Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vikings and a catchy cowbell rant

I have a love/hate relationship with Swiss Air right now (Cheapoair too, but there's only so much one can expect from a company with that name). After the hell they put me through (telling me I was SOL at the ticket counter in Lyon and not helping me until I cried, deliberately scheduling me for a new flight that they knew would inevitably be cancelled again, not letting me change my departure city to Geneva until six hours before I would have to take a four hour train ride to get there, making me pay $400 to change my return date, etc.), my instinct was to create a catchy tune entitled "Swiss Air is the Devil" (cowbell accompaniment?), put it on YouTube, have the video go viral, go on a few talk shows, and destroy the airline's future client base.

However, I started to have a change of heart once I got to Geneva. When I checked my bag, I was told to proceed immediately to my gate to take an earlier flight to Zurich. The plane ended up departing an hour late because the runway was too icy for takeoff and needed to be cleaned. This "earlier" flight ended up taking off at the same time as my original flight, and had I stuck with my original flight I would have presumably missed my connection in Zurich, so that was my first bit of good luck. And they gave me yummy Swiss chocolates. And the flight attendants all spoke three languages. And they were super nice. Quadruple win.

Once I got on my flight, I was psyched to see that there were TV screens on each of the seat backs. The food was delicious and it felt like they would never stop feeding us. I had dinner, two snacks, and breakfast. And more chocolate. Somewhere during that time I watched The Way (excellent) and part of The Help (also excellent) before falling asleep next to a man who looked like a viking. Later when he was filling out customs papers, I discovered that my instincts were correct. He was Norwegian.

The only mishap was when my remote stopped working with three hours left of the flight. That part was sad.

My next flight from San Francisco to Phoenix went by crazy fast. A friend of mine happened to be on the same flight, so we chatted the entire time. From that point on, my vacation was wonderful.

My return to France went surprisingly smoothly. There were zero delays and two of my flights were half-empty. While waiting for my connection in San Francisco on the way back to France, I spent some time on the phone putting in an insurance claim with the nicest lady I've dealt with during this whole catastrophe. She assured me that I will be reimbursed the $400 I was charged and was shocked that they had the nerve to charge me the fee in the first place. It was a relief to talk to someone who finally acknowledged the ridiculousness of the situation. Now all I have to do is send in some paperwork within the next year to get my refund.

For the moment, I am happy with Swiss Air. However if my claim gets rejected and I don't get my refund, I might just have to write that catchy, anti-Swiss Air, cowbell, rant-y song. And then I'll post Facebook status updates asking you to share the link.

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