Going to Italy

Part 1: Punching Tickets

When I got to the airport, I went straight to the counter where a customer "service" rep instructed me to check in my own dang self. She may have used different language, but the message was the same.

As in most every other industry, the airlines, despite losing business for financial reasons, are also sporting increasingly dismal service reviews from customers (including this one, NORTHWEST AIRLINES). Their solution? Self-service. Like I'm not going to figure out that means more work for ME, or that I get to pay extra for the privilege.

Even though I immediately got a bad attitude about this whole self-service thing, I went and swiped my passport anyway. And guess what: my passport didn't think much of it either. No matter how many times I ran it through the swipe-y, uh, thingamajig, the machine refused to recognize me. Oh, it did at first, like when you see a familiar face in the crowd and start waving like a madwoman and then you get up to the person and find out that he's a stranger who LOOKS like someone you used to know ... not that this has ever happened to me.

Anyway, my name would pop up on the screen and seconds later the Evil Machine would give me a snotty message: "There is no passenger by that name." And, gosh, have you ever found yourself in the position of wanting to argue with an inanimate object? Because I was, like, three seconds away from pointing my finger in the air and snapping my neck and telling that thing in no uncertain terms that, "Oh, yes, I ASSURE you, there IS a passenger by that name, and she is fixing to WHOOP YOUR A--" but I managed to keep myself under control. Barely.

After a few more attempts, I finally got this message: "Please see a representative for assistance." At which point, my inner diva waved her finger (and her head) and said, "THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF YOU HAD RETAINED YOUR HUMAN STAFF AND NOT SENT ME TO A MACHINE." Also, my inner diva's voice dipped into baritone range on those last two words. It was a very effective performance, unfortunately playing only to an audience of, well, me.

So I interrupted the customer "service" rep who was rolling her eyes at another passenger who was trying to check her bag. And the CSR, I'm sure, would have rolled her eyes at ME, had I not burned her with my laser beam eyes given her The Look, the one that is so good at turning unruly ninth graders into model citizens in 2.15 seconds. But she was not happy, the CSR, and she had her own Look on her face.

She messed around a bit, then handed me my passport with this message: "Next time you purchase an international flight make sure you give your name exactly as it appears on your passport." I must have looked confused; I was completely unaware of any name changes in the past, you know, 34 years. Did I accidentally get married and then get a spontaneous case of amnesia? Again?

"Your MIDDLE name," she fairly spat at me. "If your ticket doesn't match your passport, we have to enter everything manually."

Inner Diva: "Oh, you mean, DO YOUR JOB???????"

My Outer Diva smiled politely, checked her bag, and started the twenty mile hike to the gate. And bought a Cinnabon, so both of us were happy.


Anonymous said...

tisk, tisk, tisk, and you aren't even off the GROUND yet, hope the rest of the trip was not similar. That government ID ticket name match is a NEW federal requirement, you probably reserved your ticket before it went into affect. It applies even to domestic flights now.

Mei said...

It's more likely that I didn't read the directions when I bought the tickets :)


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