Well, its not been an auspicious start to the Great Greece Trip of 2014. Let me describe the events as they unfolded… This ends up being such a long story, I have broken it down to 2 parts- stateside and international. Here is the start of fun stateside:
The day before departure I receive a nomal reminder email to check in for my flights though Delta, which also recaps my itinerary. I go to check in and it says it cannot check me in due to a change to my itinerary– namely my leg from Paris to Athens has been cancelled due to an Air France pilot strike. Last time I had an international flight cancel it delayed my trip by a full 24 hours, so I got right on it to make alternate arrangements with Delta. 45 minutes on the phone and they rerouted me by cashing in some chips with other non-partner airlines to get me around France by way of London with British Airways and Aegean Airlines. But there was two tiny catches. First, they couldnt check me into the other flights because of the lateness in the change. So I would need to check in with those companies directly. Second, my arrival in Athens would now be only an hour before my seperately purchased (as I couldn’t get the destination from Delta) hop from Athens to Mykonos. This might be enough time on a domestic to domestic flight, but I knew I’d be required to go through Customs and Immigration in Athens, so several lines and then BACK through security. Definitely NOT enough time and I need to think about changing my flight from Athens to a later one.
So getting checked in with boarding pass for the London to Athens Aegean flight was actually No problem, as my booking reference number used for my original flight through Paris worked on their online check-in and I received my boarding pass for London to Athens. And I have my Delta boarding pass from Sacramento to Atlanta. Now, trying to get my boarding pass on British Airways Atlanta to London is another story. Their online system doesnt even recognize my booking reference number. So I call their customer service. Their representative looks me up by name and says although I am confirmed for this flight, I cannot check in because my original flight Atlanta to Paris is still in the system and they can’t use the booking reference number Delta has– they need a different one but its in use by Air France. He politely tries to tell me that I need to get Delta to fix the listing, cancel the old Air France listing and give me the other booking reference code. He CAN assign me a seat, though, and I get 40A- a window even, which I think is a blessing since it will be my overght leg and I need to lean to get reasonable sleep.
I call Delta again and try to explain to agent #1 as best I can the issue as described by British Airways. She’s stumped but transfers me over to international flights to speak to agent #2 (or 4, depending on how you look at it). Number 2 doesn’t see any problem at first. She does see the old Air France route in their but doesnt think this should be a problem. She wonders if it was a problem, why the heck the BA agent didnt just cancel it himself. She concedes and deletes it and tells me the booking reference number for that one and asks me to check. Progress! This time it DOES recognize the booking reference number on BA’s website. It lets me enter my passport information and I proceed to try to print my boarding pass. No go. The system reports a problem (you k ow,a nice vague error) and suggests I need to get my boarding pass at the airport. Well, there’s no British Airways in Sacramento,so that would be less than ideal. Ok, so Delta agent #2 realizes that its not 24 hours before the flight from Atlanta yet (well past my originating time however) and maybe this is the issue. She does still offer to muck around inthe system, but I decide that I’ve had enough time on the phone for the time being (about 2 1/2 hours at this point) and its only another hour until the 24 hour deadline. It seems reasonable to wait and see.
I try to get some work done(oh, yeah, I *do* have necessary work to complete still) and an hour later, I get on the BA site. Still no go. Ok, so I’m going to call British Airways- I mean at first BA agent seemed so helpful and sure that if I just had the old flight removed, everything would be peachy. I call and get BA agent #2. A lot less helpful from the get go. I’m not sure he even looked anything up, just said “check in when you get to the airport.”. I explain I cannot check in when I get to the airport as they do not fly from my originating airport. I try to explain the whole scenario, which he listens to with disinterest. Well, you will need to check in when you get to Atlanta. Grumble grumble.
The next day I get to the airport, jump through TSA pre-check, and board my Delta flight without a hitch. I arrive in Atlanta in terminal A and go to the departure boards… All Delta flights. Ok, where is British Airways? I don’t even know what terminal they are in. I ask a random Delta staff. E, maybe? Um, ok… I actually stop at Delta service desk and inquire. “Hey, Yolanda, where is British Airways”. Yolanda bellows back, “F,” not even looking up from the computer.
F. The furthest possible terminal away. I know, you see where this is going…
Well, fortunately it doesn’t. After what felt like a Disney mine ride on the underground train at Atlanta airport (I kept waiting for a pirate to jump out), I finally arrived at terminal F. I finally found a depature screen that would tell me the gate. And I found the gate. No gate agent, but a gate.
LOL. What seemed like an excrutiating long 15 minute wait for a gate agent later, I was actually talking to a real life person who could give me a boarding pass. With seat 47H. What?! Dang it, they’d given away my window seat.
Oh well, I am on a plane to London. None of the above would have even been mentioned had the rest gone off without a hitch…
Stay tuned for Part 2, International Airports.