Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Current Nonsensicalness of International Travel: Part II

In the age of, and Priceline/, Heathrow Airport (where three airlines servicing one city are housed in three separate terminals) does not have an airport employee capable of accessing these sites for customers. It does, however, have a lovely woman who will advise passengers to do so for themselves.

Why would this be necessary, you ask? Say a passenger’s connection was cancelled due to inclement weather throughout Europe, the threatened strike of an airline, an airline’s attempt at operating with as few personnel as possible over the holidays (I wouldn’t want to work either. But, my sister had to, as did two other friends, and they did it, alright?) or the downsizing of Eurostar’s fleet to 75% capacity at the height of holiday travel. (Eurostar is the train whose sole purpose is to do the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel crossing, between France and the UK. Local newspapers and fellow stranded travelers, some who had been grounded in the London area for 5 days, reported route closures, lengthily halted trains, and an electrical failure, due to, as The Week put it, “excessively “fluffy” snow in France and warm, humid conditions in the tunnel”. And, say, just for ‘s and gs’ (that’s ‘shits and giggles’), said passenger has been advised by his/her carrier, that his/her best chance for arriving at his/her destination on his/her foreseen day, instead of on Christmas Eve for example, is to find another carrier, and be reimbursed for his/her original flight.

How lovely it is to try and find oneself paying British Pound 3-4 for 45 minutes of a fruitless internet access! Every single Outbound flight to my destination was taken, a fact of which, I am sure, they were fully aware. Now, let me just stop for a moment and say, I get it. Sometimes there is just nothing available. It's really the Hopeful Circus that is at the root of this posting! This, excess luggage tax when only one checked bag is allowed, and the Duty- Free Shop that greeted through the doors just beyond “Nothing to Declare” at Heathrow are my three new favorite, shameless money- making schemes.

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