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Uganda Update #2: Have Ticket, Will Travel

Ok, here's the story so far:

Saturday, 9am - can't check in online for my first flight. I call Air Canada to find out the proper code (I only have the Egypt Air one, as I booked my ticket through their site). 45 minutes of muzak and I get an agent. She gives me the code and tells me that my first & last names are reversed on the ticket, so I should enter them in the opposite way when checking in. Then she says, "Don't mention this at the airport tomorrow. Play innocent and see if they say anything." I say, Ok and we hang up. I still can't check in. I feel mildly worried, but think, If it was a big deal, she wouldn't tell me to play innocent.

Sunday, 6am - arrive at the airport. I go to the line for people who can't check in. They look at my ticket and say, "Your first and last names are reversed." I say, "Ok?" They say, "Get in the ticketing line." I do. It opens at 6:30. Two people bud in front of me, but I am too anxious to tell them so without being rude. So I wait. The ticketing person tells me, "We can't fix this. It's not our ticket. You need to contact Egypt Air. They have to cancel and reissue your ticket."

Sunday, 6:45am-10:30am - my mom helps me track down all the numbers in the world for Egypt Air. Toronto, Montreal, London, Cairo. I get no human beings. She wonders if twitter would help. I tweet at them and get a response - an email address, at least. I email them with my urgent request. They ask for my passport and credit card. I take pictures and email them (thankful at this point for free wifi). The email responses are generally vague and awkwardly worded. I am not sure what they are telling me. Also, it takes at least half an hour for each response. I consider buying a ticket to London, and trying to sort this out at their Heathrow booth the next day.

Sunday, 9am - my flight leaves for London without me.

Sunday, 11am - I find myself in Mass at the chaplaincy centre. Don't ask how. A friendly Nigerian priest is vaguely encouraging but also not. I am not really focused on Mass, although I am glad I go, and it does make me think of Spain, which only makes me more sad, because I frigging love to travel.

Sunday, 12:30pm-4:30pm - Karen picks me up from the airport, feeds me, distracts me with So You Think You Can Dance. An Egyptian friend is messaging his family in Egypt to see if they can help find me a phone number or if they can reach anyone at Egypt Air. I am still emailing, trying to figure out if I can catch the last flight out to London tonight. Getting nowhere.

Sunday, 5pm - I resign myself to being here another night. Resolve to call the Toronto office at 9am sharp and see what to do. I file a complaint with Air Canada that the awful advice given to me on Saturday cost me my flight. I cry a lot. I am very frustrated.

Sunday, 9pm - Karen and I eat gelato and go grocery shopping at a massive Superstore. Food is so cheap when you aren't in Forest Hill. (Limes = 4/$1 vs 3/$1.80!) Then home. Then bed.

Monday, 7am - I wake up, waiting for 9am. I feel very sure Egypt Air won't help me.

Monday, 9am - I call Egypt Air. Online bookings can only be modified via email. I am given three addresses. I email them all.

Monday, 11am - no response to any of my emails. I call again. Get one more address. I email it. And the address from the day before.

Monday, noon - I am looking online at other ticket options. I see one roundtrip for $2,300. I call my mom and ask if my parents will lend me the money when my credit card bill comes. She says yes. I say I will try Egypt Air one more time. I call and ask for her manager (not because I'm displeased with her. She has been friendly and vaguely helpful). Her manager is in NYC. I call NYC. Am placed on hold, twice. Then hung up on.

Monday, 12:30pm - I get an email from Egypt Air (finally). To cancel and rebook my ticket will cost an additional $2,260 US for the fare increase, plus $370 in no-show fees. I call my mom to confirm I am not crazy, we talk through the plan, and I walk two blocks to Flight Centre. "I want the earliest flight to Uganda," I tell them, "for under $2,500."

Monday, 1:30pm - I leave Flight Centre with a new ticket and insurance for less than $2,400. I email Egypt Air and say, "No rebooking, just the refund, thank you." I find a hostel in Amsterdam and begin making plans for 24 hours in the Dutch capitol. I tell Vanessa and Jamie that I am coming, and that I am staying two days longer. We are all happy.

Monday, 11pm - my scheduled departure. My bags have been packed since Thursday night (no joke. I am my Grampie's grand-daughter).


Ariana said…
Intense. That is a lot of really bad customer service.
becca said…
hope all goes well. God speed!

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