the airline bumped me.
and i was very good about it.
they told me and another lady that they had oversold the seats (!) and that we had been selected to 'not fly.'
what a nerve!
nobody asked for volunteers. no-one was offered an incentive to not fly.
we were the chosen ones. and apparently there was nothing we could do about it.
we were quickly made aware that the airline or tour company, or whoever was responsible for it was "100% within their rights to choose us at will because we were 'economy passengers without reserved seats on the return leg of our journey."
read that as, 'you are the lowest on the totem pole and we don't give a rat's ass about you!'
'cos i knew that's what they were really telling me.
i suppose i could have kicked up a fuss and said i had to return to attend a wedding/funeral/jury duty... but i had a feeling of apathy about the whole situation.
about my ability to fight it.
i knew i was f***ed.
i waited to be rescheduled all day but they couldn't fly us out till the next day and from another airport so we holed up in an hotel and then we flew to gatwick early the next morning to pick up another flight to toronto.
(this sounds very easy and painless when you break down the whole process into a sentence but believe me, it is just that i was so sick of the whole routine at the time, i cannot bear to relive the saga it became by writing about it.)
so after dragging bags and baggage thru gatwick airport early next a.m. to a far off zone to touch base, get new flight info, from a rude, arrogant, barsteward* who had decided we were the bumpees the day before and who proved that we were less than nothing by not even giving us the satisfaction of even pretending that he cared or understood our frustration, we dragged bags and baggage back thru the maze of airport and zones to check in.
i.e. to line up like cattle with masses of weary travellers and their emotional and physical baggage.
we went thru the process of checking in, (paying ridiculous fees for excess baggage into the bargain which only added to my pain).
we went thru security checks which have got to be the most annoying-patience testing-soul destroying things you MUST do in order to travel.
we went thru the ordeal of standing in line with hundreds of people while we all removed our shoes and put them thru a scanner.
the smell. oh the smell.
everyone in my line had athlete's foot i'm sure of it. and no-one had put clean socks on for the journey.
unless you are rich and can fly first class or have your own jet, this is your destiny.
just for the record.
I HATE IT!!!!
when i finally completed my journey (after facing off with a madwoman in the seat behind me.... but that's a whole other blog) and had rescued my bags, which i've already said, were FAR TOO HEAVY, (when will i ever learn the lesson of travelling light?), i trundled off to 'special handling/oversize items' to reclaim my beautiful print of "Tynemouth Sunrise" by Ivan Lindsay.
i paid forty five quid for it.. about $100. ok not a fortune, but still. i liked it.
and i was going to give it to m.o.h. as a gift when he picked me up.
i had it wrapped carefully in extra cardboard for protection, loads of bubble wrap and tape and decorated with "FRAGILE-WITH CARE" tape.
it came down the belt with three golf bags on top of it.
i always knew it would.
when i picked it up and shook it my heart sank.
i walked back to the guy on the 'special handling' desk.
i shook the package.
he looked at me and while handing me a leaflet entitled, "Your luggage is damaged....."
he blurted defensively "We do not accept responsibility for..."
"well there's a surprise." i responded by way of cutting him off.
and so home again.
*barsteward- a polite way of saying that a person has an unknown father.