Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

About 36 hours until I'm back at school. Heading up on Tuesday. Just got back from a weekend at a friend's bachelor party, where I actually paid $5.99 to use the Internet from my hotel room yesterday to check my e-mail. (And of course to post yesterday's brilliant top ten list, but, honestly, I mostly was just killing time before dinner and wanted to check e-mail, and being able to post was just a bonus.)

On the way to the weekend, on Friday, the airline asked for volunteers to be bumped from the flight in exchange for a free roundtrip ticket anywhere in the continental 48 states. Feeling like getting there 4 hours later was worth the free ticket, I volunteered. And then got to witness perhaps the most exciting hour I've ever spent in an airport. You see, what I didn't realize is that after a plane takes off, there are sometimes people who didn't get to board because they were flying standby, or people who thought they had tickets but didn't realize they were flying standby, and they're really mad -- AND, some of them don't even really speak much English. Which makes it even MORE fun to watch as they gesticulate toward the plane and have no idea why the gate agent isn't letting them board. BUT, what really made this entertaining were the two gate agents sniping at each other, making the whole situation completely frustrating, for anyone who really needed to get somewhere. Now, they had told me they would get me on a flight that left two hours later, and would print out my tickets after they dealt with the other parties at the gate area, so I knew I had plenty of time and wasn't worried at all. I just got to watch.

Here is the cast of characters, with names changed, not that I think any of them know what a weblog is. Gosh.

MARY, the junior-most airline employee who could not figure out how to print tickets, change someone's flights, order a taxi for people she had to send to Newark, or, perhaps, feed herself without supervision, but since the other two airline employees were fighting with each other, was left to languish behind the desk trying to do things she was incapable of doing. But she did seem like a nice person.

JANIE, the mid-level ticketing agent, who seemed to have the wrong set of traits for the job, in that she seemed relatively calm and reasonably competent. She was not, however, very good at dealing with angry customers, which is why she called...

HESTER, the supervisor, with a heart of coal. Janie called Hester to come assist her and the just-taking-up-space Mary as they realized I was the only person volunteering to be bumped, but they had 3 people who thought they were getting on the plane.

LUIS and LOUISA, two people going to Chile on vacation. Luis had a seat, Louisa did not. She didn't know why. There are not many flights to Chile every day. They were not happy.

!@#$%, a non-English speaker who assumed he was getting on the flight, and had no idea why they weren't letting him on the plane.

So. Hester was called by Janie to come help out at the gate once they realized they would have to deal with the two people going to Chile, and the guy who spoke no English. Hester comes over and immediately tells the Chile-bound people that there's no way they're getting on the plane, and they need to sit down and wait. They start screaming about how they need to make their connecting flight, and they have a tour package that leaves at a certain time, and need to get there, and they paid for these tickets...and then Janie starts typing stuff into the computer and tells them she's looking for a new flight to book them on.

And then Hester says to Janie, "No. You're not going to look for a new flight to book them on. You're going to help Mr. !@#$% get to where he's going, and I'm going to deal with the people going to Chile, and then I'm going to issue new tickets for the guy over there [that was me!]. Now just do what you're told." And then the Chile people tell Hester they need new flights and why can't Janie find them a new flight. And Janie, at this pivotal moment in the story, says, under her breath but really pretty audibly, "It's always a problem when Hester gets involved. Hester the bitch."

And then Hester turns around and says to Janie, "What did you say? I heard that. Should I file a report for that flight you got out 10 minutes late yesterday? Just because you can't do your job and have to call me over here to save the day doesn't mean you have a right to call me names when I'm helping *you.* You're useless."

And then Hester tells Janie to go on the plane and pull a "POS," (I don't know what that meant), and she goes out, and then comes back 5 minutes later and says she couldn't find any, and then they book !@#$% on some other flight and he goes away. Meanwhile, after 25 minutes of what appeared to be a very interesting game of Spider Solitaire with the flight scheduling computers (click. click. click click click. "Oh, no, that one doesn't work." Click. Click. "That one's full." Click.) they find a flight out of Newark for the people going to Chile, and they tell Mary to order them a taxicab. She does this, sort of -- I heard her tell the cab company that the people would be waiting outside, but when she hung up the phone, Hester asked her if she told the cab company to call her back when the cab is there, and she said yes. Which maybe she did, but I didn't hear her, and 40 minutes later, they were still waiting for the cab company to call, and the people who were never going to get to Chile were still at the gate.

Along with me. In the time they spent dealing with the Chile people, the flight they were going to rebook me on sold out, but they just ended up bumping someone else.

This is boring. It seemed like an interesting story in my head. Sorry. I guess I just wanted to use it as an explanation for why Friday and Saturday's posts were pretty lame. Tomorrow I'll post something about expectations for 3L year.