Saturday, January 19, 2013


Less than two weeks ago I stumbled upon the above apartment in the medieval Tuscan village of Monticchiello, Italy and practically booked it overnight, and tonight I declined an invitation to attend a birthday party for a friend so I could go over to my friend Joanne’s house to book her airline ticket to join me in Italy.  I purchased my ticket with ease a couple of hours earlier.

Purchasing Joanne’s ticket was not quite so easy.

While it took me less than five minutes to pick the seats I wanted and charge my credit card, it took nearly two hours to do the same for Joanne.

In the beginning the process was uneventful.  I found the flights, entered her personal information, selected the seats next to mine and entered her credit card number , and while it was not declined, the transaction did not go through – twice.  We called her credit card company and they called the airline (the one with the friendly skies slogan) and the representative we got was for Bangladesh or Bangalore (not sure which) and I then was on the phone for over an hour as he booked the ticket for us.

The telephone connection was not good and the delay was annoying and when all was finished he gave me a total of $1645 at which point I told him I knew the price should be $1620 plus I wanted to upgrade her seat to premium seating – an additional $400 charge.  Initially he said they were not available and then I informed him that I had just purchased a ticket for myself and was on their website and that the upgraded seats were available for an additional charge.  I then proceeded to tell him exactly which seats I desired.

Then the problems started again.  He was determined to get us to pay the additional $25 fee for him booking the flight and I kept refusing and after a few minutes the credit card representative asked that he waive the fee due to the problems we encountered with their website. He begrudgingly agreed and we concluded the conversion.

To confirm the reservation I returned to the website and entered the confirmation number and successfully found the reservation, but there were two glaring errors.

After all the time I had spent on the phone with the not-so-pleasant friendly skies representative, he misspelled Joanne’s last name.  This needed to be correctly immediately so I called and this time spoke with a much more pleasant man, but it still took over 30 minutes to get the her name corrected - time consuming but Joanne entertained me by donning a cheap platinum wig and feeding me cookies and nuts.

The second error had me seeing green with envy.

I had asked, as did the credit card representative, that the processing fee of $25 be waived, but not only had that fee been waived, our unpleasant friend at the friendly skies, knowingly or unknowingly, waived the upgraded seat charge of $400.  Her total charge was $1625.

While this was not of Joanne’s doing, she seemed to relish the idea of getting a bargain (which she had nothing to do with).  I told her she owed me half the amount for the time I had invested, not to mention the birthday party I had to forego.

We settled on a meal in Italy which I will make sure is very expensive.

No comments: