Well, the time has come, for us to go back to the land of cold. We will leave the mid-70s, sunshiny days on Saturday and be freezing by Sunday afternoon.

The travel arrangements, of course, have not been easy. Because nothing associated with Bulgaria seems to be easy. I had to cancel our original flight on Dec. 6th because of the whole work visa debacle (you’ll recall…we waited and waited only to be denied). I called United on Dec. 7th to re-schedule, asking for the following Friday, December 15th. Apparently the ticketing agent gave me the flight on December 8th instead. Imagine my surprise when I called up on Monday, the 10th, to get an e-Ticket and my ticket had been cancelled.

And what ensued was UGLY. Arguments, 4 hours on the phone with nearly 10 different representatives, supervisors calling me a liar–and nothing gets the ol’ Irish blood a’boilin’ like being called a liar!!–one agent sending me to customer relations, customer relations sending me back to the ticketing agents, trying to charge me a thousand dollars (yeah–you read that right) change-of-fare charge, blah, blah, blah. Until finally, finally, an agent found me a flight on Saturday the 16th that would not cost me an extra $1000. I mean at one point, one of the agents said,”Our agents would NEVER make a mistake like that”. Serious. He said that. As if they employ only perfect people who have never faltered.

Oh. And you might be interested to know that United now outsources all of its ticketing, reservations, and customer relations to a company in India. Ok, so they were going bankrupt, and they had to do something. And I even understand outsourcing the reservations, because we can all find out own flights on the internet these days, so that’s not a major job. But to outsource your customer relations???? Like the dude in India cares if your customers are happy and keep returning to give you more business. I can tell you most assuredly, he does NOT care. One bit. I’m thinking United must have been super desperate to outsource that department, but they really should re-evaluate how much business they lose compared to the dollars they save with this labor force. Just an idea.

And so continues my love/hate relationship with this airline. When we moved over to Bulgaria, the employees were awesome, taking excellent care of our dog, and always letting us know how he was doing. They made our re-location so easy. And yet, now….this! I am giving them another chance, but if they irritate me on the next flight, we will begin commuting between the countries on another carrier. I will find their arch nemesis and fly them.

Harumph! That’ll show them!

*p.s. I used to like that little ditty done by George Gershwin, but after hours on hold, listening to the same tune over and over and over again, I hope to never hear a Gershwin song again. Ever.