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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Travel Rant:

I've been too tired to post much on the subject, but I have to detail the ordeal that was our arrival here in Texas. Fortunately, the ordeal most often associated with traveling with infants, crying and screaming, wasn't an issue. My son was terrific on the way here, and I can only hope he approaches that for the return trip.

The ordeal we encountered was with the human element, the customer support people who run Hertz Rental Cars, and American Airlines. Upon arriving in Dallas airport, we noted that an earlier flight was available to our destination, and we wanted to get there ASAP so that our son could take a nap. We transferred flights, fully expecting that our luggage would not arrive with us until later.

When we arrived, we noted that the next flight would arrive at 2 pm, so we figured we could drive to the hotel, and come back in 90 minutes (we arrived at 12:30) to retrieve our luggage. What we found was that not only was our rental car agency not on site, but the car we needed (complete with infnt car seat) was in Shreveport, LA, 100 miles away (this, despite the fact that they knew 2 weeks in ADVANCE that we would be arriving in Texas and would need a car seat equipped vehicle).

At this point, I didn't see any reason to change vendors, since it was already paid and arranged, so we waited, hoping that the car would arrive around the same time as our luggage. When 2 pm came, we watched the luggage carousel complete its cycle at least a half dozen times, and our luggage was nowhere to be seen. So... we have been in town for almost 2 hours, with no luggage, and no rental car. I should also add that my son was pee-soaked, and we didn't have a change of clothes handy for him (yes, bad planning, so sue me).

American tracks our luggage and can't. Hertz assures me they are "on their way". Yet, I'm sitting there, naked baby in lap, tired pregnant wife beside me, and hunger pains permeating my every fiber. At one point, I could have strangled anything airline related. (This moment also gave me new pleasure in knowing that I was leaving the aerospace industry for something more stable).

Finally, forty minutes late, and one hundred and thirty minutes after our arrival, Hertz shows up, apologetic and courteous, which was good. However, I've learned to expect ineptitude from Hertz. I never should have selected them as the provider for a rental car, but they were, according to the travel agent, the only one who had a car seat available. Later that day, I found out that National, Enterprise, and Avis ALL had car seats ON SITE THAT DAY. Someone at the travel agency should be drawn and quartered.

Finally, three hours later, our luggage arrived at the hotel, but not before we had to buy a change of clothes for our son. All in all, it could have gone much worse, but the dilemma only solidified my dissatisfaction with air travel in general.


.: posted by Dave 8:13 AM

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