Friday, March 21, 2008

I (Don't!!) Heart British Airways

I am officially at the end of my rope.

Having been forced to fly on British Airways by my husband's company, even though I knew that taking our dog with them would end in problems, I am now ready to walk to Qatar rather than deal with them any further.

Yes, that would mean walking through the Atlantic Ocean. And Northern Africa. But it might be worth it.

For one month I have been trying to get information and to make the booking for our dog's transport. I have spent hours and hours on the phone, trying to get someone to talk to me. I have left message after message, been put through to voice mail after voice mail, spent endless time on hold waiting for someone to pick up in vain. I have dialed that number no less than 100 times.

On those rare few occasions when I did manage to speak with a live person, I got conflicting and incomplete information. Yes, you need this paper. No, you don't need that. But you do need this. Well, I can give you information, but I can't actually make the booking - only one person (the one who never calls back) can do that.

Finally yesterday I thought we were done. I had emailed the duty manager (still never having spoken to the person who can do the bookings) all the details of our crate size and weight and attached the International Health Certificate as he had asked for.

At the end of the day today he called me and asked where the vet certificate was. You know, the vet certificate that no one ever mentioned.

Apparently the International Health Certificate (the only thing he ever mentioned) isn't all we need. We also need a signed certificate from the vet about her vaccine record, heartworm test, etc. So this means ANOTHER trip to the vet (our 4th in 3 weeks).

Plus he informed me that I need to have her re-checked for ticks and worms within 24 hours of the flight. Which would be fine, but our flight is at 6 pm. Which means the exam would have to be the morning we fly. The day after I turn in my car to the dealership.

I guess I'll walk there.

On top of all this, he gave me an estimate of how much we are looking at for transporting her. Are you sitting down?


That's one thousand and fifty dollars. American.

I mean, if we were talking pesos or something...

Then he tells me today, that because our layover is 15 minutes - 15 minutes!!!!- short of 4 hours, she will probably be held over in London until the next day. For a fee, of course.

I could have flown on another airline which would have allowed the dog to go as baggage, rather than cargo, and would have cost me about $400. Without all the headaches. I'm so disgusted with British Airways, and with my husband's company for forcing us to fly them. This has been, by far, the worst part of the entire move. Nothing, not the thought moving to a foreign country and culture, not the packing and moving, not living in an empty house, and maybe not even being separated from my husband, has caused me the heartache and grief that this has.

I'm terrified that a) she won't get on the flight because I can't get all the remaining paperwork, b) the import permit won't come in on time from Qatar, and c) what I will tell my son if this happens.

Sorry to vent. I guess I just needed to sort this all out and let it out, you know? Thanks for listening.

And if you happen to be the CEO of British Airways, call me. We need to talk.


stacey said...

seriously, once you are there and settled, i would so work my way to the top and make a lot noise to the big wigs!!!!

Tori said...

Hey I can totally relate. We fly often, being missionaries and all and we have had some real horor stories, our worst being American Airlines. Oh don't even get me started.

We also fly with a dog, a golden and she has never cost that much. She only costs like 150 to send. Do you have connecting flights within one ticket. That sure seems crazy. It it had been that much for our KD our dear Daddy would have left her. :0) Oh yea and we fly to the Balkans, pretty near Africa.

Hope it all works out.

Karen said...

I'll be praying for you. What day are you actually flying out?

Yes, I could count forward from your counter thingy, but I'm pleading math-phobia! :)

Jendeis said...

I'm sorry that you are encountering so much trouble in these last days. I hope that everything turns out OK and that the dog will be fine on the trip.

ValleyGirl said...

Oh, my goodness, that would be so incredibly frustrating. I hope somehow, miraculously, this will all get figured out and you'll all arrive safely ~ including your dog!

Melissa said...

I don't know if this is possible, but could you have the dog fly another airlines and have DH pick him up? Maybe he could go a few days before you do? That way you'd still have the car.


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