Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Posting from Algebars, the cyber café on Church Street in Burlington. This is not because there's a problem with my newfound Internet access at home. No, it's because the final, Newark-Burlington leg of my parent's flight home from their weeklong vacation has been postponed - from 8:20 p.m. to about 11:20 if they're lucky, or until tomorrow morning if they aren't lucky. As if the wait wasn't bad enough, apparently the airline has announced they would not be paying for hotel rooms if they do have to stay in Newark overnight. Ouch. Moral of the story: don't fly Continental.

And yet as bad as that is for my parents, it could be worse. Later tonight vs. tomorrow morning will depend on whether the plan flies out of where it is to get to Newark in the first place, which has already been delayed for about four hours, I think it was. During which time the travelers - well, "travelers" - are stuck sitting in the plane, on the runway, waiting for the windsock to come to a full and complete stop. Or something like that. For more than four hours already.

Tangential thought: all the Internet travel sites like expedia.com or travelocity probably wind up helping the companies with crappy customer service. When you're buying your Christmas vacation tickets through a middleman, with three layovers to save money, will you really remember who screwed you over two years ago on the way to a class reunion in a completely different place? Well, I don't know, maybe someone else would. But four years ago now I was flying back from a visit to friends in Illinois, and like my parents right now, the flight into Burlington was cancelled, but in my case the airline did pay for a hotel room and a cab ride the next day. And I couldn't tell you which airline it was for the life of me.

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