Last April (2010) we planned a two week trip to Nice, France to visit with Grandpa and help him to settle into his new city. Everyone was excited to go and Taylor had told all his school friends he was going to France. Our date was shortly after the volcano issue and, lucky us, the day before our flight planes were finally okayed to fly in our trip's direction.
|Just dropped at airport...(T really was excited, you'll just have to believe me)|
On the day we grabbed T from the bus, jumped into a cab and headed to the airport. Each plane we saw taking off made us all the more excited. We got into line, not horribly long surprisingly (we had expected the airport to be jammed with stranded people waiting for a break), and waited. Well, with two young children anything more than five minutes is long and they began to complain. A nice British Airways woman rescued us and let us into the business class line which was MUCH shorter.
Once at the check-in desk we presented all our papers and passports and gave ourselves high fives that we were almost on our way. Then, the British Airways woman asks for the infant's passport. Ummmm....
Here's the conversation...
Us: "The what?"
Her: "The baby's passport."
Us: "She doesn't have a passport."
Her: "She needs a passport to travel."
Us: "But she's only 1 years old! She doesn't even walk yet. Why does she need a passport?"
The male co-worker now standing behind Her: "She's a HUMAN BEING isn't she?!"
(Add a silent "DUH" after his statement, coupled with hands on hips and a cocked head and eyebrow)
Her: "NEXT..." (looking over us and never again in our direction)
Us: "But what are we to do? Our plane leaves in two hours?"
Well, we moved away from the desk, heads hung low, Taylor asking why we weren't getting on the plane. I felt like I was going to both throw up and throw down. The lady and the man were officially off my Christmas list. We called a cab to take us home and rode home in silence.
Now, comes the hurray part......
James, my amazingly wonderful husband, and our incredibly intelligent friend Jen worked it out so we could still use our tickets with no penalty and we rescheduled for two weeks later. It ended up that, lucky for us, there was a "Volcano" umbrella that allowed us to reschedule our trip at no extra cost.
Now it wasn't easy mind you. James had to talk to a couple BA operators who didn't know what they were doing and finally got a manager that was super good at his job and worked it all out for us. But because we were so crushed by the ordeal we didn't see the way until Jen propped us back up.
Jen: "You gave them thousands of your dollars for tickets and they still owe them to you, now get back on that phone and get your tickets!"
A couple days later I dashed up to Philadelphia and got Emm a passport and renewed mine overnight since it was close to expiring. We kept our bags packed and made our next flight. Whew! Now, it's just a fun story we get to tell at dinner parties.
POSITIVE SIDE...the good karma part that kept me positive through it all was that because our family (three seats on the plane) couldn't go, it opened up three seats to people who were stranded in NYC due to the cancellation of their flights from the volcano.
MORAL...If you're human, you need a passport. And those BA agents are sticklers for that rule!