Is TAM the Worst Airline in the World? An Astonishing Ironic Twist!

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As I reported an hour or so ago, we decided to book on another airline than TAM because TAM could not inform us how or when to board with our cat, or even describe the probabilities of success within the next week. Like Sergeant Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes, they know nothink. Nothink! See

So at around 4:30 pm, Neuza went back to the airport to (1) cancel the TAM flight and (2) confirm how to successfully check in with the cat on the other airline, American Airlines, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I headed down to the bar to drink $20 double Scotches on the rocks. The bartender makes a point of looking me in the eye and saying, “You know I am going to charge you outrageous hotel prices for this drink, right?” I appreciate that. Avoids misunderstandings.

At the TAM counter, a certain Eduardo, a TAM supervisor, now informs my wife that there was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON THAT WE COULD NOT HAVE BOARDED THIS MORNING.

The supervisor on duty had apparently GABBLINGLY DISINFORMED us.

According to Eduardo, at any rate.

Eduardo even says he can board us IMMEDIATELY for tonight’s flight. But since this would require me checking out of my hotel and getting to the terminal in half an hour, we cannot do this.

He now says he will leave a note for Adriana, the supervisor on duty tomorrow, to board us IMMEDIATELY, with the cat as a living, softly meowling and disgruntled carry-on item.

We will see if that promise comes true.

At American Airlines, meanwhile, Neuza says she learned that some U.S.-domiciled airlines have an embargo on flying with domestic pets until the end of this month.

But that no one working at ticketing and boarding and reservations had been informed of this yet.

The American Airlines operator who booked our flight therefore apparently DISINFORMED us, saying that we would be able to embark with the cat on a first-come, first-served basis.

(Reservations, when we go to cancel — minus that ticketing charge that they earn for doing absolutely squat — gives us additional information on that the previous operator did not provide when I asked him explicitly about the question. Temperature bands. Yada yada yada. Blah blah blah. What we had here, too, was failure to commun’cate.)

Therefore, according to the two measures we have been using to test the Spiers hypothesis — that TAM is the worst airline in the world — TAM and American Airlines are currently running neck and neck, by our reckoning at this point in our travels.

If TAM manages not to misplace our luggage for more than 15 hours, and if it is true that American Airlines DISINFORMED us about the prospects of flying our cat to Brazil, we may have to conclude, provisionally, that TAM is no worse, and no better, than American Airlines.

One World, my ass.

Principal risk management takeaway: Do not try to fly your cat to Brazil.

I told my wife that — I figured the ethical thing to do would be to just find the Igmonster a good home in his native New York with someone who would appreciate his essential nobility, bad-tempered greed and utter uselessness — but it was very important to her emotionally, so we went ahead.

And I have to say, when we arrived stressed out from SFO to Brooklyn, and picked up the little monster, and he was extremely glad to see us, I got all googly there for a minute.

They say cats and dogs are very therapeutic.

Measurable effect on the endorphins.

I believe it. Iggy and I curled up companionably together and snored the afternoon away. Neuza — whom if I did not love her madly I might be really, really mad at right now — later joined us. Best night’s sleep in days.

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Procon consumer rights pamphlet: When Brazilian airlines overbook, what are your rights? And I wonder if I can file a complaint with Procon as a resident alien victim of the opera bufa we have been subjected to today? Proceeds, if any, to go toward founding the Braytonian-Paranchez Institute of Intercontinental Comparative Vigilante Consumerism.

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