I honestly expected to be writing a blog entry bashing Continental Airlines and promising to never use them again, even if it means paying more money to use another airline. But then I called back and tried harder.
Those who know me may know that my mom was diagnosed with cancer last year. Treatment ran it's course and the cancer spread so I was told last month that she will probably be around less than a year. I booked a flight to leave this week to go down to San Antonio to see her for what I expected to be the last time. I got a call on Friday with the news that the previous estimate had been shortened to about a week, and after some serious thought and prayer I decided to try to change my flight to leave earlier. I booked my flight through Expedia and pretty much picked the cheapest flight possible. My wife and I only have my income, which is by design, but it does make things a little bit tight sometimes. According to Continental's Houston service center, a flight leaving Monday (today) would be $499. That is more than 3 times higher than my original flight on Wednesday. As calmly as I could, I got off the phone defeated.
As I only started my current job last year, I don't have a large vacation balance built up. I was planning to flex as much time as possible for this trip, so I went in to work on Saturday and after dropping my wife and kids off at the in-law's yesterday (Easter) I again went into work for a few hours. Upon arriving, I tried Continental again. This time I got a service center in Salt Lake City. I was given the same news again, but I was more persistent with the Family Medical Emergency. I promised to provide documentation from either the doctor or the hospice as soon as possible, and the customer service rep spoke to a supervisor who was willing to waive the fee increase and only charge me $100 for a rebooking fee. I decided that was reasonable and accepted.
I've been flying Continental for quite some time. It's hard to fly in and out of Texas without coming across them. I'm grateful for their customer service in this case.