I can't tell you how excited I have been for the past few weeks as I anticipated Spencer's visit to us in France.
|Spencer visited us in 2018 before we moved to the South of France|
He has never been here and my hope is that when he walks in the door he feels that same relief, the feeling of coming home, that I do when I visit my parents.
He scheduled a week off work. That's not easy as an American. We don't get that many weeks. He paid for his own ticket, choosing a slightly more expensive flight so he could limit his airport time. He paid for a checked bag and an aisle seat.
We planned to pick him up in Barcelona then to drive to Roses, Spain, a beach community on the Mediterranean to spend a night before returning to our home in the south of France.
We filled out the required forms for him to enter Spain. He got to the airport in Columbus two hours early to check in and he waited for his flight to Philadelphia where he would board his 7:30 flight to Barcelona, arriving there around 9 on Sunday morning. Then he learned the plane from Columbus to Philadelphia was going to be late, then later. Finally, he realized he would miss his connection in Philadelphia.
He went onto American Airlines chat hoping for help. He stood in line at the American Airlines desk hoping for help. Finally, the agent told him there was a solution. He could catch the Philadelphia flight Saturday evening. Wait in the airport overnight. Take a flight to Boston the next morning at 9 a.m. then wait in the Boston airport for 12 hours before flying to Barcelona and arriving there on Monday around noon.
That sounded like hell. An extra 27 hours in the airport.
He called me on FaceTime. I had been lying in bed texting with him as the clock ticked past midnight here. When he called, I scurried from the darkened bedroom to a room with light. His handsome but frustrated face looked at me from the screen. What should he do?
|Spencer and Tucker leaving Paris in 2018|
I didn't think anyone deserved 27 extra hours in the airport when they had scheduled a 12-hour flight. He decided to cancel and go home. And that's when my heart broke, realizing I wouldn't be able to hug him, to chat with him as we sat on the beach, to introduce him to all the friends we have made here, to show him amazing castle ruins or take him on bike rides.
I slept for a few hours then woke up, worried about him, his disappointment, my disappointment. I wondered if he could get a flight from Cincinnati. It has more international flights and is only 90 minutes away.
I sent him a text, and even though it was the middle of the night for him, he got on chat with American Airlines. No, they told him, he had asked for a reimbursement so now they couldn't help him.
No take backsies.
I tried to convince him, via text, to use his charm, but he was pissed by then, and most of us would have been.
Sunday morning, Earl and I went on a 20-km bike ride hoping it would help relieve some stress, but it only made me sadder.
The airline should help him get to Barcelona. Why couldn't they arrange a flight for the same price he paid when we booked six weeks earlier? We weren't booking last minute because of our poor planning. It was their last-minute cancellation that caused us to need a last minute flight.
So many companies could boost their image if they made some sensible choices by helping clients where they can. I'm not asking for a reimbursement of the hotel costs that we paid for rooms in Roses. I only want my son here for a week, even fewer days now that the original flight was canceled.
I just want to give him a hug.
So sad for all of you. Heart breaking.
Really just so frustrating and sad. While weather and mechanical issues are sometimes unavoidable, the airlines have also deliberately remained understaffed to increase profits. I've read that there is a pilot shortage too, so all this makes it more likely that connecting flights (esp. if they are not fully booked) will be cancelled or delayed. I hope you and your son can work out a way for him to visit you soon.
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