September 22, 2005

Rita in Our Lives

One of my wife's students, who just graduated and who lives in Houston, stayed over with us last night. Her children live in Houston also, so she is quite worried. The area they live in is not yet under mandatory evacuation order, but it is near areas that are. Given what CNN and the Weather Channel are saying, flooding apparently may reach into areas not predicted. So, the level of insecurity and foreboding is high.

Since early this morning, we have been struggling to get an answer from Continental Airlines about her flights later today from Burlington, Vermont to Philadelphia to New Orleans to Houston, some of which are US Air and some Continental. US Airways has told us that her flights don't exist. Not that they have been cancelled, but THAT THEY DON'T EXIST. We have been on hold for close to three hours with Continental (they told us it would be 70 minutes) because their website also says her flights DON'T EXIST. We have her actual tickets, in hand, printed, booked by Continental for these flights, but these both airlines now say her flights don't exist. Obviously, we can't check flight status for flights that don't exist.

Perhaps Continental Airlines doesn't exist? How about US Air? Do they exist? For that matter, does our friend exist? Or is she the product of some sadistic corporation's idea of a customer?

For the 3 hours we have been on hold we have heard an announcement from Continental that repeats every 30 seconds or so, accompanied by the same screaming, four-bar rock guitar riff which has brought us to the edge of our sanity. Some idiot who works for Continental must have devised this little ditty thinking real people might like to hear it over and over and over for hours. We are thinking some new age music would be nice about now.

It's getting late, so we may have to just go to the airport and figure it out from there.

I'll keep you all advised.

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