Thursday, April 14, 2005

The perils of Jury Duty

However in this case it's not my jury duty; I'm not a citizen of where I live yet so I'm not eligible to sit on a jury.

No, in this case I'm unable to leave France due to a curious coincidence of circumstances. I was supposed to leave last Monday and, had everything been just right, I would have. But our customer wanted me to stay for another week even though I had nothing specific to do; it was a 'comfort zone' thing. Of course, another branch of our customer, located in The Philippines, was screaming that I wasn't there! So some negotiation took place and it was agreed I'd stay until Wednesday morning. You understand that I had no part of those negotiations; I'm just a spare part.

So I fronted at the airport this morning at the ungodly hour of 6:30 AM for a 7:30 AM flight. They had no record of my booking. This hardly came as a surprise; I'd contacted our travel agent in Phoenix on Friday last week asking for a flight change; he sent me an email saying it was a done deal (including a full itinerary) but when I rang the airline on Monday they had no record. Some tooing and froing took place where our travel agent was swearing it was arranged but the airline was saying I was a no show for the Monday flight and they had no further reservations for me.

In that situation the airline wins. However, for some strange reason my return flight was still open; the problem is that they can't give me a seat until April 19th! I don't particularly mind; yeah I'm not at home but even if I'd flown out today I wouldn't be at home; I'd be off in The Philippines. If you had the choice where would you rather be? The Philippines or Nice? They can't give me an earlier flight because the conditions on the ticket require that I fly Nice to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Washington Dulles and thence to Phoenix. They might have an empty plane flying to Chicago but I can't change to it. Go figure!

This wasn't acceptable to the boss; he instructed me to order a new flight. So I called our travel agent. Alas, Kenny wasn't expected until 11 AM Phoenix time. So I bided my time and called at that hour. Now he's not expected in the office all day. I asked for a mobile phone number; it's urgent that I talk to him. No dice. They won't give it out (I wish the people I work for were so careful). So I ring my boss. He offers to ring Kenny directly. This is when I discover that Kenny is out on jury duty.

It gets better. Kenny doesn't normally arrive at the office until 9 AM Phoenix time. That just happens to be 6 PM France time this time of year. The phone number for the airline allows for the possibility of talking to humans up until 6 PM France time. After that it's just recorded messages. So who knows when I'll get to return to Phoenix? I sure don't!

[Late breaking news] It's 12:10 AM and I've just recieved an email; I'm flying out of Nice via Amsterdam to Detroit and thence to Phoenix at the even more ungodly hour of 6:30 AM.... Off to bed for this little black duck!!!

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