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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #261. (Vol. 6, No. 12) This edition is for the week of March 21--27, 2005.
Matt's Rail

Guess Who
 by Mike Smith
"American Pie", I Love You!...."The Ring Two" Number One
 by Andy Lalino
The Ring Two....The Human Race, #1
 by John Lewis
U.S. Air-O-Gance....Mummy-Fication....More Horror Masters
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Another List....As Seen In 3D....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 11
 by Mike Smith
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It's never a happy feeling when you are given incorrect flight information when you travel. It's even less enjoyable when the representatives of the airline call you a liar, especially when they don't have first person information to go by.

Let me explain.....

While planning a business trip to Pittsburgh I was stoked to see that a nonstop 1½ hour return flight was available. Unfortunately, due to having to get the fare and time OK'd by my company, I was unable to pull the trigger. Naturally, that little thing known as "ill fate" was just beginning to rear its ugly head, because by the time I got back to the computer to take the flight, it was no longer available. Making a 4-hour layover in Washington a necessity, getting home around 10pm, instead of 4:30pm.

While in Pittsburgh contemplating my layover fate, I decided to call the airlines on a whim to see if, by any chance, the earlier direct flight to Boston was available.

I was more than thrilled to learn that (and I quote!): "There are plenty of seats available so there shouldn't be a problem getting on standby and catching that flight". Awesome, I exclaimed. Instead of leaving at 4 and getting home at 10:30, I could leave at 3, and get home at 4:30. So there I sat, revamping my schedule for the day in an effort to catch the earlier flight.

Arriving at the airport and returning my rental, I had ample time to check in and get on standby....or so I thought. Enter "ill fate".

Originally slated to fly United, I went to that ticket counter where it was brought to my attention that I was on US Air via United. Apparently, the two airlines have some arragement for reasons that aren't obvious to, it seems, anyone. Including the staffs of both.

So I took my bags and headed to US Air. Once there I approached the counter representative, Yvonne, who said they could not accomodate the standby request, but, for a small fee of $500, I could board the flight.

I explained to her that, being 44 years old and not ignorant by any means, and having flown for the majority of my life, I knew full well that standby did not cost $500. Maybe $25, or even $50, but 500 smackeroos? No way. At which point she told me that, because my ticket was purchased thru United, and payed for separately, I was not eligible for standby.

Not eligible? It's STANDBY! It's your airlines. I have a ticket, and I'm not eligible?

Like talking to a piece of formica.

While I guess I should have known better, I decided to try and reason with Yvonne. I conveyed to her my conversation with their representative on the phone, that I could get on standby, and that there were plenty of seats available. Punching numbers furiously into her keypad, she snapped back "Well, that flight is overbooked by 2 people so no one would have told you that".

Did you catch that? I surveyed the people around me who all stood with mouths agape at her stupid indignation toward reasonable customer service. And while I understand that airline employees probably get lied to regularly, you don't tell someone who had a conversation on the phone that you weren't privy to, that the conversation didn't happen. Because once she did say that, she was calling me a liar.

All I could muster, in my shaking with anger disbelief, was something along the lines of, "You are the poster child for why automated ticket-counters are the way to go." Of course, once I had time to cool down (which due to the layover was plenty) I began to realize that "ill fate" had taken me to that boulevard known as "Peter's Principle", and I understood that I came face to face with it. Because when you have the aptitude of a bull frog, expecting anything more from you is the fault of the unassuming, of which I was one.

Oh yeah, and they lost my bag, which took them 3 days to find. Fortunately, that ended on a high note. And good thing too, as my detachable faceplate for my car mpeg player was in it. I had 1200 dollars worth of clothes in that bag and the only thing that bothered me was losing the face plate. Guess you gotta know your priorities in life, and mine are obviously in fine form, or rather, tune.


Have to mention that, after my encounter with the ringleader of the seventh circle of hell, I had the incredible honor of being bartended by Tracey, who reminded me by her stellar service that there are some people in the service industry who have a clue. And in her case, more than one.

Pleasent, helpful, and friendly, she started my bar-sitting stage by suggesting a pint of Aspen Edge, which she dutifully kept filled until my flight, which was delayed for over an hour. She also wasn't suprised by my US Air fiasco, as she relayed many customers complain about their lack of class. Her boss shows up and, overhearing me, shakes his head and says "no wonder they're going down". Amen, brother.

Anyway, thanks Tracey. You were the bomb.


Also met another patron who worked at an airport store called, I believe, the SoxX Shop. Her name was Emily Kosloff, and we also shared in conversation the US Airogance I had to endure, and when she asked me what I was writing on my pad, I told her I was writing my column for PCR.

Now here comes the cool part.

Are you sitting down?

"My dad reads that," she exclaimed in joyous announcement. "He's always talking about what you guys are saying". Now, if this wasn't the ultimate pick-me-up I don't know what would be, as my spirits were immediately, and triumphantly, over the hurdle of pain and sprinting toward renewed vigor. Yes, the bell had rung, class was over, and it was time to party.

Which I did.....for all of us.

So here's to Emily, for her lended ear and exciting news, and her dad, who is reading this. Sir, you have one fine, outstanding daughter. And you are obviously a well-enlightened, and highly intelligent, man amongst men.

Received an email some time ago from a webmaster who had a site dedicated to mummies. Not just movie mummies, either. Mummies in general, with links to other sites that show you how to mummify somebody. Pretty much everything, including the kitchen gut jar. Pretty cool stuff. Check it out at www.mummyfreaks.com

Have added the ability to send Masters of Horror E-Cards from my site. Check it out on the main page and send someone a fiendly greeting.

Till next time, take care and God bless

"Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.