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Lack of Customer Service Day

October 11

sunny 38 °C

Not as much excitement last night, but I do believe some hippos woke us up around 4:00 am, which is about right as that is the time we were told the hippo head back in to the water after grazing on land throughout the night. Not wanting to mess with a hippo, neither of us went to look.

As I sat outside writing yesterday's blog, about 5 or 6 female Kudo walked right in front of our tent.  Very cool.  No male though so once again our perfect photograph of the male Kudo rack eluded us.  After breakfast we headed to the airport to go back to South Africa. That was the end of our peaceful day.  The general manager and others at the lodge said, "Arriving 2 hours before the flight will be plenty of time." As we were dropped off at the Victoria Falls airport and saw the gigantic line we realized that wasn't true.  Further, the gentleman who handled our bags quoted us 30 minutes to get through the line.  There were easily 125+ people in front of us.  Did he know something we did not know?

After waiting in line for an hour, we were nearing the gate agent.  Ten to fifteen minutes later we got up to the front of the queue. The Reed's bags were on the top of the trolley so they went first and were quickly checked in, however, as we were being checked in the computer system locked up.  We waited as our agent left to "reboot" the system.  We also heard him tell other agents that the flight was full and to stop checking in people on standby and to begin moving them to the flight following ours. When he returned for the reboot and started to check us in we could tell there was a problem.  As it turned out the plane was indeed full and our seats were given away to someone on standby.  We eventually worked through it and got on our original flight, however, we were worried that our bags would make it.  As we boarded the plane we observed the obnoxious queue that was the lineup to enter the country.  Victoria Falls airport and Zimbabwe - quite the model of efficiency.  Ha, Ha.  After boarding we pondered the lunacy of checking in standby to the point of overloading the plane.  Never at any time in the 2 hours did any agents or airport workers try to make sense out of the huge queue.  At the very end they started pulling people out of the queue that were waiting to check in for the following flight.  Why not attempt to pull the people from the current flight forward, and why process any and all standby as they approach the counter?  Oh well.

After landing and getting through customs we waited for our luggage and it didn't show up. When we followed up with the British Air agent he told us to wait for the next flight that left 10 minutes after our flight. I went out to meet the driver from the hotel while Troy waited for the luggage. The flight was delayed about 30 minutes.  It then took another 40 minutes for the bags to begin arriving on the carousel. Troy was hopeful after the first bag came out right away, howver, the second bag was the second from the last bag to show up. At least we had our bags. Off to the hotel.

Things finally started to look up for a day that was clearly the worst of the trip.  When we got to the hotel we received an upgraded room. We asked if the desk agent could help us retrieve our bag from storage, one we left behind upon departure so as not to drag everything to Zimbabwe.  Dawn ended up retrieving it on her own.  Troy then asked if the desk agent could coordinate dinner reservations with the concierge.  She said she would call right away, walked over to the concierge, then returned a very short whole later saying he was busy and they would call our room with confirmation.  45 minutes before our requested reservation we still heard nothing for the staff so Troy called down.  The desk agents again said they could not get the attention of the concierge but would have him call us back.  15 minutes later Troy called to make reservations at a very nice restaurant, Piccolo Mondo, in Nelson Mandella Square.  We had a lovely evening.  Even on vacation, sometimes you just have to do things for yourself.

Posted by dtbradley 23:52 Archived in Zimbabwe

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