Day 17 (really Day 18, when you include travel, I think)
We won’t miss:
- Inconveniently placed hair dryers in every single hotel.
- The Shining bathroom
- Inconveniently sized spoons
- Paying for parking everywhere
- Under seasoned food
- Roads too narrow for cars
- Fighting over dessert
- Painted ceilings
- Hampton Court
- The Tower of London
- Overly complicated but ineffective European plumbing — toilets – hot water on one side, cold water on the other.And what I won’t miss about the journey home.
- This is really not about Europe, but I will not miss the Newerk Airport. I am sure I will have to fly through you again, but today you have let me down.
What we will miss:
- Superior bacon
- Dark chocolate covered rice cakes
- The Chalk Cliffs (especially Kyle & I)
- The Cliffs of Moher
- The Fountain Inn, Whales
- Croissants every morning
- Bulk loads of Nutella to smother all over the croissants.
- Tea kettles filled with piping hot water
- The Kensington Whole Foods
- Ruined castles and abbeys
- Walls adorned with hundred of guns and swords as decoration
- Downtown Leeds
- Beachy Head. We loved Beachy Head.
- The cute boutique London Boutique hotels
- Dave says he’ll miss Marmite. I do not believe him.
- Little Ass Burrito, DublinAdditionally,
- Grandma, additionally we will miss you! <3
- I will and I will not miss the parallel universe, and overly reserve, polite people.
And about today, it is not over, and we are about to board another plane.
- We had breakfast in Belfast.
- On the drive to airport, we joked about the Utah pronunciation of the word mittens pronounced, mih’ ins. We promised to name our pet Mih’ ins (if we ever get one).
- I was totally thrown at Belfast Security when they sent Eli’s jams through the x-ray another time. That is where we kept the jam(s), and somehow my very lovely toiletry bag did not return to my backpack. Arhg!
- Yes, and about airport searches. Really, about airports… I think airports are their very own governing unit/police state, with the ticket agents representing say War Lords. (Um and yes in this moment we are a little frustrated with frustrated rant to follow):The ticket agents know the system and know how to manipulate their power. Everything is always “out of their hands.” And apparently in the Country of Newark, it is ok for four ticket agents to stand in the path of people trying to check-in. When we first went to check in the agent, Shereen snapped at us and sent us to a computer. When Dave asked her a question, she snapped again, and told us we had to call Award Travel, because some of our tickets were paid for, and some were Frequent Flyer tickets. We kindly stepped away and called the Award Travel People. They couldn’t help so we decided to simply take our original flight. No problem. We walked back up to check in. As we did, the same United Airlines Premier Access Ticket Agent loudly said to the three other agents she was talking to (instead of any of them helping customers),
“Oh great, they are back!”
Yes, that is what she said. And yes, Shareen R. we are back. Where else are we supposed to check in? And when we, the lowly customer, say something like,
“I heard that (which I did as we walked by, and I am also tired of bullies, who come in all shapes in forms 00 my bad 😉 ),”
it is apparently also ok for the not-doing-their-job-gossiping ticket agent to grunt and then say,
“she should not be eavesdropping on our conversation.”
(Um, I don’t think it is eavesdropping when you give us the obvious once-over, as you share loud enough for us to hear.)Anyway…
I caught my breath and while walked over to see if Dave heard, the lovely ticket agent quickly went across the way, and called a supervisor over to talk to us (we found out who she was calling moments later).True story.
Customers are powerless.
Shereen R. was using her knowledge of the system to bully us, the customer, and to avoid responsibility . She should have just apologized, helped us and moved on. Instead, she lied and undermined our credibility. This is one of the reasons why I think airports are no longer places to feel free or safe, especially as the customer. We really are powerless, and it is their (stealthy and practiced) word against ours.
The three other lady agents are not without blame either. They knew Shareen was wrong. Instead of helping us, they covered themselves, and went back to work. Yet before I called out the ticket agent, instead of helping all the customers, they thought it was ok to stand in our path and complain about us.
It is my understanding that a ticket agent is a customer service job. Apparently I am wrong. By calling a supervisor over (Dina), Shareen cut me off at the pass, saving her own bacon. Instead of saying that what she did wasn’t cool, she created a drama that did not exist.
We couldn’t change our flight, and were ok. We moved on and as we were walking away, Dina (the supervisor), stopped us (got in our path) and began to accuse us of having a “confrontation.” We were puzzled and really confused. When I pushed for answers, she said, “the gate agent called and said there was going to be a confrontation.” What the what? We explained, she didn’t listen, and then she kind of did. She actually said, “well, I don’t see why we couldn’t help you.”
Honestly, we were so tired and worn down. We know airports. We were actually were calm and nice. Because Shareen was protecting herself, the supervisor kept waiting for us to strike. We did not. After a few seconds the supervisor could see that we were harmless. We were simply confused (like I said), and caught in the path of a ticket agent, who apparently, has a problem with personal responsibility and integrity. Her reaction was bizarre and also calculated. She knew what to do to avoid punishment and what she did was sicl. She has the power. We were no one really. Just people who got in her way. So gross!
And because of the police state airports have become, there was really nothing we could do. Dina, the supervisor, promised to call both the United Lounge and Customer Service. We stopped at both. Neither knew who we were. Customer Service was useless. They did not listen. Our original concern: “can we get on an earlier flight?” United Airlines, you blew it. Shame on you!
- We found a Smash Burger in the airport. I finally ate.
- I talked to two very lovely men in the United Lounge. Renewed my faith in humanity. Reminded me of Brian and Robbins, my favorite, favorites, who really do make the world a better place.
- Oh hey and my brother Bill just called. I told him not to hold me to anything I say in this conversation. I’ve been up for awhile.
- The boys are good. Dave is settling back into the work groove and we are very excited for the next leg of our journey.
Next Morning, which is this morning:
I tried and I tried and I tried to post the post from Newerk. Alas, I could not, so here it is from Los Angeles.
Today is a new day. After twenty-four hours of travel, at midnight, we arrived at our hotel. Sure, once we arrived they had lost our reservation. After watching Eli pass out on the hotel couch, Brian, the front desk guy, took pity on us. In on fell swoop, and a few calls, the hotel went from full to one room left. High fives to that! Dave was up at 3:45 AM for his 6:00 AM flight, and is already back in San Francisco. And from our Los Angeles hotel room I am already knocking away at all the things we missed while we were away. It is nice to be back in the United States. Sure, everyone came to the hotel breakfast in flip-flops and sweats, and a lady stole Kyle’s pancake right out from under him because and I quote, “is going to miss her flight.” I am curious. What do pancakes and morning flights have to do with anything. And yes, it was literally the last pancake, by the way. Anyway, we are home (sort of). As I reach for my adaptor, Eli reminds me that those plugs, plug right in.
We enjoyed the journey and are very glad to be back.