Thursday, August 16, 2007

Flight changes... for the better

On the last day of John's July visit, we called Aeroplan and booked his flight to come here for the wedding and return on our honeymoon. The return leg of the flight really stunk (in my opinion), as it meant leaving SJ at suppertime and arriving at LAX at 10:30 Pacific. By the time we would get the shuttle to his apartment, it would be the equivalent of 4am Atlantic. I was not relishing this travel schedule, especially as it meant the next day would basically be a write-off. We are not going to have much time for a honeymoon as it is.

I called Aeroplan again last week, just to see if any seat availability had opened up, but found nothing. The agent stressed to me that I should try in another week. I called back yesterday, and much to my surprise, I was able to change John's flight to leave SJ @ 11:35am and fly into Orange County, landing around midnight Atlantic. Much, much better.

Tonight I booked my own ticket, which also covers the conference I am attending for work. Because we booked the tickets separately, I had to make sure we'd be able to sit together. It's our honeymoon, so sitting together is pretty important. This is also the first time we will have traveled by plane together. I was able to pick seats on the Air Canada segments to be beside him, but our last leg is a United flight from Chicago to Orange County. Aeroplan had told me that I could call them, link our booking references, and then they'd ensure we'd have seats together. Not so when you have a United flight in the mix.

Aeroplan gave me the phone number for United, so I called them up to get myself a seat next to John. Like Aeroplan, United now has a voice recognition system. You have to say the letters/numbers in your booking reference one character at a time, then the automated attendant repeats it back to you. It even suggests you use phrases like "L as in Larry" to assist the process. After 5 very clear attempts to enunciate as much as possible, the stupid system still wasn't getting it. It would get one of the 6 characters wrong, making me start all over again. Finally, it realized I needed an agent and transferred me. The agent was able to understand me quite well, and was able to seat me beside John on our last leg of the trip. I also picked seats for my two United return flights, though the pickin's were slim. I ended up in a window seat from OC to Chicago, so as to avoid being 9 rows even further back. Hope I don't have to pee much. I opted for an aisle seat between Chicago and Toronto, it was only 3 back from my other choice. I prefer the aisle because I often have to go to the bathroom, plus I often end up having to run to make a flight. The aisle is just easier that way.

It still surprises me that I was able to get John's flight changed. Thanks for the break this time. :)

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