IMG_5433We’re getting ready to fly to France in a couple of days.  We are not packed but our flights have been booked for awhile now since Sept. 5th.  Preparation for travel has never been my cup of tea.  I envy those who gets excited and thrive on it.  I am a nervous tumbleweed until I am at the airport and there’s no turning back.

As you all know, I’ve been working hard turning the tide, making consistent small changes, developing healthier habits, attitudes.  I’ve been dedicated in making PROGRESS through my writing, pushing for at least 500 words a day.  I have been succeeding – using my 15 minute segments and looking through just that one-inch picture frame.

IMG_1178Somehow, Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland have been most helpful.  In what way I am not quite sure.  Have you read it?  It really is not a children’s book.  At first it seems all nonsense but as I am reading, I see that’s how the world is much of the time – full of bureaucratic nonsense.  I say pota-to.  You say potat-o.  I say they are both the same.  No, they’re not!  Round and round we go.

We’ve been immersed in it for so long, we can’t tell nonsense from common sense any more.  Alice is teaching me to look and think outside the box.  I am no longer a rat in a maze.  I have found an escape hatch – down the rabbit hole.  Have I really?

Yesterday after I came home from a walk with Sheba, my partner said to me.  “I have something to tell you about Flight Centre.”  He had a serious expression on his face. The air went still and there seemed to be a strange buzz.  I asked him what it was.

A month ago, he had gone to Flight Centre on Broadway Avenue in person to check about flights and airfare.  He had even asked what the advantage would be to book through them rather than doing it himself online.  Their answer was that they do the work and they’re there to protect his back.  That’s their motto too on their website.

Why Choose Flight Centre?
Expert Service

Save Time, Save Money

  • Book your way – Online, phone or email
  • 24/7 availability – we are always here to help
  • Lowest Airfare Guarantee
  • Getting it right the first time, avoid unexpected costs

In the end the opposite happened.  It took quite a few phone calls to get the booking and then more phone calls to receive the e-ticket and itinerary.  He had to do the follow up every time.  It did not save time nor money.  When the e-ticket came, he noticed right away, the name did not match his passport’s.  It was Rod, instead of Rodney.

At the time the agent took his information at the office, she did not ask whether Rod was the name on his passport.  She had not mentioned passport at all nor asked to see it. There was no red alert in the email for him to check that. The fine print asked was the information was correct and he did sign it.  A *is this the name on your passport in red would have caught his attention. So where was the expert service?  Where was the watching out? An expert should know the pitfalls a traveller could fall into.

You would think that since we caught the mistake beforehand, correcting it would not be an issue or that costly.  BUT it is.  They could not make a correction on the ticket.  The ONLY recourse, Flight Centre says after speaking to the airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa,  is to cancel the ticket and issue another at the current price of $1800 something from $1100 something.

Normally there would be a $300 fee for cancelling the ticket but they would charge him just $100.  Such generosity!  And oh yes, he couldn’t just pay the difference of the cost.  He has to pay the $1900 something. The refund of the cancelled ticket will be processed in a month or two. Both the first and second payment were taken in a nano second.  I wonder why refunds take so long?  The mills of bureaucracy grind ever so slowly.  I recognize it now.  I’ve been here before. This is a refresher course, a mini workshop in case I have forgotten.

I failed to see reason in all this.  Rod will still be flying on the same flight, same plane to the same destination – basically on the same ticket with 3 more letters added to his name. Is it a far stretch for them to get Rod from Rodney?  They know he is still the same guy but now his new ticket has 3 more letters added to his name.  They had his birthdate and it is still the same on all his IDs.  Well, so much for common sense.  It is not common after all.

Enough of Alice’s Lily’s non sensible mutterings.  I’ve used up my 15 minutes and my one-inch picture frame.  Time to let go of bureaucratic red tapes.  They work in one direction only and they clearly have us by the balls.  We can only squeak and squawk in discomfort. We need to loosen our pants a little, go out and enjoy the sun and do some packing.

The south of France with its vineyards await us.  So does a little baby girl.

La Celle Village.

About hafong

Hello! My name is (Leung) Hafong alias Lily Leung. You always say the last name first….that is the Chinese way. That is my partner lurking behind me. Since this is my blog, I won’t mention his name. But this is a rather cool picture. You see me and yet you don’t…sort of the way I feel about myself most of my life. So this blog is a self-exploration, an archeology dig of some sort. My tools…..words of a thousand or so at a sitting. I will try for that.
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  1. Sara says:

    How exasperating but I do hope you have a wonderful and relaxing break. Bureaucracy!

  2. Lynn says:

    Wow! You are right, why bother using a third-party. Hope you and Rod(ney) have a great trip anyway!

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