Thursday, January 06, 2005

Tea and Toast-- and more revisions

Speaking of Mr. Eliot, the time has come for tea and toast. Since I've been struck down with a nasty bout of flu, it's about the only thing I can force down.

What timing! I was due to depart on a 17 hour Air India flight to Mumbai at 7 tonight. Between spasms of shivering last evening, I managed to dial the airline and communicate that I needed to move the flight up two days. I wanted to keep my connecting flight Monday morning if possible.

It's amazing how incomprehensible Indian-accented English is to my American ear (and how difficult it is to make them understand my flu-crippled American accent).

There was a $200 fee to change this ticket, I was told, but I needed to do it through my travel agent. (this took maybe 7 minutes to communicate).
"I don't have a travel agent."
"You book this through a travel agent."
"No, I booked it online at"
"PRICELINE. P like PETER, R like ROAD, I like INDIA," and so on.
"You must call this priceline, and change through them."
Priceline has a notoriously impassable automatic "customer relations" line. After entering 50 digits worth of personal details, I somehow found life at the other end--Emily, in travel relations. Emily told me if they did have seats on the flight I needed, it would be $200 to change, plus the difference in flight cost between the 19:15 Air India flights on January 6 and January 8.

"So, it would be $496 total. And you would need to exchange the ticket in person"

Where am I going with this rant? Straight to Air India's perch on the 15th floor of 51st and Lexington Avenue. I sat in front of a row of chipped wooden desks and artificial bouquets, below a dazzling gold mosaic that I was told was salvaged from the company's formerly spacious digs on Park. A lovely women in an apple green sari apologized for keeping me waiting (5 minutes or so) while she got settled. A snowstorm upstate in Rockland County had delayed her (naturally we in NYC are getting cold rain).

She hunts and pecks away on her keyboard for a bit, then announces: "It will be $125 to change the ticket, and $20 extra for weekend flight. So $145 total." I said yes, yes, YES please do it now.

Happily home drinking ginger ale and watching bad tv movies for another two days.


Post a Comment

<< Home