Automated Customer Service

French Word(s) of the Day: le service client (luh serh-vees clee-ont)- customer service

I recently got a promotion at work.  (This is why I haven’t updated in a month.)  I now work for the travel department, and I love it.  It’s busy, it’s crazy, everyone’s insane, but it’s great.  Travel is the best!

Well, sometimes travel is the best.  My latest chemo experience spilled over into my work and personal life.  I was supposed to go to my brother’s graduation, but there was a problem with chemo scheduling.  They had to give me my chemo the day before his graduation.  As a result, I had to cancel my flight and miss it.

Luckily, Brendan thinks graduation ceremonies are tedious and overrated (and he didn’t attend mine), so I’ve been forgiven.

Now that I’ve had to cancel my flight, I’m trying to get a refund. This is proving to be a very difficult experience.  I have a theory that the airline purposefully tries to sabotage all refund requests so that they never have to refund anything.

Long story short, I had to call customer service today… an AUTOMATED customer service number.  (My favorite online comic did a comic that accurately describes the horrific automated customer service experience.) My conversion with the customer service robot went like this:

Robot: Hello.  What would you like to do today?

Me: Real Person!  Person!

Robot:  I’m sorry; I don’t understand.  You can check a flight… [twelve more options]… or refunds. [None of the options are “speak to a live person.”]

Me: Refund.

Robot: I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you.  Please repeat that.


Robot: You would like to go to refunds?

Me: YES.

Robot: I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you.


Robot: You options are: check the status or make a new request.

Me: Check status

Robot: You can check the status online.  Go to our website. Can I help you with anything else?


Man: I’m sorry; I think you want to speak to an agent.


Man: I can’t connect you to an agent until I know more information.  [Repeats menu.]

It took the robot 5 more minutes to connect me to customer service.  I was then put on hold for 10 minutes.

Man: Hello!  Thank you for using our airline.  How can I help you today?

Me: I’m trying to get the refunds to work, and the site doesn’t recognize my refund number.

Man: Oh… umm… you need to talk to refunds.

Me: Yes, thank you.  I’m aware.  HOW DO I GET TO THEM?

Man: You get to them through us, actually!

Me: Great.  Can you transfer me?

Man: No, they only work until 4 pm from Monday- Friday.

Me: ….

Man: And you have to call us back.  We are the only way to reach them.

Me: There’s not a direct line or an email or something?!

Man: No, but if you’d like, there’s a feedback portion on our website!

You know I’m going to the feedback portion of their website.  I’ve got a LOT of feed to back.

The good thing is that I get to call them back and go through it all again sometime during my work hours tomorrow.

I drew this while I was on hold:

Angry Meghan

Sidenote: My Aunt Kathy went to my chemo session with me because my Mom was at Brendan’s graduation, and we had a lovely time!  She brought me pain au chocolat because she knows the way to a girl’s heart.


San Francisco

French Word of the Day: bavard (bah-vard)- talkative

As I go through the treatments, they become less and less invasive in my life.  I’ve become more aware of my trigger foods, so I haven’t been getting as sick.  I slept more than usual after my last treatment.  I got 10 hours of sleep one night- something I hadn’t done since college.  (College was my nap Renaissance.)

Work needed me to fly to a conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.  My doctor had cleared me for air travel.  Her only comment was: “If there’s someone next to you who’s sick, you need to move.”  I didn’t point out that a plane is an enclosed space with recycled air circulating around.

Germ Plane

My seatmate wasn’t sick, but she talked so much that I think I would have preferred a sick person.  She sat next to me and said, “I don’t like to read or watch movies on planes,” which is exactly what every traveler wants to hear.  She did, however, like to complain about how long the plane was taking and inquired every five seconds what time it was.  I pretended to be asleep, but she just reached around me and started flirting with the guy next to me.

Luckily, I only had to sit next to her for 4 and a half hours.

The conference itself went very well.  I got to go out for an hour or two at the end of the day to walk around.  I went to Pier One (not the store) and got a fabulous seafood dinner.  There is no photographic evidence of my meal because I didn’t take pictures of it.  I’ve begun eating my meals instead of just taking pictures of them and placing them on Instagram. (Just like you’re not friends in real life until you’re friends on Facebook, you haven’t had a meal unless it’s been placed on Instagram.) I’m still in the test phase of this new food policy.  I don’t know how I feel about it.

I did take some pictures of the pier with my ever-dependable phone.

The sunset ruins what would have been a fantastic view of the light-up sign.  (That silly sunset, always ruining pictures.)
The sunset ruins what would have been a fantastic view of the light-up sign. (That silly sunset, always ruining pictures.)
This is NOT the Golden Gate bridge.  It's the less popular sister, the Bay Bridge.
This is NOT the Golden Gate bridge. It’s the less popular sister, the Bay Bridge.
Fun fact: The trolley cars go until midnight. Other fun fact: I was asleep well before that time.
Fun fact: The trolley cars go until midnight.
Other fun fact: I was asleep well before that time.

My seatmate on the flight home didn’t speak to me at all, so it was a much better experience.

The conference went really well, so I might get the chance to see more of San Francisco next year!  I was a bit worried the treatments would put everything at a complete standstill for 6 months, but that has proven to be false.  (In a good way.)

The American Returns to Her Roots

French Word(s) of the Day: États-Unis (eh-taz ooo-nee)- United States

I’ve been back in the US for several months.  Why haven’t I updated? Because I’m a failure.

My last few weeks were spent trying to see everything I hadn’t and also trying to give away pretty much everything I owned in order to keep within the baggage allowance on my plane.  Shipping anything to the US bigger than a postcard costs most people’s yearly salaries.

Because everyone has been asking, my final pain au chocolat count came to 90. If I’d had two more days, it would have been 100.  Of course, if I had 10 pain au chocolat in 2 days, my chances of using a barf bag for the first time ever would have been 100%.

I’ve had a few requests to keep this blog up in the US, and I plan on it!  I shall forever be French with an American accent!  That, and my domain name renewed itself so if I don’t use it it’s just sitting there.

I shall keep you updated on my Americanness in the next entry.  Best to keep the French and Americans apart.

À plus tard!

FINAL pain au chocolat count: 90

And I’m back…

French Word(s) of the Day: J’ai revenu (zhay rev-eh-new)- I have returned.

I FINALLY HAVE A FLIGHT TO/ FROM PARIS THAT WASN’T CANCELLED!!!!!!  (If you’ll recall, both my flight here and flight home for the fall semester were.)  This time mother nature and American Airlines decided to work in peaceful harmony.

Wednesdays aren’t prime flying days, it turns out.  It was easily the least-full flight I’ve ever been on.  Several rows were empty.  I had all three seats in the middle to myself, and was able to lie down to sleep.

And yet somehow that’s the worst I’ve ever slept on a flight.  Normally when I’m on a plane and forced to stay sitting up, I sleep like a baby.   Put me in a comfortable position and I don’t sleep.

My body stopped making sense several years ago.

Théo took off the morning so he could meet me at the airport and help me take my bags back to my place.  He left me with the instructions not to sleep for very long…. which I ignored, sleeping for 3 hours.  (It was almost more, but I forced myself to wake up.)

And now I’m going to a dinner that I will probably sleep through.  I hope no one gets offended.

Pain au chocolat count: 40

More Snow?

French Word of the Day: annulé (ah nul eh)- cancelled

I woke up this morning at 7am, all prepared to get to the airport and take my flight home to Chicago.

Imagine my shock and horror when I found out that my flight had been cancelled.  I was completely confused when I looked outside and saw no snow.  Did a snowflake fall at the airport?  Did everyone go on vacation?

Actually this time it’s London’s fault.  They can’t handle snow either, so France cancelled 25% of its flights to accommodate them.  Mine was one of the lucky ones.

I called American Airlines, and the voice said, “The current wait time is 21 minutes.”

That was 2 hours ago.

I tried calling the French desk, but they open late on the weekends, because it’s France.


Five minutes later:

After 2 hours of holding, AA decided to drop my call.  Recalled them and was told my wait time would be over an hour.  The French desk also has me on hold.

Does anyone have a private jet they would like to lend me?  Much appreciated.


The French desk answered my call after 10 minutes.  This is probably the only time in the history that France has been faster than America.

I leave Tuesday.  Still accepting private jet offers.

Pain au chocolate count: 39  (going to have at least two today)