Monday, January 21, 2008

Florida Travel Log; Delta Airline, Bad Business

Monday, 12 Jan 2008

Last night's dinner had been anticipated for quite some time. Pappas', a Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, has been a place frequented over many years, that is when traveling to this area. A mile to go... half a mile... turn right... and as we rounded the bend there it was before us, unlit, dark... roped off. It was closed! and who knows for how long? As an established restaurant, I just thought it would always be there.

Since it was 8 o'clock and we were hungry, we selected a seafood restaurant from Gramella (our GPS), but she led us down a path several miles away that ended in a not-too-pleasant neighborhood with no restaurant to be found. So we backtracked, and at this point almost anything would be fine. There's a Longhorn Steakhouse.

Let us just say this about that: 'we were there twice, our first and last.' The steak was expensive considering the gristle and somewhat granular texture, that which indicated a tenderizer had been used, but our tummies felt somewhat satisfied and a good night's sleep came quickly as provided by the clean and comfortable Country Inn and Suites.

Our morning was as most during this trip: a leisure pace, breakfast, but a change of plans. There were several open days in our schedule, so we decided to condense a few visits and take a side trip to see family in another state on the east coast. My husband called Delta and after patiently and repeatedly trying to communicate with Delta's representative, over and over and over again: "N, N as in Nancy, H, H as in Helo. . . no, that is N, N as in . . . what do you mean you can't find my reservation. . . no, I did not ask to go to New Jersey. . .", until finally after several minutes of this craziness and with a continued calm and politeness, my husband resignedly said, "Please, let me talk with someone who can understand what I am saying", and then "If you cannot get me to someone who can understand me, I am going to hang up."

A second call was placed, and a similar situation occurred trying to speak to two people in India who had no command of the English language and have no business interfacing in this kind of business. He finally called new reservations in the U.S.; there was acknowledgment for our frustration, and he was transferred to someone in International flights (huh?) who then transferred to domestic reissue?!?!?! What makes one think Delta can continue to operate like this? Needless to say our flight plans were not altered.

We decided to try Barnacles for lunch, highly recommended, and as we entered I seemed blinded by the change in lighting. It appeared to be a large dark room with flashing lights, and as my eyes adjusted, I realized the perimeter of the room and center bar were lined with televisions, 467 to be exact, plus 12 big screens, and all on a variety of channels. Clearly this was a place of ultimate lets-go-out-and-be-entertained-and-I-don't-have-to-talk-to-you kind of event. Well. . . okay, let's give it a go.

Clam chowder and calamari for thee, the former being tasty but the latter heavily breaded and overcooked, and 'mir', an Asian tuna fillet with sesame seeds, seared and served with a wasabi ginger vinaigrette on a bed of greens and proved to be very tasty. $8.99 was especially nice.

Anytime we visit a restaurant, the test is, "Would we go back"? Longhorn Steakhouse and/or Barnacles? "Nope".