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Fly the Surly Skies

April 29th, 2008 (08:22 pm)

current mood: frustrated

I'm  traveling in two days to attend an NFPW board meeting, and I'm already fed up with airlines. I booked my flights weeks ago on Delta's website and only afterward learned that they were Delta flights "operated by Northwest." That didn't bode well; I've had problems every time I've ever flown Northwest. But I assumed the problems would not start until I actually arrived at the airport. 

Today I received a confirmation/reminder e-mail from Delta. I was surprised to see that the confirmation listed my seats as "not assigned." I really, really prefer aisle seats, so I always reserve early. In fact, I reserved assigned seats when I booked, but now my seat reservations were gone. So I clicked on the provided link, but it did not take me to the promised place to reserve seats. I e-mailed Delta and received one of those form-letter e-mails that discuss vaguely the same topic as your question, but without actually answering it. I e-mailed back again and finally received an e-mail saying I can't reserve my seats through Delta; I have to reserve them by telephone through Northwest Airlines. I called NWA and hopelessly paralyzed its endless voice-mail menu. I later learned this was because my Delta confirmation number confused it. But nobody had given me an NWA confirmation number. I finally spoke with a real person, who said all seats were booked, except for one seat left, a middle seat, on the final leg of my return flight. She could reserve that one for me, but it would cost me $15, because it was a Delta flight and I should be reserving my seats through Delta, the same Delta that insisted I had to reserve seats through NWA. She told me I could do it online at the NWA website for free, if she gave me a NWA confirmation number. Of course, that would only work, she said, if there were actually seats available.

Armed with my new confirmation number, I went on the website to find that one leg of my flight had only one available seat (a window seat) and another leg had one seat (a middle seat). The other two legs had no available seats. That's because large numbers of Northwest seats are now classified as "premium" seats that cost extra, including bulkhead seats, exit row seats, seats near the front of coach, and many other random aisle seats. I had heard Northwest was charging extra for premium seats, but I haven't flown Northwest in years and didn't realize what a high percentage of coach seats fall into that category. I booked the two available seats. I'll have to get my other assignments at the airport.

Airline and airport hassles are the reason I drive on all but the very longest trips. If Baton Rouge weren't 17 hours from here, you can be sure I'd be loading up my car tomorrow instead of sticking 3-oz. bottles into a quart-size Ziplock bag. As it is, I'm starting to fantasize about doing this as a long road trip. But no, I already bought the tickets.

So I leave on Thursday. If anyone has suggestions for must-see sights in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, I'd love to hear about them!



Posted by: Allison Stein (astein142)
Posted at: April 30th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)

Gak! The ineptitude of it all....
I'd love to know if the Acme Oyster House is still in business in NOLA. I used to love that place....

Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: May 9th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Acme Oyster House

Yes, I'm back now. And I can tell you that Acme Oyster House is still there. In fact, it was one of the restaurants recommended by the desk clerk at my hotel. Alas, I did not have time to get there. I guess that means I'll have to go back to New Orleans to try it out. What a great town!

Posted by: Allison Stein (astein142)
Posted at: May 13th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Acme Oyster House

Ah, the professional shuckers there were truly artists, and their oysters on the half shell trays were works of art.

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