Monday, October 09, 2006

Fun with Planes and People

For some reason, I only seem to be posting when I'm traveling and bored. Oh well, better late than never.

So, I am currently in Kelowna, British Columbia at one of Capital One's call centers to be a lead floor walker for our Helix Event 2 conversion. Basically we're upgrading our entire database system, including the phone service applications, so I'm going to be on-site to help out with any problems.

The flight from Richmond to Chicago was uneventful. The flight from Chicago to Seattle (3:45 long...ugh) was eventful. When I boarded, I found a jacket on the floor at my seat. I picked it up, asked if it belonged to anyone, and when no one answered, I took it to an attendant. A few minutes later, a man and his wife board the plane, and sit in the row behind me, which already had a bunch of their stuff in it. He pokes me in the back, and asks if I've seen his leather jacket. I tell him that it was on my seat, and because no one'd claimed it, I'd given it to the attendant. Well, he explains that it was his jacket, and that I should keep my hands off other people's things. I wanted to explain that he should not put his things in multiple rows and then leave the plane, but discretion is the better part of valor. So, this guy waits 20 minutes until after we've closed the door and started to taxi, and THEN decides to ask one of the attendants where his jacket is. She kindly informs him that because no one on the plane claimed it, it had been left at the airport. Ooooooooooh boy. He starts yelling, swearing, pounding his fists, etc. Another attendant came to try to calm him down, and offers various solutions. They offered to call the airport and have his jacket picked up, but no, he knows it's gone for good. They could ship it to his home, but no, he's not about to give them his home address. They could put it on another flight to his final destination, but no, he never checks luggage because he knows the airlines will lose it. It got so bad that one attendant (we're now up to three) quietly started asking me if I would feel safer in another seat. During this entire tantrum, the guy sitting in the seat next to me is very visibly rolling his eyes and chuckling, which I was hoping to death Mr. Coronary behind me couldn't see or hear. Eventually they got him calmed down, and the flight was successful (although it seemed to take a lot longer). The guy sitting next to me leaned over at one point, and told me that he was sure we could take him, and he'd help me "punch him down a notch or two" if I wanted. I smiled.

In the Seattle airport, we (myself and Jason, another traveling CapitalOne person who was also going to Kelowna) met intriguing character number two. A young woman in her early twenties, who I'm convinced was born a clueless blonde, but then dyed her hair black and went goth. She had multiple piercings through her cheek, and the most hideous fish nets that I've ever seen. Some people can pull that off quite well, this girl, not so much. Then she started asking us questions about customs, which was when the clueless part of her personality showed itself. What if she wasn't bringing a pet, should she put her info instead where it asks for pets? What if she was on probation, should she tell her case worker that she's about to leave the country? What if she wanted to bring two cases of cigarettes with her when only one was allowed, should she lie on the customs sheet? (At that point, an American customs agent started looking very hard at us.)

Eventually got to Kelowna and the hotel, which is very nice. The hotel is right on the lakefront, and off to the side is Lakefront Park which is a series of man-made streams and ponds that feed from the lake, with islands and gardens and bridges. I haven't explored too much yet, since I've only been here a day and am working besides. Although I did find a coffee shop called The Bean Machine that looks promising. The entire group went out for dinner last night, had some really good seafood. Yum!

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