I was flying back from States on Saturday (7/2) and was booked on Air France flight from Newark airport. The flight from Newark to Paris, was for reason cancelled and I was re-booked on Delta, which is code-share partner of Air France.
I was travelling with a check in bag, a carry-on bag and a laptop backpack. I had the same stuff on my inbound trip.
When I reached the check-in counter, the lady at the counter told me that my carry on bag would not be allowed on board, and needs to be checked in, to which I was really surprised. I told her that, I was carrying the same carry-on on my inbound flight and it was allowed. The lady at the check-in counter very rudely told me “Yes, maybe, but this is America”. To this, I almost lost my cool and wanted to tell her that I very well know that this is America, and I have been multiple times here before. Nonetheless, I did not do any such thing and kept my cool. I told her that I have been using the same carry on bag on my earlier travels, and I was never told that the bag does not meet the guidelines.
She: Also, you’re carrying two carry-on items (indicating my laptop backpack)
I: But, I guess we’re allowed a carry-on item and a personal item, which clearly includes laptop bag
She: Yes, laptop bag is allowed, but yours is a backpack!
I: What? This is a laptop backpack and not a backpack! If you wish to check the bag, please do so
She: I do not want to see what’s in the bag, but I would not consider this as a laptop bag
I was really getting frustrated by this time with the continued rude behavior of this lady. I wanted to tell her that laptop bag does not only mean messenger bags. Laptop backpacks also exists in this world! Nevertheless, I knew that anything I tell her is going to be in vain, and I would be getting nothing, but will loose my cool. I also knew that, eventually I have to board this flight to get home, and it would not matter if I call the shift manager, as I don’t trust how much he/she would help me after going against one of their own employees, even thought the employee was being rude.
I: This is the first time, someone is telling me that this is not a laptop bag.
She: (has a smirk on face)
I: Ok, let me check in my carry on bag then.
She: There you go.
I check in my carry on bag and then take out my camera bag out of the carry on to carry as personal item.
She: Here is your passport, boarding pass (hands over to me). You’re all set.
I noticed that she did not take the I-94, which is supposed to be taken at the check-in counters.
I: You forgot to take this, which is supposed to be taken by check-in counter staff!
I was very surprised and somewhat taken back, that this lady did not even say “Thanks” as a gesture. She is not being attentive on her duty and she is still being rude.
But, in situations like this, there’s very little you can do or control. You have to obey the rules, does not matter, how weird they can be, how illogical they can be, how irritating they can be.
After checking in, and getting past the security gates, I went to the gate where from I was supposed to board the flight. After some time, I noticed that there are some fellow passengers, who are carrying carry-on bags almost of the same size, I had!
Well, nothing could be done now. While I was not allowed to carry my bag, there are passengers who are carrying bags which have similar dimensions (difference of an inch can be there, which is not visible to the naked eye in a casual look).
When the boarding started, I encountered the same lady at the scan point for boarding pass. This time, I handed over my boarding pass to her, she quickly scanned it and handed it back to me. I moved on, and she called from behind. Apparently, she did not scanned it properly.
She: Sir, I need to scan it again.
I: What happened?
She: Seems that you’re having a lot of problems today (says with a smile)
I: I have a bad day but It’s not me. It’s Delta which is having problems and harassing me.
She: No, don’t say it’s bad day
I: Yeah, coz first you forget to take my I-94 then you do not scan it properly and still I have a bad day. I am not gonna fly Delta again, that’s for sure
And I move on disgruntled, irritated and somewhat harassed.
Also, their flight sucked.
Imagine a trans-Atlantic flight, not having TV screens on every seat! What the hell was that? This was another first for me!
After this experience, I know that I am never gonna fly on Delta again. If this is an example of their ground staff, who are rude, who make mistakes and even then think that the customer is having a bad day, and if they don’t have a TV screen on every seat for an 8 hour flight then I would prefer to choose a different airline.