One of the great sacrifices we made as a family this past year was not going traveling anywhere for a holiday. After making the necessary pilgrimage home with the babies (twins) when they were just 2 months old, we decided that any trip would feel like work until the kids were more mobile, communicative, and (God willing) out of diapers. Having nearly achieved the first two already, and with plans to move them onto the potty soon, we decided to make arrangements for a trip the USA over the coming summer months.
After an 18-month self-imposed travel ban, Savvy, Reina (nearly 7!) and I are all looking forward to getting out of Beijing as a family. Besides, the grandparents have dropped enough hints that photos and calls are nice, but they want to see their grandkids again.
All of this led me to quickly pull the trigger on some tickets this past week on a national carrier that shall remain nameless. Let’s just say they have plenty of flights through Vancouver with convenient connections to Portland, Oregon. Everything went smooth enough as I began booking our tickets on their maple leafed website until I tried to enter in the information for the boys who will still be under the age of two at the time of the flight. Although there is a drop down category for children under two, I was instructed to leave this blank and then simply call the airline’s toll free number to make their reservation after securing the reservation for my wife, daughter, and me. Odd, but okay. I have a vague recollection of doing something similar when flying with this particular airline before.
Funny story. You would think an airline would be eager to take your money by any means necessary: online, phone, fax – heck, bring cash to the airport – you name it, we will take it. However, this seems to not be the case with Air Canada (oops). Every time I call, the recorded greeting advises me (more than once) that I can probably get the tickets for less online. Worse, it keeps telling me, no matter the time of day, that they are experiencing more calls than usual and that wait times are obscenely long. How long can it be, I thought? Fortunately, with the advent of tracking technology, a soothing voice tells me each time I call what the average wait time will be. So far, the shortest wait time I’ve heard is between 31 and 47 minutes, but one time it was telling me over 2 hours. Who stays on hold for 30 minutes, let alone 2 hours? I’d forget I had even called by then and would probably have wandered off by the time an actual ticketing agent (no doubt overworked) took my call.
And so, despite being told that a customer service rep would eagerly take my call if I could just while away an hour or so of my time by listening to a loop of messages and Muzak, I keep hanging up and trying later. Maybe it’s just the weather or the holidays, but whatever the reason, I’ve got six months to get it sorted. So for now, the airline will just have to wait patiently to get the rest of our money.
Photos courtesy of Chris Makarsky (Flickr)