Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Still no in-laws, AND YET.

Soooo. The in-laws were supposed to arrive last night at 5. They were scheduled on a Delta flight from Frankfurt to Detroit and another from Detroit to Denver. But yesterday morning they called us to tell us that their flight from Frankfurt to Detroit was canceled, and they were stuck in Frankfurt overnight. Of course it wasn't simple--they'd spent hours at the gate being told that they'd be boarding in 20 minutes before the flight was finally canceled--but they were eventually packed off to a hotel in Frankfurt and told to report to the airport at 9 a.m. today for a flight.

SO. There was no confirmation from the airline that they would definitely be flying out this morning, so last night I logged into their online itinerary using their confirmation code to see if they had been rebooked on another flight, and if so, what flight.

And OH, were they rebooked. For a flight TOMORROW, that went first to Paris (where they had a FOUR-HOUR layover), then to Atlanta, THEN to Denver.

Obviously, this was NOT acceptable. A two-day delay and then a three-flight trip? First I called bullshit, and then I called Delta. The first number I tried had me go through a million automated voice prompts before giving me a recording saying that due to unusually high call volume, they would be UNABLE TO TAKE MY CALL, and I should try again later. Then it HUNG UP ON ME.

After I got over the shock (I have NEVER called a 24/7 customer service line and not AT LEAST been given the option to wait on hold for several hours), I called another number, finally got through to a real person, who told me they couldn't help me and transferred me to another person, who ALSO told me they couldn't help me and transferred me to another person, and apparently the third time is the charm because this woman COULD help me, and DID.

It took an hour and a half while she searched airline after airline for a decent itinerary for a flight TODAY, NOT TOMORROW, and FINALLY she found a flight leaving Frankfurt at noon, going through Atlanta, and then arriving this evening in Denver. It had only one stop. It was on Lufthansa, which is widely considered one of the best airlines in the world, especially by Germans. The layover was a perfectly reasonable length, enough time for them to get through customs without stressing but not so much time that they will be sitting in the airport for hours on end.

Instead of a 22-hour trip airport-to-airport, they are now booked on a trip that will take them 14 hours total. By calling Delta, we saved them a day stuck in Frankfurt and eight hours of travel time, not to mention getting them a transatlantic flight on a better airline.

In short, it was perfect. The Delta rep booked it, sent me confirmation emails, and was generally so wonderful that I actually WAITED ON HOLD AGAIN just so I could tell her supervisor how wonderful she had been.

Over two hours later, I finally hung up the phone. And then there was just one small detail left--getting in touch with Torsten's parents to tell them about the change in plans. It was about 5 a.m. in Frankfurt but we knew they'd probably be awake, since they were thinking that they'd be flying out of Frankfurt at 9. We called their cell phone. No answer. We called their hotel room. No answer. We called the front desk of the hotel, who confirmed that they had not yet checked out and was even so kind as to go knock on the door of their room--but no answer.

Finally we figured out that they must be having breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and the front desk connected us to the restaurant hostess, who literally called out their name in the middle of the restaurant and finally got Torsten's dad on the line.

So Torsten explained to his dad: your original flight to Detroit yesterday was scheduled for 10:50. There was no 9 a.m. flight. They just told you to show up at the airport at 9 a.m. so that you could be told when you would actually be flying, and through where. We knew that, so we checked your itinerary online and saw that you had been booked on a terrible three-leg trip that wouldn't actually leave for another day. So we spent two hours on the phone with Delta and got you a great flight, for today, on your favorite airline, with just one layover. Here are the details and we'll see you tonight! Yay!

EXCEPT. His parents were PISSED. I am not even kidding when I say they flat-out DID NOT BELIEVE US. His father kept repeating that no, they weren't flying out tomorrow on a three-leg trip, they were flying out this morning at 9 to Detroit. And we said no, there IS no 9 a.m. flight to Detroit, even if you WERE flying through Detroit it would be at the same time as YESTERDAY'S scheduled flight, but there is no way they can fit two planes' worth of people onto one plane, so instead they booked you on this terrible flight TOMORROW, but we fixed it for you, and you're all set, here are the details.

And they just INSISTED that we were wrong. His father kept asking why on earth we would book them a flight for noon, through Atlanta, when they had been planning to leave at 9, through Detroit. And no matter how many times we explained that THE NINE A.M. FLIGHT DIDN'T EXIST, and if we hadn't called they would be SPENDING ANOTHER NIGHT IN FRANKFURT, they just insisted we were wrong. Throughout Torsten's 20-minute phone call with his dad, we could hear his mother in the background, complaining vigorously. Complaints centered around the fact that we were interfering, why couldn't we have left well enough alone, they had this great 9 a.m. flight and now they had to wait until noon, she wanted to fly through Detroit and not Atlanta, and so on.

I have never heard two people more upset to get good news. Or two people more unwilling to believe THEIR OWN CHILD when he told them that no, it is NOT just the website saying that you're on this crappy itinerary TOMORROW, the people on the phone CONFIRMED that this was your booking, and if we hadn't called you would have shown up at the airport ONLY TO BE SENT AWAY AGAIN.

They just WOULD NOT BELIEVE IT. And I know, I KNOW, that his mother will spend the ENTIRE NINE-HOUR FLIGHT today complaining about how we ruined their whole trip, and why are they on this stupid flight, and if they'd left at 9 they'd be there by now.

I am not even kidding, I WISH we had never called to change their flights. They say they wish we hadn't interfered? I wish the same thing. I wish I had those two hours of my life back, and that they had shown up at the airport this morning only to be told that no, they would not be flying out that day, and they would have the crappiest of all flight itineraries the NEXT day. At least then they'd be mad at Delta and not mad at us.

MAD AT US. For HELPING them and saving them TWO DAYS of misery.

The sad part is, Torsten and I were both LOOKING FORWARD to this visit. We were actually DISAPPOINTED about the original flight delay, and even more disappointed when we saw that it might be a two-day delay. And now? We are DREADING it.

Torsten swears he's sleeping at the neighbors' house tonight so he doesn't have to deal with them. And I have to say, I really don't blame him. Seriously, I am tempted to make them sleep on the floor without even a towel, next to the vicious dog.


  1. Oh man. You poor thing. I feel so much anxiety just reading this I can only imagine how IRATE you must feel. You are a saint and you will get through this! Perhaps you could ask your company to request that you fly to DC for a few days for a quick "emergency" work trip? :) Good luck tonight!

  2. Um, really? Like seriously? Was there staic on the phone? Is there any chance they didn't understand Torsten? Surely they can't be pissed that you were making sure they weren't wasting more time and now they have more time to spend with you guys.

    And also--on the floor with no towel--HA!

  3. You poor poor thing. My MIL would totally be the same way ... but my MIL has never, and I hope never will, stayed with us for a month. I"m so sorry.

  4. good intentions and all that! hope their actual visit goes better than this.

  5. Oh my... This right here makes me happy I don't have in-laws :o) Although I'm sure they are lovely people overall! I guess you chalk it up to lesson learned: People who think you don't have extra towels or a mattress are the same people who will not take kindly to you being kind toward them. I detest Lufthansa, personally, so I hope their flight is as "fun" as mine was, where I ended up with lost luggage, and a toiletries bag from Lufthansa that included an OB tampon and an XXL white T-shirt.

    Just breathe. Once they get to your beautiful new home and see Denver scenery, I'm certain they will become somewhat more pleasant. Good luck!

  6. Oh my god OH MY GOD! My blood pressure is through the roof just reading this. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Being in the midst of a frustrating Parent Situation myself right now, my rage is ten fold. Nothing like being punished for doing the kind, helpful, right thing. I am hoping that once they get here they will somehow miraculously UNDERSTAND and APPRECIATE the situation. And while we wait for THAT, let's break out the vodka instead shall we? CRIPES.

    Meanwhile, YES! Tell them there was a miscommunication and they WERE to bring towels AND dog repellent AND a bed and of COURSE you told them that already HOW COULD THEY NOT UNDERSTAND??


    dude. DUDE. apparently all i am capable right now are single-syllable words being exlaimed in all-caps. because DUDE. DUUUDE. DUDE. ARGH. NO. NO.

    i.. am so sorry. that's awful. there's nothing worse than bending over backwards out of the GOODNESS OF YOUR HEART and then having the recipient of your sweat & tears take a big ol' crap on you for daring to be helpful OH MY GOD I AM SO MAD FOR YOU.

  8. Oh, Jess. You went out of your way to help them and this is what you get? That sucks. I'm sorry.

  9. Just leave a note on the door with a key under the mat telling them to make themselves at home... and that you're not home because you didn't believe they'd actually get on the flight you worked so hard for them to make that you went ahead with your original plans and you'll be back later. I mean, if they don't have to believe you and Torsten, two grown adults who actually travel more often than they do, then why should you believe anything they say or do, either. Sigh.

  10. Holy ungrateful inlaws, that's insane! I'm so so sorrrry that you have to deal with them. Pretty much all I can say is WTF?!

  11. Oh holy hell. No freaking way. That is beyond ridiculous. For that, I'd take away all the towels, the mattress and rub them in bacon grease when they walk in the door so Montana bites them.

    Also - Delta? Totally sucks!!! I had a similar experience last month when booking something online and suddenly all my miles disappeared. I called Delta for an hour trying to get through to talk to someone. Sometimes I'd get the "we care about you but we can't take your call now, so please call back later" message right away and other times I'd go through several minutes worth of prompts before getting that message, thus wasting even more time. By the time I got off the phone I needed an valium.

    Best of luck to you with your visitors. Sadly, I think you're going to need it.

  12. See, while reading I thought you were going to get the illusive "Daughter-in-law of the Year" Award.

    Apparently, no.

    My condolences on being invaded for weeks by grumpy German folks. :(

  13. WOW. Just... WOW. That's insane. And sad that they would be so mad about something that you both did (well, mainly you did) to help them out and make their travel easier. Ridiculous!

    You're a good daughter-in-law. Too bad they apparently don't want to recognize that!

  14. bluuuuuggggghhhh.

    Thank God Torsten is on your side about this! That would make this whole situation one million times worse.

    Hopefully the trip will be amazing and this will just be something to look back on as a slight and unusual malfunction?

    And your last sentence cracked me up!

  15. I'm usually a lurker but have to come out to say that I kind of see where they are coming from. I would be annoyed with someone changing my travel plans without running it by me, and quite frankly I'm surprised the airlines allowed it! I know you were just trying to help them out, but sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone.

    Regardless, I hope everyone can move past it and that y'all have a wonderful visit.

  16. jcristg: I kind of see their point too. I'd be upset if I thought I had a 9 a.m. flight and then someone called to tell me I didn't. But, I would be upset AT THE AIRLINE for "messing with my travel plans" by making me wait two days and then take a 22-hour trip. I guess I didn't think that new itinerary was "well enough" to just leave alone, you know? But believe me, next time I WILL leave well enough alone and they can deal with these problems themselves.

    Caitlin: Dog repellent! BAHAHAHA.

  17. Ugh. I hope this was some sort of communication barrier and they will arrive thanking you for your troubles, and oh, it's so nice to see you both! Otherwise this could be a Long. Two. Weeks.

  18. WOW. I like to think that if that were my parents or in-laws I would have told them if they were that upset at my "interference" to feel free to skip the flight entirely. Unfortunately I know myself too well and the combination of shock and feeling entirely too irate to form a coherent sentence would have silenced me. And then I would have written a blog post about it.

    They haven't been to your house yet, which means it is not too late for you, Torsten & Montana to check into a lovely pet-friendly hotel. Or just skip town entirely.

  19. JESUS! That is one hell of a messed up situation. Yours beats mine. At least with mine my tenants don't live here anymore but you have married into this. Oh dear.

    I sincerely hope they get a clue and that you are able to clear the air when they arrive so that you can enjoy the (very long!) trip.

    My fingers are crossed for you.

  20. First of all, let me just say that I'd be madder than a wet cat if I were you. I sincerely hope this don't ruin their whole visit, Jess. Maybe they were just tired and cranky and full of misinformation? That's what I'd keep telling myself, at least. (All the while calling them douchebags under my breath, of course.)

  21. Holy Hell. I would say this is definitely a cultural thing.

  22. I have been trying to figure out the silver lining in this, and I've found it: by July 31 you will be SO VERY GLAD that your in-laws live on another continent. To which they are returning.


    Here's hoping they realize how hard you worked and how much waiting and misery you saved them before they show up tomorrow (today?) and that when they arrive jet-lagged and grumpy on your doorstep they are GRATEFUL instead of...well, ungrateful.

  23. OMG. My first thought is to blame it on a language barrier or a cultural thing - but Tor was there to translate and clearly they are just ... not understanding.

    This reminds me of something that recently happened at work. A manager from Brazil was sitting here at my desk training when another employee walked by. The employee laughed and said OH! are you taking Karyn's job? And the Brazilian laughed and said I would take her job but not her PAY. and everything got QUIET. It was no secret she had just slammed me. A few days passed and I told my manager who was stunned and who said no no this has to be a language barrier thing. But I had already thought of that ... and I told her hey. you suck and I make more money than you means the same thing in Portuguese as it does in English and my manager said you are absolutely right.

    Tort's parents are being JERKS becuase they CAN. How horrible for you.

  24. Wow. WOW. All that work, and then they don't believe you? Crazypants. After all this, them sleeping on the mattress-less floor right next to oh-so-vicious Montana would be the perfect revenge. Will there be an apology from them, I wonder, when they have actually *flown* on these flights that you are allegedly inventing?

  25. First I was like, they CANNOT be so stupid that they didn't understand the situation. Then I imagined my late mother-in-law, and even my own dear and much smarter mother, who both sometimes...well, let's just say that there were times I wondered about early-onset senility, because I would EXPLAIN and EXPLAIN and they would, like, REFUSE TO UNDERSTAND. I can easily imagine either one of them DENYING THE TRUTH, saying that it didn't make sense that it would be that way---despite the fact that it WAS IN FACT THAT WAY.

    *pant pant*

    Anyway, you have my sympathy and my empathetic rage.

  26. Also, one of the worst flights of my life was on Delta. They boarded the plane, and then said there would be a 10-minute delay before take-off, and then a half-hour later said there would be a 10-minute delay, and they kept doing that for MORE THAN THREE HOURS as we sat in the plane not going anywhere, and THEY WOULD NOT LET US STAND UP OR USE THE BATHROOMS because we had already pulled away from the gate, even though we were stopped.

  27. Wow. I don't want your dog to get a bad reputation, but I would happily bite these people.
    How fast can you get *me* to Denver? (It'll be great -- total stranger from the Internet shows up, bites them, and leaves. And you can say in all honesty that you have never seen me before.)

  28. Oh man. I would be soooooo mad if I were you!!! Ugh. At least Tortsen sees it the same way you do.

    But from everything you have said, Tortsen's parents like to be in control of their situation. People like this are sometimes irrational when it comes to changes that they didn't make or if they don't have the final say. I know from experience, I have a few folks like this in my family. It just is the way that they are, and not any reflection on you or Tortsen of course. But very frustrating none the less.

    I also find that as my parents and grandparents get/got older they become much less flexible. They think something is supposed to be one way, and when it is different than expected it is a much bigger deal than it should be. Weird, but something that seems to come with age.

  29. OMFG. You put all that time and effort in and they are mad that you helped them out. WTF?

    I don't have any helpful words for you, but hopefully by the time they get off the plane they are too tired from their journey (you could remind them that they would be even MORE tired if they flew through Detroit!) to still be mad. One can hope, right?

    Maybe bring them a glass a wine as soon as you guys get home?

    Either way- GOOD LUCK!

  30. OMG! That's just NUTS!! Good luck, I hope they take a chill pill on the flight over and get a serious attitude adjustment and thank you for your hard work to get them there and put them up!

  31. Hoo boy, reading your blog now makes me totally understand why you couldn't believe their behaviour! Aagh! Regardless of what they thought, they should really be appreciative of what you guys had to do to help them. Geez.

    Sorry to hear it - and I hope the visit gets more pleasant when they arrive...

  32. My blood pressure rose just reading this! Although I can completely sympathize with thick-headed and irrational in-laws. Unfortunately.

  33. Oh my god, Jess. This is outrageous! I'm so sorry for you guys! Not only are they ruining YOUR time with them, but they're ruining their OWN vacation by feeling/behaving this way.

    Let's just hope that somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean they will forget all about it.

    Sending happy thoughts your way.

  34. hahahahahaha that last line made up for the entire post. DO IT!

  35. I am so sorry. This is painful to read. Hopefully they come to their senses and apologize profusely.

  36. If I was in your shoes, I think I would turn off my phone and flee the state rather than deal with those ingrates. It made my blood boil just to read about that. Ugh! Here's hoping that was the low point of the whole trip. Good luck!

  37. Okay, I was accidentally anonymous on the last post and attempting to empathize with the in laws but now? No. Just no, no, no, no, no. I almost want to tell you to not only go to the neighbors' house with Torsten but take your mattresses and towels with you. Good Lord. On the bright side, you really have nowhere to go but up, yes? If not the blog posts will practically write themselves.

  38. I have this kind of thing happen ALL THE TIME. It's at work, and not with family, but still. I DO NOT get it. When you're trying to help someone, WHY do they get pissed off at you?

  39. Oh, Jess, I'm SO glad that I read the above entry first... but even still, I am FUMING for you. FUMING.

    (Glad it all worked out okay).

  40. The last sentence in this CRACKS MY SHIT UP. I'm sorry but that part was funny!
    I hope maybe they'll see that you were only trying to help. Otherwise just ship 'em to Canada. ;-)