Monday, January 28, 2008

In other words...more whine

Is blogging just an artful name for complaining? I mean the art of a blog is to make a point of some kind, give an opinion on a certain subject, to blast politicians, Wall Street or if like me, to sell books (Belly of the Whale: Spring release 2008). Where do we find the fodder for a blog? Can we include a certain measure of whining and complaining? Shouldn’t one or both be allowed?

Take, for instance, the case of my expired air miles with American Airlines. There was a time when I had the opportunity to travel long distances, to foreign countries, over the Atlantic and the Pacific. My hours in the air accrued and the coveted mileage too.

Later, as in the present, despite a drop off in my travel coupled with my need to fly American (since 9/11) I had collected enough mile credits to fly not only in the contiguous US, but also to Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Last September I had a college reunion in Chicago. I made reservations on American Airlines and was all set to turn in my miles after that trip. My reasoning was there was no need to use my miles to go to the Windy City. It didn’t seem worth it. American cancelled my flight a few weeks before my trip and was not able to reschedule from the same airport at another time. After much back and forth I gave up and flew Jet Blue.

Now this is where the complaining blog idea takes on a life. My loyal and trustworthy dog is a great listener but she is unable to answer my questions or offer advice. I explain to my canine companion that I attempted to cash in my miles with American a few days ago only to discover that my miles had expired and had been erased. The dog put her paws on her ears. She didn’t want to hear the rest.

Welcome to the world of automation, pressing buttons, confusion, phone screaming and finally customer service. Yes, we can reinstate your miles. Good news, no. Two ways: buy them back or apply for a new credit card. I explain further, I complain long, I whine with the proper inflection. No success.

So I have resorted to blogging. Someone out there must commensurate with me. Be warned: There is a vast treasure chest of reclaimed miles spilling over with Silas Marner of the airlines keeping watch. Spare me the explanations of airline policy. What happened to the old fashioned: The customer, in the end, is always right?

Blog on...
Linda Merlino

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