“No one will believe us,” I said to Josh. He agreed that I was probably right. So, on the train, I started writing the details of the misadventure we were on together. This is how it began …
Our trip began on the wrong foot. We’re taking a last minute trip to England to get Josh surgery for an inguinal hernia. The surgery will be performed by The British Hernia Centre, the world’s leading source for revolutionary hernia surgery, located in Hendon, London, England. The decision was made to go to London after we learned of a British Hernia Centre doctor who had set up his own center called the Lichtenstein Institute at UCLA. This doctor could see Josh for a consultation on July 13 and we had no idea when he could actually perform the surgery since he only works one day a week. (This is why people come to America and we understand that; however, Josh is unemployable with a hernia and we were in no position to wait.) The British Hernia Centre could have gotten Josh in as soon as the second of July. He called them initially on June 28. After another call to the Lichtenstein Institute with no return call ever made, as well as some research as to the going rate for hernia surgery in California for someone without health insurance (around $15,000 base price), the decision to go to England was a no-brainer. The cost to us Americans in London: $3,200 and, well, the surgery came with a sandwich and a cup of tea after included in the price.
We set out of the house on July 3 for our trip to London. I suggested that we take the subway to LAX so that we wouldn’t have to inconvenience our friends with a two-hour round trip to the airport. We left a wee bit too late. We were to take the red line from Universal City to 7th/Metro and catch the blue line to the Imperial/Wilmington stop to take the green line to the LAX shuttle. I discovered the price of the day pass went up $2. This was a sign of things to come. The first leg of the first leg of our journey went smashingly, however we sat on the track waiting for the blue line to depart 7th/Metro for about twenty minutes. There was nothing to be done about it.
We both thought that the flight left at 10:50 p.m. We arrived at LAX at 9:50 thinking we’d dash into the self-check in, drop a bag at the bag check and scurry our way across LAX to the gate. Uh, no. We were wrong about the departure time, our flight left at 10:30 p.m. and since we hadn’t gotten there at least forty-five minutes prior to boarding we’d automatically missed our flight. We tried to convince the nice lady to let us take all the bags on the plane to no avail. She told us that we’d have to talk to a ticket agent, so we got into the enormous line of people waiting to talk to three ticket agents. The one ticket agent who was standing at a Main Cabin ticket counter was only taking first class passengers. When they finally ran dry, she decided she’d help those of us in steerage. We wound our way up to the counter and discovered that since the tickets were bought on an auction online, there was a “no refund, no changes, no stand-by, no nothing” policy attached. The lady nicely explained that we’d have to plead our case directly to the Nameless Travel Auction Company to get stand-by permission.
Off we go to sit on the floor and wheel and deal with the Nameless Travel Auction Company. After spending fifteen minutes on hold (thank goodness it was after peak hours and the minutes were free), Josh convinced the lady at the other end that getting to England was of dire consequence as he was due to have “life-saving” surgery. Those are not Josh’s words, those are mine but that’s kind of what he sounded like. If a kicked puppy could speak, that was Josh. She was convinced that England was in our best interest and changed the ticket status to open us up for the next available flight. We were very happy with that, thinking we would be on stand-by. Josh saunters back up to the counter and asks to duck back in and not wait in line again. The ticket lady, Erika, graciously acquiesced and looked up his ticket. The change was not there. She said that whatever was done was not showing and that’d we’d have to call the Nameless Travel Auction Company back again. Josh returns to our warmed up spot of linoleum and sits back down, a bit distraught.
We decided it was best to wait a few minutes before calling them back. Maybe it took the megabytes a few minutes to travel about at the Nameless Travel Auction Company. It is a discount ticket place; maybe they were discount megabytes, too. I decided that to keep Josh from popping a gasket, I’d call the Nameless Travel Auction Company and stay on hold for him so that he wouldn’t have to listen to that mind numbing music. After the cursory fifteen minutes, another nice lady answers and I hand the phone off to Josh. He explained the situation after giving his case number and she instructed us to tell the ticket agents to look at a certain screen. Josh says, “thanks,” hangs up and ditches in line again. A different nice ticket lady, Jenifer, looked at our reservation, found the stated special screen and not only did we get our status changed but we were given confirmed seats on the 8 a.m. flight from LAX to JFK in New York. Hallelujah. Next, we had to find a nice comfy spot of carpet to sleep on. We were instructed that the international terminal stayed open all night and that was the best place for stranded travelers. Stranded in our home city. Good times.
Wait, it gets “better”…