Sunday, 7 September 2014

Off to Europe

What do you mean, we can't get on the plane? Fighting a full on urge to start screaming in the middle of the airport, instead I start to pray, and I mean seriously pray.

"So sorry, ma'am", the man at check-in murmers, not looking the least bit sorry, "but your ticket has been assigned to Geres Marlo Geres, and your passport says Arlene Marlo Geres. We can't let you on the plane, as you do not have a ticket in your name."

"Well, can't you just change it on your computer?"

"No, our regulations don't allow it because of air traffic security. You will have to get the travel agent who issued the ticket to issue you another one in your correct name. And you will have to do it quickly, as our check-in for this flight closes in half an hour."

It was at this moment that I seriously considered freaking out, but I can hear my ever so patient husband muttering behind me, "stay calm, stay calm", as I ask where we might find a phone, since we have left our cell phones at home. At first the agent says that we are going to have to go outside the airport to find a payphone, but when he sees that I am close to erupting into tears, he takes pity on us and leads us over to a desk where we are allowed to use a phone, "but only for local calls," he says.

By now, I am shaking, trying to figure how to reach the online travel agent that we had used because we got such a great deal on this flight. Bryce starts looking through his ipad for a copy of the purchase agreement, and I start scanning the printout of the flight info. Ah, there it is, Cheap Fare Guru. I quickly google to find the phone number and dial the number, my heart pounding in my chest, sure that we will never reach a real person. I am pleasantly surprised to hear someone actually answer the phone. With time quickly ticking away, I explain our dilemna to the person on the other end of the line, and as nicely possible, ask if he could please issue another ticket with my correct name.

"So sorry, madam, but we can't do that until Monday, and it will cost you $500 to change your ticket."

"What? No, no, no, we have booked our hotel in London, and from there our hotel in Paris. We can't wait until Monday, that would mess everything up. Are you sure you can't just change the name?"

"So sorry, ma'am, that is not possible."

"Well, then, can you cancel this ticket, and I will just buy a new one directly from the airline?" I ask, knowing that I will probably pay double for a last minute ticket.

"Yes, ma'am, we can do that, but there is a $500 cancellation fee."

Oh my goodness, I can feel the panic rising, there is only 25 minutes left, and we are going to have to sell our granchildren, remortgage our house, and come out of retirement in order to buy a ticket to London. Pray, pray, pray, "please, please, please, God, please help us. No wait, We're supposed to pray for God's will. Okay, God, thy will be done, but I really really want to get on that plane without having to break the bank to do it."

"Okay, Mr. Cheap Fare Guru, don't cancel the ticket, let me see if there is anything else here that I can do first."

I hang up the phone and ask to speak to the Air Canada manager. Jody listens sympathetically to our story, but once again explains that because of safety regulations, she cannot change the name on my ticket. Now, I really am going to cry! "Wait," she says, let's go over to ticketing and see if they can help you." We follow her for what seems like a ten mile walk to where a lovely young woman looks at me and says, "Why didn't you check the name on your ticket?"

"Because I'm stupid," was the only answer that I could come up with. We bought these tickets a full 7 months ago, so it wasn't like we didn't have time. We just never thought to check!

"Well, let's see what we can do, says Rosemary.

"Can I kiss you, Rosemary, you're the first person who has given us even a glimmer of hope in this terrible mess!"

"Hmmm, no, that's not a very good idea, but I think I can change your ticket for you for the first leg of your trip. You're going to have to call the travel agent, though, to get them to change your name for your return trip. And I won't be able to seat you and your husband together."

"At this point, I don't care, I just want to get on that darned plane. But I really would like to kiss you!"

"Um no, bad idea, but let's get the golf cart to take you and your husband to the gate since you're so late."

Off we went, whisked through the expedited lane at security, and arrived at the gate, where people were already loading. When it was our turn, the attendant noted that I did not have an assigned seat, and I asked if it would be possible to seat Bryce and I together. The gentleman at the gate said, "yes, as a matter of fact, I have two seats together in business class, which will give you some extra leg and elbow room."

Oh my gosh, I must remember to pray for God's will all the time. This turned out way better than I could have imagined. Business class is so luxurious compared to regular class. The seats are extra wide, there is a nice little foot rest, and lots of leg room. We got first class service, and were able to actually get some sleep, which is highly unusual for both of us on a plane.

Yes indeed, God is good!

If you have read any of my posts in the past, you know that half of the fun for Bryce and I is NOT taking a tour, as we enjoy setting our own easy pace, and learning as we go.

So, today's lesson is: always check to see that the name on your ticket is correct!

Travelling light. We are off for a month with our small backpacks and small carry on bag.


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