Through my award booking service I spend a fair amount of time on the phone with airlines. And by “fair amount of time” I mean roughly half my life. I’ve heard it all, from Timetravel Tammy to Tailwind Tanisha to “No Can Do” Nancy to Mesaba Maria. Well, at least I thought I heard it all till last night.
I was calling US Airways to ticket an award reservation, and after giving the agent the record locator she said she needed to put me on hold so she could “go look at a map and make sure the routing was legal.” While other airlines have computers that price awards, US Airways has… well, apparently maps, which is actually progress for them, since that’s the first I’ve heard of them.
Now I should’ve known it was going to get good. After all, the greatest question ever asked on the Miss America pageant involved America and maps. And if there’s one thing Miss South Carolina proved, it’s that the problem with the US education system isn’t a lack of maps.
So she goes and “looks at a map” for about five minutes and then comes back and tells me the routing isn’t legal.
Me: “I’m sorry, why is the routing not legal?”
Agent: “Well because you’re backtracking and that’s not allowed.”
Me: “Which part of this specifically is backtracking?”
Agent: “Well on the flight from Taipei to New York you’re first flying North and then South, that’s backtracking.”
I… I… I… I… didn’t know what to say. I really didn’t. I suppose to this agent any flight with a polar route would be backtracking.