So, I’m at San Diego airport this morning, having missed my United Airlines connection and trying to catch a later UA flight. I’m admittedly somewhat vexed, because my car was smoked on the freeway at 70 mi/h by a runaway hubcap from some deranged soccer mom in a careening minivan, and did I mention I briefly lost my wallet? Well, that too.
I sidle up to the counter, and the UA counter woman pulls up my reservation and says, "You don’t have a ticket." What do you mean, I don’t have a ticket? I have a confirmation number, and UA confirmed on the phone that all I needed to do was change my ticket at the airport. Nevertheless, "You don’t have a ticket, sir". And things got bad from there.
Me: "You mean I don’t have reservation? "
Her: "No, you don’t have a ticket."
Me: "I have a reservation, and a confirmation, but no ticket?"
Her: "You have no ticket on this reservation."
Me: " I don’t understand. It’s an e-ticket, so there isn’t really a ticket anyway. So I’m not supposed to have a ticket, just a confirmation number, etc."
Her: "Sir, you have no ticket and flight is 30 minutes from leaving. Do you want to leave, or do you want to buy a ticket?"
Me: "That it? Those are my choices?"
Her: "Yes." [This was said extremely smugly, which helped really set me off.]
Me: "I have a ticket and I need to get to Denver. I want to talk to a manager."
Her: "Great, that’s fine by me."
She scares up a manager, saying, loud enough for me to hear, "This one’s aaaaall yours. He thinks he has a ticket, but he doesn’t have a ticket." This was followed by a near Damien-like eye-roll.
I calmly explained the situation to the manager woman. She then called a help desk, and five minutes later it was all figured out. UA had screwed up and canceled my outbound leg when some changes were made to the next leg of the ticket, which I don’t do until tomorrow. It was, as the manager conceded, UA’s agent’s error — and the first desk person should have checked into it right away, instead of sending me home, or telling me I needed to buy a new, one-way full-fare ticket.
I pointed out, in fairly direct terms, the error of her associate’s ways, saying that I was strapped for time, but if I hadn’t been I would take her name and her badge number, and maybe send her to finishing school, if she weren’t already mid-40s. I would also, I said, persistent notes to UA management until they responded. But because all of this crap had taken me so long, all I had time to do was run for the plane.