I’m still venting about this, apparently.

In returning to the airport for our flight home yesterday, we had to stop and return the rental car. For some reason (flu, warm weather, whatever), most of Budget’s staff had called in sick. This meant that we had to stand in line, at the counter, where nothing is ever fast, in order to complete the transaction instead of the check-in-and-you’re-done thing that usually happens really fast in the parking lot. Which, in turn, made us later than we wanted to be when we got to the actual airport.

Where we discovered we were too late to use the automated kiosks, and therefore had to stand in another line. Where we were informed that we were to late to check our one bag (which we were going to check since it had a bottle of hair gel (Aveda, $20). The choice became “toss the liquids” or wait in Standby for the 6:30pm flight.

This all was frustrating enough, but the part that’s really irritating was the smug attitude of the woman at the counter.

“This is why we tell people to arrive at least 40 minutes early,” she says.

“We did. Budget took extra time with the rental car.”

“Yes, so you should have arrived early.”

It would have been so much nicer if she had acknowledged that there had been a hiccup in the system, a deviation from the plan. A simple “I’m sorry,” would have been welcome, and would have gone a long way toward making us a bit happier. No one was asking this woman to hold the plane, to waive some regulation, to take the blame for anything. To ask us to have somehow anticipated that Budget would be understaffed and have factored that into our schedule for the day is absurd. Are we supposed to arrive at the airport at dawn and wait there all day for an afternoon flight, just in case there’s a delay, a traffic accident, a strike, someone doesn’t get their coffee in time? Shit happens. We’d admitted we were late; we didn’t need to have some smug, self-righteous woman in a uniform rub our faces in it.

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