Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Continental Gate 35 Battleaxe From Hell

"Not Possible.  The doors to the aircraft are closed.  You'll have to see Customer Service to get on the next flight."  Yours truly had heard "not possible" too many times in one week, started to explode but instead muttered something about missing our connecting flight, and immediatement sprinted the fifty paces to Customer Service, within sight of our brief conflagration.  But MLB stood her ground.  (We had arrived from Mexico in Houston on time and with lots of same to make our connecting flight until we ran into a vast - I've never seen vaster - room of a gazillion other flyers trying to get through U.S. Customs & Immigration, then claim their baggage, take it through security, re-check same, and make their gate on time.  I will spare you, dear reader, my disdain for the intelligence of the average air traveller and security official for yet another day.  We hadn't dillydallyed, even postponed calls of nature, and had arrived at the gate at exactly the last minute - by Continental's own chronometer on the wall - exhausted after battling the masses and speed-walking like Olympians.)  The conversation had continued in my 30 second absence: "not possible ...", "but I'll miss work tomorrow ...", "not possible ...", "but my new grandson in Calgary needs me ...", "not possible ..." and so on.  Just then one of the stewardi, in search of some item of minutiae, opened the door of the gangway and my wife saw her chance.  "Are you sure there aren't two empty seats on that plane, there must be two empty seats - ours ...".  "Sure, we've got empty seats - and the aircraft door isn't even closed yet" chirped the stewardess.  Whereupon the Continental Airlines Gate 35 Battleass From Hell, flummoxed by one of her own, relented with a huff and we were on our way.  Jeff Smisek, you've got an employee who needs some work: Gate C35, flight CO275Y alias UA3834, 28Feb2011, departing 3:43pm from Houston, fortyish, black hair, a real bad ass; so give me a dingle Jeff.  Otherwise it's not possible that I'll ever fly your airline again.