Though it has to do with our recent the trip to US, strictly speaking, this is more about after our return.
I finished my chores in the market and finally planted myself before her usual busy self in her office.
Despite feeling a little dizzy after a sleepless night on the flight, I had not lost my cool. Making light of it, I said: ‘Out there, I bragged how efficient you guys were and then…you let me down.’
‘Why, why? What happened?’
I knew she knew she had goofed – she had not got me an aisle-side seat for me as expressly requested. Also, she had not acknowledged or apologized for it when I brought it to her notice later by email a couple of days ago.
A few more words exchanged – all polite. She came up with some clumsy explanation about how sometimes airlines on their own alter the seat allocations subsequently – the look on my face would have screamed aloud ‘I’m not buying it’.
Ending the brief conversation – the point was already driven home – I brought out the real reason of my visit to her office: ‘Here’s a small ‘thanks’ for your efforts…our trip went off well.’
Believe me, it was genuinely felt and said without the slightest trace of sarcasm, not letting the goof-up detract from the larger picture.
A look of surprise. She took the bag from me, glanced for a moment at the contents – a packet of 20+ pieces a well-known brand of chocolates, and put it away under her seat, mumbling her ‘thanks’.
Nothing else on the agenda to go with, I took off.
Well, out there you may be wondering what am I doing in the first place with a travel agent in these ‘digital’ days. They are still in business, I suppose, chiefly because of people like us – we never travel on the tickets bought first time. There’s always at least one round, if not more, of cancellation and rebooking. And in this regard I’m not comfortable dealing online with the airlines direct with their maze of ‘this but not that’ in small print I cannot or simply fail to read on the screen – blame it on my faulty vision, impatience or sheer ‘illiteracy’ – causing untold woes, not mentioning those numerous action-packed and cost-loaded little boxes, scattered all around threatening to cause havoc if left (un)ticked. Take what happened this time, for instance: our return travel was – no big surprise here – rescheduled just a few days before the journey, at not an insignificant expense, and that’s when she had goofed on seat allocation while doing right and very right on other counts of budget and dates.
Have I always been doing it?
Well, truth be told, never before. Though, I traveled quite a bit in my long years of employment and less frequently thereafter in retirement. The closest I ever came to: During Diwali, our travel agent, true to the local business custom, always brought me gift-boxes of premium sweets. And my family loved sweets! The boxes were unfailingly turned over to the insiders staffing the travel-desk. Never took one home after some initial learning.
So what if I had never done it before? Anytime is a good time, I think. What do you say?
Would I continue to do so in future? Let’s see.
Why did I write about it here? The purpose would be more than served well if, as a result, at least one more agent somewhere receives grateful acknowledgement of his/her efforts with regard to arranging a good work or pleasure trip for a customer.
Source: image from travelguideindia.org