The news of a passenger being dragged off United Airlines because they over-booked AGAIN has everyone talking about their own episodes. I’ve got one.
Three of us were headed back to the US after a successful time in India. We arrived at the Mumbai airport early, even before the British Air ticket people were manning the counter. So we waited and were in the front of the line. They were over-booked and offered us a seat for the next day, a hotel room for the night and a bunch of British Pounds. Jonathon said his boys wanted him home. Sanjay had the same excuse only it was his girls. But nobody wanted me at home, so I was in. I was told to sit “over there” and wait until they started boarding.
This was before they rebuilt this airport. Most of the Indian airports are now absolutely beautiful—ten-times better than anything we have in the US—brand new, state-of-the-art and look like a mall on the inside with all sorts of name-brand stores, even a furniture store in the Delhi airport. Not sure a sofa will fit in the overhead compartment, but I digress. This was before that, so I was battling dust from a lot of people coming and going, animals running around and sitting on a hard plastic chair with my luggage surrounding me for over 4-hours.
Finally, all those who had agreed to be bumped were invited over to the counter. It was a crowd of twenty or more. The first name they called out was mine. I was so proud until they informed me that a seat on the plane was available for me. NO WAY, I thought and immediately protested! To no avail despite the fact that a young family was in tears they couldn’t go. I, who wanted to stay and was the first who volunteer, was required to take my seat. It was unfair! Finally, to the lady behind the counter I begged to be seated in the business section. “Sure” she said, just tell them before boarding. After checking my luggage and making my way to the gate, I handed my ticket to a gal and informed her that I was told I could sit in the business section. “The plane is full” she gruffed in broken English. Again I began to protest and when she lifted up her head . . . wait for it . . . low and behold she was the same lady from the other counter who said I could sit in business class.
I hate to admit that the natural man was running wild within me. I was steamed and had the worst flight EVER! My complaints via letter to British Air went unanswered, but I haven’t flown with them since—won’t even compare their prices.
Morals from the story: 1) get things in writing! 2) don’t get robbed of your joy by something so stupid; 3) and never think your wife doesn’t want you home.
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