checking in at british midland (bmi) at the belfast city airport, tuesday morning…

me: i’m flying belfast to london, connecting to united to chicago, but skipping the leg to san diego and starting a new itinerary. so if you’d like to only tag my bag to chicago, that would be great.

counter girl: then we should off-load you from the last leg.

me: well, that’s not what united told me to do. they said i should just skip that last leg, so it doesn’t mess anything up, since i booked the new itinerary leaving chicago for grand rapids. but it doesn’t really matter if you leave me on whole thing, as i’ll have to get my luggage for customs in chicago anyhow, and i can just recheck it for my new flight at that point.

counter girl: i can’t do that.

me: what do you mean, i’m asking you to do nothing.

counter girl: i need to remove you from that last segment, or they’ll be looking for you.

me: yeah, so? i paid for it. so i don’t fill the seat. if there are stand-by’s waiting, they’ll get a seat.

counter girl: i can’t do that, it’s a security risk. i’ll have to remove you from your check-in on the entire united flights, and you can deal with this in london.

me: wait, so you’re telling me i’m going to have to pick up my luggage at baggage claim at heathrow and check in as if i’d just shown up, including going through security in heathrow?

counter girl: yes, because you’re not taking that last segment.

me: forget i ever said it! that IS, of course, exactly what united told me to do. but, you’re saying that my honesty about my flight plans is causing you to send me through security again — which is usually an hour-long, at best, process at heathrow — risking missing my flights?

counter girl: well, i’m sorry, but that’s what i have to do.

counter girl’s manager: sir, please don’t make this difficult. we’re trying to ensure our flights are safe.

me: safe from me? from someone like me who actually TOLD you my plans?

counter girl’s manager: yes, sir.

me: so, you’re not even going to give me the boarding pass i already had for the london to chicago flight?

counter girl: no, we’ll keep that.

me: omigosh! i can’t believe this! [ysmarko comment: i was getting a bit whiney at this point, out of sheer exasperation.] so that’s it? if i’d kept silent, i’d be fine; i’d be flying to heathow and avoiding baggage claim and re-checking and security and all that. then, in chicago, i’d get my luggage at customs and recheck it, telling them at that point that i’m not taking the final leg.

counter girl: have a nice day, sir.

20 thoughts on “grr!”

  1. i got one thing to say… hahahahahahaha. that is hilarious bro. that might be the best airline conversation i have ever heard. That is so awe… ummm… never mind. that sucks bro. terrible. terrible.


  2. I feel your pain. I had a similar situation occur in San Pedro Sula.

    Welcome back to the states.

  3. Yup, they are playing by the rules (unfortunately).

    As I was booking my flight to ATL for YS, I was looking at numerous flights.

    Cleveland is one hour away and Pittsburgh is three hours. The Pittsburgh flight is $ 250 CHEAPER. It stops in Cleveland. (SCRATCHES HEAD). I wanted to buy PIT-CLE-ATL and get on at Cleveland to save tons of $$ and time … NOPE

  4. hahahaha. i’m sorry Mark. i have had problems with belfast as well…they nailed a team of mine last year as we were leaving. the team thought they could smuggle rocks and potatoes back…and when one got caught they started ratting one another out…i had a potato on my person and had a lovely conversation with customs.
    Brit: its not like im going to freakin plant this thing and take over your industry…and so you know potatoes came from the US

    Customs: sir i don’t care what your going to do with it

    Brit: I’m going to eat it…can i cook it here then…cause it would be waste

    Custom: are you serious

    Brit: i’ll even share it

    Custom: sir…um no!

  5. airlines aren’t my favorite right now, though it’s good to know that multiple airlines and airports are equally sucky. i continuously got attacked by mice in Miami on Sunday during a 9 hour layover…and then the food they gave me on the flight made me sick for my first two days in Bolivia…what a way to start a vacation.

  6. at least you didn’t blow up like in that scene from planes trains and automobiles with steve martin, at the rental car counter.
    (That’s what your encounter reminded me of).

  7. Seriously, I have also found that honesty does quite often carry a price these postmodern days, but it is still the right thing to do.

  8. You were acting like a maniac, and you threatened her with a bomb!
    – I said I didn’t have a bomb! – You said “bomb.”
    – I said, “It’s not like I have a bomb.” – You said “bomb” on an airplane.
    – What’s wrong with saying “bomb” on an airplane? – You can’t say “bomb.”
    Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb! You gonna arrest me?
    – You assaulted an airline employee– – What if I was a bombardier?
    – I got enough to put you away for a few years! – Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb!
    – I got enough to put you away for a few years! – Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb!

  9. Sorry to hear the end of your trip here didn’t greet you with our normally pleasant and friendly demeanor.

    I think airport staff have seminars in how to be suspicious for no apparent reason though. Experienced a very suspicious girl at check in because hubby and i only had one bag to check in and one bag of hand luggage – rather odd i thought!

  10. I wish outright weeping helped. I tried it on the way to our honeymoon! I got the worst customer service ever, in fact one of the ticketing agents outright lied to us to get us to leave. I used to love to fly, but I’m starting to lose that excitement.

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