Monday, July 9, 2012

The Brains of the Operation

This morning I drove the youngest daughter over to Heathrow Terminal 4 to catch her flight to Houston.  She has been looking forward to this trip for months, probably since her last visit in April.  She's a dyed in the wool Whataburger eatin', fajita lovin' Texas girl.

Our good friend Tom Tom made sure we arrived with nary a wrong turn.  Thanks to the 11-year-old's unaccompanied status, we got to bypass the long "economy" line and go directly to the "elite" line - yippee!  I had her all checked in and was told to return to the counter supervisor in about 30 minutes.  They don't like to take them back too early to sit at the gate.  In Houston for the return flight, the grandparents are allowed to accompany her through security to the gate and sit with her until she boards the plane.  The goobs here at Heathrow are way persnickety and won't let us past security.  I guess that's how they can justify charging $99 each way for her to fly all by herself.

So anyhoo - the counter agent was dismissing us and I had enough gumption to ask for a US landing card.  I had to fill one out in advance when she flew to visit family for spring break.  The counter agent told me they were all out.  I asked if she could get some from another agent and was told no.  When I asked how this would be handled at landing, because everyone entering the country has to complete one, I was told that the flight attendants on board would help her.

When the counter supervisor came over to reiterate that we would need to return in 30 minutes so my fearless flier could be escorted to the gate, I mentioned the landing card situation to her.  I was immediately told that airline personnel are NOT allowed to complete landing cards for any passengers - she even went so far as to say they can't touch them.  And wasn't I lucky that she had just gotten some blanks from the nearby Delta counter so I could, indeed, complete the card before my child left England.

I was glad to get that all straightened out by the boss lady.  And I may have muttered nitwit under my breath and glared at the counter agent who gave us the absolute wrong information.  I didn't go so far as to stick my tongue out at her, but I was sorely tempted because I'm just mean and ornery like that when I have to roll out at the crack of dawn to make sure my child gets where she's going in a timely manner, following all of the procedures they have in place.

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