My travel category gets fuller and fuller, but this time the nightmare travel was via my sister-in-law who is studying in Spain, and came to visit us in London.
Let’s set the stage:
She is a student, taking a semester away from her US college, and studying in Spain for a few months with a programme. She has been able to take trips all over europe. Now, she comes to visit London, has a great time, until she tries to get home…
The airline is the argentine: Aerolineas Argentina, and I will refuse to fly them based on their service.
Before issuing a boarding pass, lots of questions come flowing out. Proof of leaving Spain at some point is required. They won’t listen to the facts that:
- Spanish student id
- Stamps in her passport
So, because she doesn’t have her PROOF of flight out of Spain, that is months from now, they are giving her a hard time. She ends up calling me, so I can try to get this proof over to her. Several phone calls to the US later, and we do have all of the info (confirmation number etc etc), but couldn’t fax over the hard copy in time for her flight. She has it on her computer of course, but that is back in Spain.
Armed with the confirmation/reservation number, surely they can look it up right? Well, they can see the flight… but not that Madeline is on it. They only had one phone number for Continental and noone was there. “Sorry, nothing we can do”.
They also had an internet connection, and if they would cooperate and let us USE it, they could have logged in to SEE the confirmation number. “This isn’t our concern”.
Explaining that the stamp in the spanish passport allows for free travel in the EU for three months fell on deaf ears too. “We don’t know anything about that”. Remember, she has been travelling all over bloody europe with no problems like this!
As time is running out, they are forcing us to buy ANOTHER ticket, from Spain back to England. This would be a ticket that would NEVER BE USED.
Then we find out that the flight is delayed, and not just delayed for a few minutes, hours and hours.
This would mean that she would miss her last train from Madrid to her university town, so rather than deal with these people, and get stuck in Madrid at 2am, we got a ticket with a nice airline (British Airways) for the next morning, and came back to our hotel.
We also talked to British Airways about what happened, and they were disgusted.
Why these idiots think that they are on a power trip, and wanna-be-INS-officials, well it makes my blood boil.
I never write complaints in, but I feel like I have to do so here. They were the opposite to “service”, and did nothing to help.
Thanks for nothing Aerolineas Argentina, and their Gatwick employees.
(NOTE: This was the short version. It got even worse!)