Today, Monday, October 31, 2011 didn’t turn out at all like I expected it to. I wasn’t especially delighted that our travel plans were to fly from Vijayawada in the wrong direction to Hyderabad to essentially fly back in the same direction as Vijayawada to Rajahmundry, but those were the arrangements that I was able to make in advance from America weeks ago.
Bonnie and I resurrected ourselves from slumber at 3:30 a.m. to be presentable by 4:00 a.m. to depart Tiruvuru by 4:30 a.m. by car to Vijayawada. Through the predawn darkness, accompanied by brother Vijay Babu and another brother, our taxi pierced the unknown blackness of night, dodging animals, people, vehicles of every description and often moon craters that occupied our onward path. We arrived two hours before the scheduled flight – before airport personnel arrived! We got our bags scanned for checking in and tagged accordingly. We presented our E-tickets for transportation by Jet Airways for the two successive flights toward our destination. Our bags were weighed, and everything appeared to be going satisfactorily. NOT!
The counter person demanded $120 in overage fees for our baggage! We strictly weigh our bags to comply with the reduced weight restrictions for Asia over flights in the United States (i.e., 44 lbs. versus 50 lbs.); we are underweight. We research the luggage declarations for each airline on which we will be flying, and we print off their Internet page about the same. So what could go wrong? (1) Jet Airways refused to recognize Bonnie and me as international travelers, entitled to the international allowance of two checked bags per ticket; they consider us domestic since we are flying from one city in India to another city in India. What do you suppose they expect international travelers to do with their luggage once they land in India? Kingfisher and Indian Air, as well as other airlines throughout the world grant that we are international travelers, entitled to two checked bags apiece. (2) Jet Airways wanted to charge us for our carryon bags, which have always been free on every air carrier. (3) I was informed that Jet Airways changed their luggage polices on October 1, 2011, and that I contracted with them for this flight on September 19 was of no consequence to them.
Unable to prevail in this stalemate, I reclaimed my luggage from Jet Airways, and we rented the car that had brought us to the airport to take us directly to Kakinada, India. There was some sense of satisfaction, at least, in being headed the correct direction anyway. Frankly, the time factor wasn’t much different than flying the wrong direction and then retracing our flight path. Upon inquiring about a refund for the unused tickets, I was instructed to check with my travel agent – back in America.
Strictly charged by brother Steve Hogan and brother Anil Kumar to take care of brother Rushmore and sister Bonnie Rushmore, brother Vijay Babu made sure personally that we were delivered – handed over – to Joshua and Ricky Gootam in Kakinada. Indian hospitality resembles biblical times hospitality with the sense of heightened responsibility toward one’s guest. It was as cheap to hire the taxi to take us directly to our destination as it was to pay the extra $120. We will see if any refund is forthcoming, but we do not expect such respecting our non-refundable tickets on which we travel. Trick or Treat reached all the way from America today to Vijayawada, India!