After a long flight from Australia (with a comfort stopover in LA), our new puppy, Lucky Star, arrived Friday evening. Here's a photo of her contemplating the sheepskin that she's lying on.
Of course the trip was not without "adventure". Is there a reason airlines simply must torment their customers? Airline management must be brain-dead. Or are ex-Soviet bureaucrats.
I had the flight info and airbill number, but where at the airport to pick up Lucky? She was arriving on a regular flight, but was "cargo". The airline (United) had lots of information on how well they treat animals (and they did), but no info on where to pick them up. There wasn't even information on where United cargo could be picked up (Boston airport has two cargo terminals).
Figuring to cover all angles, I arrived early and went to the regular "baggage service" office. The polite lady informed me I was at the wrong place, but at least she told me where the United cargo location was and how to drive there (not easy in the circuitous airport road system). Arriving at the cargo area, I was confronts with my "Authorized parking Only" signs, threatening towing. No visitor or pickup parking. Hmmm. I asked a fellow where United was and he pointed "over there, to the right."
I saw a fellow pull out of one of the forbidden parking spots, and figuring he was leaving from work (it was just after 5PM), I took his spot. I walked to the United office and eventually a fellow appeared. He said the puppy would arrive at the cargo terminal in about 20 minutes as the flight had just landed. Asking about parking, he said I could park in the handicapped spot in front of the office so long as I did not leave the car. Thinking that made no sense, as to get Lucky I would, of course, have to leave the car, I just stayed put.
Twenty minutes later, I saw Lucky's crate at a cargo bay door. I went inside again. The fellow said I'd have to pay a $35 "terminal fee" (check or cash - exact change). Hmmm. That was never mentioned anywhere or by anyone. The fellow thought the computer response to the airbill number was odd. He called a person in the office. The office person said that meant the $35 was prepaid. The guy then went to the rear and came back saying the "supervisor" said I had to pay. I had the cash - exact change - and said I wanted a receipt. He said he had no cash receipts. Hmmm. I said to write me one somewhere and he wrote on on the airbill form that I had to sign for the pickup. I further told him that I thought the fee was prepaid and I was going to make United pay me back, and that the animal transport service (a "premium" service) would have told me if I had to pay $35 on pickup, having charged me multiple thousand $ for the overall transport of Lucky.
Time will tell, but my guess is the terminal station supervisor was an ex-Soviet bureaucrat wanting to push the common man around. At least it was me doing the pickup - I always have cash and in small bills (a holdover from paying NYC taxi fairs). Mrs. B would have had no cash or checks - she pays by credit card for everything, even a $5 McDonald's tab.
[By the way, when I post a photo, the blogger seems to strip out my extra lines that I used to make this post more readable.]
I will update the model this AM to see if Krypto has any sell orders.
Word of the Day
"Diffident" - noun [$10]
Diffident means 1. lacking confidence, timid; 2. reserved, unassertive.
Sentence: The other dogs are maintaining a diffident attitude towards the puppy.