Monday, October 11, 2010

One thing I did not expect to be saying tonight:

"You are an angel, Ann Marie."

I missed my plane back to Abu Dhabi tonight, through a comedy of errors that involved a terrible rain storm, which, when it lifted, paved the way for a 99km-long traffic jam heading into Toronto. All of that could have been dealt with had I not run out of gas before leaving London, Ontario in my rental car due to a combination of factors, which, I think it would only be fair to say, include my being slightly *special* and a huge fan of the in-car satellite radio. Such a fan that my enjoyment frequently involved turning it up much more than a notch, so as to miss that crucial warning ding signaling I was almost out of gas. Failing that, and I did of course, the neon sign on the Ford Fusion dashboard actually had a very effective fuel-control system in that it counted down the kilometres until the car would hit EMPTY. I believe that too would have been an excellent indicator of the pending situation had I bothered to glance at it, even when I pointed out the impressive and futuristic array to my father earlier in the day.

Long and short, as I approached the lone ticket agent at a deserted British Airways counter, I began to realise the worst had happened. Never having missed a plane before, I figured that the solution would involve perhaps a hotel stay or an expensive one-way ticket. Nope, just a little rearrangement and a couple of different airlines and I could be on my way in mere hours.

Her name was Ann Marie too, I could see it right there on her name tag and oddly it was the first thing that came out of my mouth after she told me I couldn't get on the 7.55pm to Abu Dhabi via London. Then she calmly and deftly sorted me out, refusing to let me fly Emirates because I would have a long taxi ride at the end of a long flight, getting me into Abu Dhabi with a combination of airlines not British Airways, even stopping to ask with concern if it would be "safe" for me to land in Abu Dhabi at the late hour of midnight and wondering how I would get home from the airport.

And so I said it, "you are an angel, Ann Marie", and I meant it, walking away with a big smile on my face, heart still pounding from the stress of it all.

Anyone else ever missed their flight? Have the airlines been as accommodating?

I am truly impressed and on this Canadian Thanksgiving, when I leave with a full heart from quality time with my awesome family and friends, thankful and blessed.

3 comments:

Rambling Hal said...

On my first trip back to Jordan after I had moved to Abu Dhabi 2 years ago, I think I flew Etihad. I missed my flight (not for the 1st time, but the only time that it was terrible).. I was in the airport around 50 minutes before take off but they wouldn't let me check in! No angel in sight: I was refused any help and told I have to manage. The next flight was full and I would have to be on waiting list, and the expectation was that I wouldn't make it. So I forked over a wad of cash to pay for a business class seat on the later flight - I had no other choice! It SUCKED. I'm really glad your experience was nothing like that.

DubaiSunshine said...

I've missed a flight once. In Toronto airport too funnily enough! And flying back to Abu Dhabi too!

Was going from Montreal to Toronto then to Abu Dhabi via Amsterdam. The Montreal flight was delayed and by the time I switched terminals, and found my way to the KLM counter, the flight was about to take off in 15 minutes. Yep. 15 minutes till take-off but they wouldn't let me on the plane.

I begged an pleaded to no avail. And there was no offer of help at all. Luckily some family friends picked me up so I spent the night in TO and flew out the next day.

Can you tell that I'm still bitter about it?

Duffy said...

"Anyone else ever missed their flight? Have the airlines been as accommodating?"

I've missed a few flights both in the US and abroad. In every instance, the carriers abroad were very accommodating and helpful. Conversely, US airline personnel appear to have been trained by Dilbert's manager. Nothing is ever possible, they lie with impunity. It's as if they will be tasered for being helpful.