Sunday, March 22, 2009

Your Reservation Requires Special Handling

The Husband and I have been on vacation this past week. Here's how it started:

Continental Airlines phoned The Husband on Friday, March 13th, inquiring if we had any flexibility in our travel plans, since it was spring break week and all flights were full (code for overbooked).  They offered travel vouchers and a later flight, but those options did not work with our plans.

The Continental representative advised The Husband to be sure and login to Continental.com and check in for our flight as soon as possible AND to arrive at the airport early the next day.  The Husband phoned me and repeated the conversation, which we both began to think of as strange since the tickets were booked using my Continental account and points, so why didn't they phone me to have this conversation?

In any event, I obediently logged on that afternoon and the website would not allow me to check in.  It said something to the effect:  "Your reservation requires special handling.  Check in at an airport kiosk."  So, I phoned Continental and spoke to a nice person who advised she could see nothing wrong with our reservations and to try again.  I tried a few times and it did not work.

We ultimately decided to drive to the airport to check in early, as we most certainly did not want to miss our flight on Saturday.  The ticket counter and kiosks were closed.  A Continental employee spoke to us and advised they were closed and that we could check in on-line.  We explained the situation and she immediately went to the counter to help us, even though she could have sent us on our way.

She immediately logged into the system and started doing all the mysterious things airline employees do to check in travelers.  I was a bit worried when she pulled out several pages of instructions that were covered in a multitude of hand written notes. She kept pecking away at the terminal and eventually asked for our ids.  She looked at them, pecked at the terminal and eventually the boarding passes started printing.  She looked up at The Husband and said, "There was a problem because your name is on the federal No Fly list.  Someone's looking for you!"

Of course, no one is really looking for MY husband, just someone who has the same name.  We were both so glad we took the time to drive to the airport and that she was willing to help us after the counter closed.  

Here's a "shout out" to Crystal at the Continental Airlines ticket counter in the Tulsa International Airport for great customer service.  Thanks, Crystal!

Addendum to this post:
So, it's Friday, March 20th and we return home on Saturday, the 21st.  Again, Continental phoned The Husband, but he missed the call.  We logged onto their website and tried to check in on-line.  Again we were told, "Your reservation requires special handling.  Please check in at an airport kiosk."  He phoned Continental and spoke to two very nice women who assured us our reservations were fine, but perhaps he was on the federal No Fly List, since their system would allow me to check in, but not him.  

If this is how it is going to be every time we travel, this is not good.  It totally is not convenient to wait until we get to the airport to check in and get our boarding passes, since the majority of the time we do not check bags. Frustrating!  I guess we will do some research about the federal No Fly List to understand how a name appears on the list and then disappears from the list.  

Second addendum to this post:
Check in on Saturday, the 21st, went smoothly after The Husband showed his id.  The Continental employees were great.

2 comments:

  1. What did your husband do that is so terrible they won't allow him to fly???? I can only imagine! :)

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  2. Oh no, my name got the mysterious "check-in requires special handling" jibberjabber, but my wife's checks in online just fine! oh boy. Guess I gotta go to the airport early, which already requires waking up at 5am to drive there... thanks FBI or whoever you are

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