cruise ends in a couple of days, and we are flying to the US.

I think.

British Airways cabin crew are scheduled to strike the day we are supposed to fly with them, but BA is going ahead with our London to San Francisco flight, anyhow. With the cabin crew on strike, I am hoping that they are going to just give each of us 20 of those little booze bottles and tell us to enjoy the flight. Maybe they will even let us use the ovens and heat up some food, too. Not sure. But then again, if there is no cabin crew, who's to stop us?

In any case, the service will probably be heaps better than with the regular BA staff. Because we can all figure out how pleasant they would be if they're so po'd at their company that they want to go on strike.

Our only problem is that we are leaving from Paris that day, not London, and BA has cancelled our Paris to London connecting flight. I spent way too much time on our slow internet connection yesterday trying to figure out how to switch to another BA flight an hour earlier that had not been canceled and finally gave up. Instead I copied the phone number for their Italy office (where we were at the time) and rang them.

I ended up with a long recorded message - in Italian, of course - and it dawned on me that everybody who had a ticket was calling BA to reschedule flights and I was likely to end up on hold for a very long time. If, in fact, that is even what the recording was saying in the first place. For all I know, it could have been a BA manager fluent in Italian saying, "Our flight attendants are hoping to save their jobs by making sure that our record losses this year get even bigger. They are to organized labor what the Greeks are to the European Union. When we finally go bankrupt, we hope they enjoy asking their next set of customers if they want fries with their burgers."

Anyhow, I grabbed the laptop and walked to a place on the ship where I could get a reasonable internet signal and logged onto Qantas since we had booked these flights through their website using frequent flyer miles. Lo and behold, there's a message waiting for me. Seems they wanted us to know that our flight from Paris to London has been changed to one leaving an hour earlier. And we are confirmed on it.

Isn't life great when things work out that easily? Well, I can't really answer that for you. Because about eight hours later I got a voicemail on my mobile phone. It was from Qantas. They were sorry to inform me but the flight we had booked from Paris to London has been cancelled due to the strike and we need to speak with British Airways to book an alternative. They then left a phone number that can be used in France, which will be convenient when we finally get there. Except that it costs 15 Euro cents a minute and I am pretty sure I will be on hold for a very long time.

I am really not sure what's going on. I have a printout of a confirmed booking on the new Paris-to-London flight. And eight hours later I have someone telling me I need to speak to BA to get on that flight. I guess I should call them tomorrow when we get to France, but with the Aussie dollar in freefall, I won't be able to avoid hearing the ka-chings in my mind as those 15 Euro cents start adding up.

No matter what, though, I am feeling pretty confident that we will make it to the good old US of A on schedule.

Assuming, of course, that a certain volcano in Iceland decides to cooperate.

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