Tuesday, August 7, 2012
United Airlines Rocks!
My flight from Orlando to Newark had been fine but severe weather had caused the Newark Ottawa flight to be postponed. One day lost in the chaos and barbarianism of United Customer 'Disservice' waiting hours in lines that never ended for disinformation describes my subjective 'trial' of that afternoon. I can't say I was a spiritual giant responding to the beleagured personnel understaffed and overworked. In retrospect I apologise for my rudeness.
There I was in Newark with only 3 days planned to see my sick father, leaving a conference early to be stranded losing that day with Dad while having foregone the hearing 'spiritual speaker', the key note motivational talk that would close of a medical/psychiatric conference I'd attended. I'd been so "enlightened' in the classroom Yet here with my first 'test' in the community " plummeted like Peter walking to Jesus on water. I simply refuse to let go of the character defects that had me being 'righteously indignant' and 'demanding' and having what could well be described as an 'old man hizzy fit'. We don't jump up and down and do the 'drama queen' thing that young people do. But we have our 'intonations' and 'implicit threat tones' and general orneriness. We're a force to be reckoned with. But ugly and not at all enlightened. Things don't go my way and I can 'adapt' , 'change my perspective', try to be helpful, or 'react' . There was, hours out of heaven on earth, having left being with the finest of friends hearing the most uplifting words of psychologists working on 'structural reprogramming' of the animal brain to adapt to the 21st century and first chance I get I am on all fours sniffing butt and having my hair stand on end. It's embarrassing.
My actual tally of United Airlines Staff 'support' service that I contacted in that day were a dozen or more individuals, talked with several more and met with the 2 customer service personnel. One reasonable young woman was trying to be helpful, but asked advice of the goul beside her who was dismissive and arrogant then finally defensive and threatening. She was a character out of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest", easily slighted, swaggering with authority and dripping with disdain. I left after 3 hours of waiting in line, unable to leave to pee, aching back, not realizing how my crash injury hadn't healed, the arthritis in y foot acting up, disheartened to see so few older people in the airport, realizing that homeland security and the hustle must be taking it's toll and excluding us from air travel,and those few other grey hairs appeared as distressed as I too. I felt old. Having bicycle across Europe, sailed solo to Hawaii in winter, flown in every bush plane in the north in all conditions as a fly in doctor, wilderness specialist, world traveller , here I was shuffling in pain wanting to pee standing in an never ending line up in pain worried this was just another harbinger of the future. I felt uncared for and marginall to this great enterprise. Not a pleasant three hours but really not much more than that. .
Typical of me not to see the big picture and be distracted by the bitch. The Orlando United Airlines service folk and crew had been superb. The flight had been terrific. The pilot was an ace. We landed safely. We were whisked from point a on the planet to point b and it was marvellous.. The people I called at United were exceedingly helpful and apologetic and I wasn't being polite at all. . I'd been a difficult dissappointed person and they'd been as helpful as they could be. Worried about where my luggage was I called again and was able to talk to a woman who clearly shared the suffering of those she tried to help. Not an officious bone in her voice. She directed me to baggage claims, accepting well my description of the appalling chaos of customer service, and admitting that a simple number system like a donut shop for customer queue would save so much discomfort. So here was this United " Angel" who was followed by a marvellous gentleman in baggage who confirmed my baggage would go on to Ottawa and gave me a tooth brush and toothpaste because he knew I'd not be able to access my toiletries with my bags in the system. In the past I'd carry toiletries but with homeland security restriction on liquids, razors and such I don't carry these in my walk on. This United agent was a delight.
Here I was focussed on the negative, overwhelmed by the little Nazi and unable to rise about her 'insulting' dismissal and the contempt she had for me. It's the story of my life in many ways. I'm forever being derailed by the one infantile mind in the group that bullies, lies, cheats or otherwise is a barbarian struggling still with toilet training of their mind. These narcissistic self centred juvenile people "get to me". Then I don't pay attention to all the wonderful people who are bending over backwards to bring me the miracle of flight. United Airlines is a wonder of the world. I called my sister in law and was so 'miffed' I thought I'd leave the airport, rent a Harley Davidson Motorcycle and ride north, leaving the airport and it's planes in the smoke of my exhaust. My sister in law is one of the great "mench's" of the world. She didn't discredit the idea or even counter it but did say that she and Ron had taken a day and a half to get to New York from Ottawa. Suddenly the 'miracle' of jet flight was back in view. Thanking her I said I'd take the flight in the morning. I'd not be renting a Harley.
I'd spend the night in Newark and enjoy a walk through Times Square Manhatten. Then in the morning the United staff would help me to my plane, refresshed in the morning as I was, handling thousands of people moving all over the world on thousands of flghts. What a phenomenal magical glorious thing United Airlines is doing. It's sad for me that I can lose sight of the miraculous and sacred because of an as yet unsolved 'cognitive distortion' in my own psyche. Other than an individual sour person who might well have simply been a face for me to hang my frustration on, United Airlines was amazing.
It was wonderful to see Dad, even though a day late. United Airlines made that possible. I'm getting older. Standing and shuffling along in lines is 'painful' for me. I think of all my cohort with bad knees, bad backs, sore feet and am not surprised at our surliness as a group but then remember that the airlines didn't plan on 'terrorist attacks' or the energy crisis. Lots of airlines have gone bankrupt. Millions of moving pieces are involved in keeping a plane in their air. These people are doing miracles and I complain when they are stopped by a thing like 'weather'. Admittedly my expectations are so high because United Airlines has done so much.
I remember the first time my Dad took us on a little airplane. He sat in the front and Ron and I sat in the back. I was upset that I couldn't see when the plane was doing it's first turn which allowed my brother to see the world below. The next "turn' I saw what he'd seen. I was 6 or so then. Here I was in an airplane for the first time in my life, none of my friends having ever been in an airplane and there I was angry because I wanted to always be able to look down at the ground.
Today I don't like window seats. I prefer the aisle seat so I have easier access to the washroom, maybe that's an age thing too.. I mostly read or write or sleep when I'm on the plane. Soon United Airlines will have figured out Star Trek teletransportation. I'll be the guy in the group bitching about the 'wait' , complaining about the 'line up' and after a few minutes delay I'll find myself in Mars or another part of the galaxy, just waiting to tell someone about the United Airlines 'customer service' representative that made me wait 'seconds' before I could get into the teletransporter. That's what really gets me. Whereever I go I still have to take myself with me.
United Airlines Rocks!