Monday, July 16, 2012
Note to self for future flights: if online attempts to acquire seat assignments fail, call the airline ahead of time.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: There’s nothing I can do for you, sir, we’re about to board the plane.
ME: There’s three of us - my wife, myself and my daughter - and my daughter’s only five. She can’t sit by herself.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: We’re already late boarding.
ME: I booked the tickets online four months ago and your reservation system wouldn’t allow me to choose any seats. Three hours ago, when we got to the airport in Charleston for our first flight leg, I tried to get our assigned seats there, but they told me they couldn’t assign us seats for this leg from there. They said we needed to do it here in Charlotte.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: They were right.
ME: Right. Okay. Our flight just got in. We hustled across the airport and we have three separate seats not near each other, which isn’t going to work.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: Well, I don’t know what you want me to do.
ME: My daughter is five. We don’t all need to be together, but she needs to be next to my wife or myself.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: All I have for you is an empty exit row.
ME: Exit row?! Great! My five-year-old can sit in an exit row?
SIGHING GATE AGENT: No.
ME: Wow. Okay. Any other suggestions?
SIGHING GATE AGENT: Well, you’re just going to need to get on the plane and ask a few people to switch around seats when you get in there.
ME: We need to dismantle two metallic plates from our daughter’s wheelchair before we gate-check it and we need to carry her on the plane because she has trouble walking on. That will make it tough to coordinate a new seating plan once we get on with her because our three seats are all over the plane.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: This plane’s going to be late and they’re going to blame me.
ME: Can you offer the exit row seats you just offered me to someone sitting next to any of our three seats?
SIGHING GATE AGENT: That’s going to take time.
ME: It is.
SIGHING GATE AGENT ON INTERCOM: Will the passenger traveling in Seat 6C please come to the podium? Will the passenger traveling in Seat 6C please come to the podium?
PASSENGER: I’m in 6C.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: Would you be willing to switch your seat for an exit row seat for this gentlemen?
PASSENGER: Only if it’s a window.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: It’s a window. Actually, it’s a whole row.
SIGHING GATE AGENT: [Sigh.]