As we wrap up our second leg of Finding Ubuntu, our return home proved to be an adventure. It’s safe to say, we got FU-ed. What started with one delay, turned into 3 delays, deplaning a flight, a cancelled flight, an overnight stay at CDG airport, 3 rebooks, and one more delay. I had been up since 4 AM watching the alerts and changes come through, speaking to the AA helpline folks each time. 24 hours later, when another change alert came through, I took matters into my own hands. I called the AA helpline (for the 10th time) and politely pleaded with them to change carriers and switch us to the BA flight that got us into Austin by 4:20 PM (how appropriate).
Luckily I got the nicest voice on the other line and he made it happen. I lost our upgrade in the process though so, while we waited to board, I began the loop of going from the AA to BA ticket counters, with Amelia in tow. Each one sent me to the other, stating that they couldn’t complete the upgrade - even though there were open seats in Business class and I was willing to pay for it again. The ticket was sold as BA but booked as AA and then returned to BA. So a round and a round I went. I became a bit obsessed with it and my patience, which I was trying to role model for my daughter, was finally starting to wear thin. I stomped away from the ticket counter and Amelia snapped. She said emphatically: Stop caring about the upgrade. I don’t care about the upgrade. I felt myself start to get a bit emotional. My first reaction was hurt; I was trying to make sure that she was comfortable on the way home and I was willing to go to any length to make it happen. My second reaction was to recognize that she was tired, hungry and frustrated too. However, my third reaction came upon her next comment. 10 minutes later, she bounced back and said: you know, it really is amazing when you think about how an airport works. So there you have it. She had the very perspective I was trying to give her, except, she gave it to me. All the while, I was focused on getting us into comfy seats, she saw the bigger picture; and, on top of that, she was impressed by it. After all, AA was trying to do the best they could do and there were probably at least 300+ other people, just from our first flight alone, experiencing the very same issue at the same time.
Nothing finds Ubuntu like a shared experience, good or bad, and Amelia found it first this morning.
(Note: The title of this post was inspired by a menu item called, “The Perfect Egg”, which Amelia ordered with enthusiasm in Paris. Turns out, it was terrible. It did make for a hilarious inside joke though; so even the bad brings its gifts.)