Sunday, October 13, 2013

send in the clowns

ahh, it's a day and a half until the school group departs for st. petersburg. still no visas and still no flight details, tho' we did, late thursday evening, get a more detailed itinerary as to the actual sights the kids will see. we were told they have to be at the airport at 4:30 a.m. on tuesday, tho' no flight number or time or anything to accompany that enlightening little fact. we were given a link to the air baltic website and a reference number so we could check in online. sadly, since it's a group reservation, i cannot actually access flight numbers, flight path or flight times (e.g. an itinerary) and it's still too early to check her in, so i can't see it that way either. so i wrote back and said that i thought that the flight information was missing on the information we received. 

the clown who sent it responded, "what specifically is missing?" 

i answered, "times, flight numbers, airline, just the usual flight itinerary, like any normal trip." then i further explained that i couldn't see it on the air baltic website, due to it being a group reservation. i said i couldn't imagine there were direct flights between billund and st. petersburg, so there must be at least one flight about which we lacked any information at all.

then, while impatiently waiting for an answer (he had answered quickly the first time, despite it being sunday, so i expected an answer just as quickly), i thought i'd dig out an old flight itinerary and show him what i meant (tho' in this day and age, imagining that someone hasn't seen an airline's flight itinerary is a bit of a stretch). so i sent him an old one from my days of traveling with SAS (they once owned Air Baltic, so i figured the same systems would be in place). and since his tactic is to treat me as if i'm a small, dull child, i carefully explained it all to him:
"When you travel, the travel agency or even just the airline provides a PDF with all of the flight details on it. I have attached an example, in case you're not familiar with these. It contains all of the information needed for the flights - flight number, airline, departure time, terminal, arrival time, how much luggage is allowed. All of this information is included for each of your flights. Everything you need to know about your flights if you (or more importantly, your 12-year-old child) are going on a trip to another country. Depending on the airline, it's even available electronically, so you can use Passport on your iPhone as your ticket/check-in.

I expect to receive such an itinerary tomorrow morning at the latest. Specifically."
he initially responded that he didn't have such a detailed itinerary, but that he would look into it.

then, a little bit later, he sends this:
BT146 Billund - Riga
BT442 Riga - Sct. Petersborg (sic)
BT445 Sct. Petersborg (sic) - Riga
BT145 Riga - Sct. Petersborg (sic - believe this should read Billund)
we're getting closer, but still no flight times or the actual dates of the flights (tho' the dates i more or less know, since a previous 8-mail conversation finally revealed those).

why be so difficult, i wondered and so i remarked "no times/dates? very mysterious."

then he has the nerve to answer that they were included in the previous mail. which they were not. if they were, i wouldn't have been asking in the first place.

and i couldn't help myself, i had to ask:
I sincerely do not understand why getting this perfectly normal, logical information out of you is like pulling teeth. What possible reason would you have to keep essential details like this from us? It was the same way with the changed dates, it took 4-5 emails to get the new dates from you. I don't think I'm asking too much or for anything out of the ordinary. I am a parent who wants to know the details of her 12-year-old daughter's trip.
and funnily enough, it's been nearly and hour and he hasn't answered. and i still don't know the actual flight times of these flights. tho' now, with the flight numbers, i could look it up and probably will. we have exchanged ten mails and i still don't have the information i need and it's not like it's something special i'm asking for, just a simple, normal flight itinerary, which every travel agent or airline provides when you make a booking. i just wonder why it has to be so hard? 

i would have canceled this whole thing long ago, but somehow i want to see how it plays out. and if we cancel, sabin's friend is left alone on the trip without anyone she knows and we didn't want to do that to her. i'm still holding out hope that it won't happen because they won't have the visas by 4:30 a.m. tuesday morning, but only time will tell. 

i'll keep you posted.

update: i finally got a response from the clown, he said, and i quote (translation mine), "i have read your mail and have nothing to add. that's it from here." 

* * *

"Society is telling us, like, be true to yourself, authentic, develop your potential, be kind to others. It’s kind of what I ironically call a slightly enlightened Buddhist hedonism."
--yup, zizek has still got it.


Anonymous said...

I must admit, the more I read about this trip, the more nervous I am becoming on your/Sabin's behalf. But then I am the person who obsessively uses Street View to 'walk' through new places (see: Copenhagen, Chicago, Boston) so I don't feel lost. And who travels with at least 4 copies of my itinery on my person!

kristina said...

oh man. oh. man.