Jillian took the picture. This was my day. At least 3.5 hours of it. Erica, Jillian, and Sean's flight back to Taipei got delayed for couple hours due to mechanic problem with the aircraft. Anybody whose final destination is not Japan will miss the connection because of the delay. United needs to rebook all the connection flights individually. The process, of course, needs to take couple hours since we live in a third-world country.
Half of the time, there were only 1-2 agents working on the rebooking. It took about 20 minutes to handle each group of customers. There was a point that all agents were gone. Lunch hour. Union rules. As time moved on, people in line got angrier. There were some yelling but it didn't help. It’s fine…customer satisfaction is so last-century.
It was not fun to watch the slow check-in process. I was not as irritated as I should though. I started to follow Lu-Roddick game at Wimbledon on my cell phone. He tied the set 1-1 when all the drama began.
But the reason that I was not too angry was not the game, but because of a random quote that I read couple months ago. It was in the middle of the Iceland volcano eruption. A lot of flights were cancelled and passengers were strained for days. Many people described it as the worst disaster in the air-travel history.
Someone posted a comment to one of the online news that used the word ‘disaster’ in the heading. He (or she) said: “Let me get this straight. Tens of thousands people died at a tsunami. That’s a disaster. People lost their homes and families from an earthquake. That’s a disaster. Not being able to board an airplane on time--Now that’s inconvenience, not a disaster.”
Logical or not, these lines just stuck in my head when I was in line. Lu took the lead 2-1 but Roddick evened the game an hour later. Finally it’s our turn. United offered $400 credit for the delay and hotel/meal voucher in Tokyo. My family will make to Taipei half day later but it’s not too bad.
And then the woman behind counter who kept smiling at us asked whether we would like to take the upgraded seats. That’s quite a surprise because it’s supposed to be a fully booked flight. Maybe it’s the superpower-only-works-over-women-behind-the-counter that my sister claims I have, or it’s just a random act of kindness. Anyhow, with the better seats, Erica and the kiddles will suffer less during the 14-hour flight.
Later there was a huge T-strom and the flight got delayed for 3 more hours. I got stuck in the traffic and missed a few meetings and appointments that I cared in the office. But Lu upset Roddick, the fifth seed player, and became the first Taiwanese made the quarter final in a grand slam. When I jumped into the warm pool after I got home, I realized that as far as a bad day goes, this one is pretty okay after all.