I was always afraid of phone calls. Since I was a little girl, I had this trauma to speak with somebody on a phone and I’ve never grown out of it. Unfortunately, if you live in US, you spend half of your life on a phone to get something done. This helped me over the years and even I still don’t like making phone calls, I learnt how to deal with it. What also doesn’t help me is to have a husband who is even worse on a phone than I am and refuses to make any phone calls.
I remember my beginnings when I had no idea what the person on the other side is telling me and because you don’t see his facial expressions it’s even harder to understand. So my trauma from phones got even worse. When my english got better, I started to understand more. I’ve also thought people had a hard time to understand me, but as I found out they didn’t. Of course, there are those people who pretend they don’t understand because they don’t want to, or they have never heard any foreigner, but it’s very rare. People like me who come from the middle of Europe, we have very clear pronunciation even our accent is harder it’s usually very easy for american ear to understand us.
On the other side, there is so many accents what can make your communication very difficult and even you speak the same language you can’t understand each other.
After I bought my flight ticket home, I had to call the airlines to add my baby on the ticket. She will be only 12 months by the time we fly, so she considers as a lap infant what means she flys for free within US, and I pay only 10% of the cost of my flight ticket for the international flight what in my case is only $40. I could add her thru Kiwi.com where I bought the ticket from, but they wanted to charge me almost $300 for her! I’ve never bought a flight ticket from the agency before so I had no idea they can do it. Luckily, I called each airline before I purchased it and asked what my options are, and they said I can either add my baby thru the agency, or call the airline after I buy the ticket and just add her on mine. Of course, I chose the second option.
First I called Alaska airline (Redmond to Seattle) then Norwegian airline (Seattle to London) and everything went well, and when I called Level (never heard of them before) for my flight from London to Vienna, this Indian lady answered and first we were actually laughing together because she couldn’t spell my daughter’s name correctly and it took her 5 times until she got it right. I told her I understand how confusing the spelling is, especially when you have a lot of “e,i,a” in one name, and except the letter L that’s all my baby’s letters 😄 So, I swear the God, I was very patient and empathetic and even told her I wouldn’t be able to do her job. Well that was before I found out this women’s spelling is the best think she could actually do. After that I asked her if I can check in the car seat for free because in all US flights you can. First she had no idea what the word car seat means! I was still in a good mood so I tried to describe it. She didn’t understand. Then she told me that they allow to check in the strollers, and cribs. “The cribs?” I asked her very confused because who travels with the crib! So I asked her “did you mean the car seat?” And she said “no mam, I translated it and it shows me the word crib here.” But how she could tell me “no” when she didn’t even know what the car seat means? I started to be frustrated at that point. So I told her “let’s forget about the crib and try to figure out the car seat again”. I asked her if she knew what taxi means because she didn’t know the word car or vehicle. And jackpot, she did! So I told her when she gets in to taxi with her baby she need a special place for him. After that she understood what the car seat means! Ok, so I asked her again “can I check in the car seat for free or is there a charge”? And her response was “you can’t take the car seat on a plane.” After this I slammed my head on the table and wanted to cry. I took few deep breaths and asked her again the same question very slowly and I think you already know what answer was. The same! After that I don’t exactly remember what I said, but at the end of it she said “I am sorry mam but I have a hard time to understand you. I don’t know why because I didn’t have that problem at the beginning with you.” Really?! So why the hell we are on the phone for half an hour already and I still don’t know if I can check in the car seat for free? I know why she had a hard time to understand me at the end because when I am mad (and I was furious at that point) my native language speed kicks in and I speak super fast. Slovak is very fast compare to english, so I am not surprised she didn’t understand the word from it. I don’t think I have ever hung up the phone to anyone else except my husband, but I had to get out of this misery and to be polite was the last think on my mind so I did it.
One side of me feels bad for this lady because she must hate her job, the other side doesn’t care because I work in customer service and for a performance like this I would get fired on the spot, and the third side of me is super scared to fly with this airline.
The cherry on the top is when I called them the next day (another Indian lady answered but her English was ok) the crazy non-english speaking lady didn’t even add Leila on my flight ticket! Oh, to check in the car seat costs 50 euro…