Royal Jordan Airlines- Detroit- Amman
“Sorry, but your tickets aren’t in the system.”
We stared at the Jordanian Airline agent in disbelief.
“What do you mean they’re not in the system? You’ve got boarding passes for us and you’ve got the reservation document,” I point out.
“Yes, but your e-ticket numbers aren’t on it. We need your e-ticket numbers before we can let you get on the plane. We can’t ascertain that you paid for tickets unless we have those numbers.”
Six months of planning, organizing, waiting and packing. Six months of figuring out how to put our business on sabbatical, who was going to look after our house, where to store our car, who was going to shovel snow for us, who would pick up our mail, and who was going to drive us to the airport. The big day had finally arrived. We had crossed the border from Windsor to Detroit without a hassle and had pulled up to the airport more than two hours before our flight. How could we not have tickets? This couldn’t be happening, could it??
Trying not to lose my cool, I methodically explain how I followed the procedure on the British Airways and Royal Jordan websites regarding check-in procedure and last night had received an email with instructions to print it out for presentation at check in. As far as I was concerned I had done everything right. The agent was sympathetic but after inspecting the document and all the others I had in my file, could not find the magic ticket numbers. As far as she was concerned, we weren’t getting on that plane. She explained there had been a scam of late where someone had nearly gotten through without their e-ticket numbers so the airline was on alert.
Our hearts sank while our minds wrestled with the horrible idea of having to turn around and return home to Windsor.
Fortunately, local Royal Jordanian Manager Josie swung into action, wokred two cell phones at one time and eventually determined that BA had confirmed only a reservation, but had not issued an e-ticket. Explaining she wasn’t supposed to call the airline she proceeded to gto determine what the problem was. Finally, a glimmer of hope! We waited for what seemed like an eternity as Josie was put on hold. Fortunately, the departure had been delayed by 25 minutes so we weren’t racing the clock.
Meanwhile, Elaine suggested getting out my laptop out to determine if I had indeed been issued an e-ticket but had not printed it. While I couldn’t come up with an e-ticket receipt I did find my record of confirmation as well as the record of the points used for this leg of the trip – Detroit to Aman, Jordan – the start of our 4-month travel adventure proving that the ticket had indeed been paid for.
With her iphone tucked between her chin and her shoulder and the other phone in her left hand texting, Josie carried on assisting other passengers while Elaine and I hoped for a miracle. Finally, finally she was put through to a BA agent and whereupon learned we were meant to submit our passport info but no one had ever requested it. As no passenger can leave the US without providing passport info we had therefore not been issued an e-ticket. The BA agent was able to provide numbers to Josie who excitedly punched them in, gave us our boarding passes and told us we could proceed to security. I received an e-mail confirming this fact soon after.
We could have kissed her.
What should have taken only minutes check-in had taken over an hour but at least we were certain our trip wasn’t over before it had even started. Arriving at our gate just before boarding we were surprised when the allotted time came and went without any activity or announcement that there had been a further delay. Elaine approached the desk to find out what was happening and was told that the plane was being cleaned. As it was due to take off in ten minutes, it looked like we weren’t getting on for another half hour at least. The good news was this gave Elaine enough time to negotiate upgraded seats from our new friend Josie who was now in charge of the departure desk.
When I saw Josie walking back with Elaine to where I was sitting, my first thought was she was going to tell me we had been upgraded to business class. Instead Josie proceeded to give me bad news: there had been a mistake. Only Elaine could get on the plane. WTF? I almost fell for it but then noticed the smile on her face, which turned into laughter when she realized the jig was up. While we didn’t get an upgrade, at least the bulk head seats Josie re-assigned us allowed for plenty of leg room. As this was an overnight flight we hoped this would help us get some sleep during the ten-hours we would be airborne.
A while later, Josie returned with Mohammed who she explained was the Jordanian Airline Chief purser and she had instructed him to give us special treatment since we had experienced so much stress checking-in. Mohammed was very charming and assured us we would be well taken care of. And indeed, he brought us a complimentary bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne to accompany our dinner.
The flight seemed endless, and of course there was a baby who cried non-stop on board, plus about an hour of turbulence over the Atlantic that made me feel nauseous and freaked Elaine out, but somehow we managed to get some shut eye. Shortly before we mercifully touched down in Jordan, Mohammed re-appeared to explain he hadn’t been able to take care of us during the flight because we had been sleeping, so could he give us two bottles of wine to take with us?
Yep, it definitely pays to be nice to people.
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