Our music video!
As some of you know, I am very fond of Singapore Airlines. I think it provides an excellent value for my SFO-ICN (trip I make every two months now) as it’s pretty cheap and the service is great. And I’m pretty lucky overall in terms of air travel by not hitting delays, problems, etc. Perhaps I was due for one, but this all changed for this trip.
SIA offers priority seat for $50 per flight segment. These are seats in the front row with extra legroom. Given that the round trip flight is 24 hours, I determined that paying $100 for those seats is awesome bang for the buck. I’ve done so for past few trips.
This one was no different. Although I had to pick the middle seat since the aisle one was taken, I was able to pick 31B (middle) for SFO-ICN, and 44H (aisle) for ICN-SFO. I paid the $100 extra on top and looked forward to making the trip.
Then came yesterday. I checked-in online as I usually do, and found out that I have been reassigned… to 34C, which is not even a priority seat. I saw that my return flight seat selection has also been changed to a random non-priority seat (think it was 47J). I initially thought about just dealing with it today at the airport, but I decided to call SIA per Joanna’s recommendation. It turns out that the call was very important.
After 35 minutes on the phone (mostly holding as the agent figured out what’s going on), the agent informed me that he sent a note to SFO staff to assign me 31B when I check in. However, he indicated that 44H was unavailable for my return flight and asked that I sit in 44B (middle). I refused to do so, and demanded my original seat. In short, he said he will escalate and do their best (although no guarantee). When asked why my seats got switched to non-priority seats when I paid extra for them, his response was that seat assignments got deleted.
I am writing this at the gate after checking-in, and I am even more infuriated now because I learned the following from chatting with the airline representative here:
1. She said that it was a good thing that I called yesterday because that’s the only reason I got 31B (my original selection) for this flight. Had I not call in, I would’ve lost the seat and there are no more preferred seats available on this flight. She said that there is nothing she can do if that were the case. Shouldn’t the airline do something to make it right? And no, $50 refund because I didn’t get my seat does not cut it.
2. She informed me that the airline system is showing that I actually did not pay for priority seats and that I picked those randomly assigned seats. There’s something very wrong with the system, and it’s apparently because they are switching/updating it. She said that they’ve been experiencing some issues.
3. She could not confirm what will happen on my return flight because it’s more than 3 days out. Apparently, the seats get assigned 3 days in advance. She suggested that I speak to an agent at ICN to possibly get a refund.
On a final note, did you know that it’s actually pretty difficult to find an airline employee? People that work at the counters work for the airport, not the airline. I came early today because I anticipated it, but it still took longer than I thought.
It’s been almost two months already! Pictures are overdue.
Before I begin, I owe a huge special thanks to my cousin and her friend for helping me set up. It took three of us about 80 minutes or so (and we were rushing as much as we can), and we managed to complete before the girlfriend left school.
My normal travel schedule is Wednesday departure (Thursday arrival in Korea) and coming back on Monday. To bring the “surprise!” effect to the max, I lied to the girlfriend and said that I will be leaving 9/19 and arriving on 9/20. In reality, I left on 9/17 and arrived on 9/18.
The tricky part was continuing to lie and have it make some sense. This was awfully difficult because we Facetime/text/call almost everyday, and I had to explain the large gap (my 13 hour plane ride). And then, when I got to Korea, I had to pretend that I was still in U.S. For example, I texted her “good morning” when I checked into the hotel at 9pm because that’s when I usually get up in U.S. (5am). I wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t because I theoretically just got up and had to keep the conversation going.
Then the D day (9/19) came. I met up with my cousin in the morning to pick up the package (candles, cups, lighters, plastic roses). Following that was haircut, and light lunch. I met up with my cousin and her friend around 5:15 so that I can feed them dinner for the hard work they will be doing. After dinner, we cabbed it to campus and initially got lost a bit because it was too dark. Running around in suit was not fun Eventually, I found her building and we found a spot in front of the central library that was just right.
The girls did the layout (something I will not be very good at, obviously) and I prepared the candles. The plastic cups were really thin and it came in a sleeve of 50. Some were so jammed together that it was not easy to take it out (which slowed us down). Take the candle out of the package, upright the wick, take the plastic cup out of the sleeve, place the candle in the cup. Repeat hundreds of times.
We had to lay out all the candles before lighting them up. It got dark pretty quickly and it was hard to see that we were laying something out there. Then this couple came from the library. The guy unfortunately didn’t see what we were doing and stepped on the heart, kicking half-dozen candles in the process. Of course, the guy was apologetic and all, but the best part was the expression on his girlfriend’s face… the “I am going to kill you” look. She didn’t say anything, but her face was sufficient apology
We finally completed the layout and began to light up the candles. Several people passing by asked me what the occasion was and congratulated me, and a small group of people began to gather around. After it was all lit, I made the call and she was in a confused state when I asked her to come down to the library. After all, I wasn’t even supposed to be there.
The rest is history.