I hate feeling helpless. Now it’s happening to me. While busy packing and sorting through my wardrobe, I got an automated call from Continental Airlines informing me that my flight for the day after tomorrow has been cancelled. I tried calling the number that I was given but naturally, no one is answering. At first I was panic-stricken. “Oh my god, I’ll never get out of here.” I thought to myself. And worse yet, I’m travelling on a frequent flyer ticket so I will no doubt be on the bottom of the list of priority passengers. Will I ever get through to Continental? Will they contact me?
I’m still staggering around with jet lag from my recent return from India and that flight was rerouted to Chicago because the Newark airport was covered in a thick blanket of snow. In Chicago I got Continental’s royal treatment: no explanation and no one around to talk to. Eventually we were given two meal vouchers: one for $6.00 and one for $8.00. These did not cover the cost for a sandwich or a pizza, let alone a beverage to go with them.
I found an empty bench and could no longer keep myself from the sleep my body desperately craved. About ten hours later, after the crew had their required period of rest, our flight resumed and I was on my way to Newark. I didn’t hesitate to pay the $75.00 taxi fare into New York. The driver was cordial and helped me with my bulky bags as I gingerly stepped off the curb into the slush in my sandals and socks.
I gave my address and added, ” Can you please take the Williamsburg Bridge?” The driver, who seemed pleasant enough at first seemed to over react. “Where are you going, lady? I thought you said that you were going to the Village?” We argued for a bit. I insisted that I knew where I was going. I’ve lived at that address most of my adult life. Then it dawned on me. I forgot that I was at Newark airport and I was giving him instructions for coming from Kennedy. I apologized and explained what I had done wrong. We chuckled. I was so sleep deprived and out of it.
I’d rather be in my apartment waiting to get out than in O’Hare but somehow it seems hopeless and futile and Continental doesn’t really care about its customers, especially those travelling with a free (yeah, like it really might be free) ticket. Everything is so complicated. I know that it could be worse but that really isn’t any consolation.