Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Planes, Trains, PETS!!

It seems, looking back, that I have not shared with you my Korean pet transport nightmare.
And I was using a pet transport company in going from Korea to America!!!!

But it is the whole reason that regardless of cost I completely advocate employing a professional transport company. I can not imagine what would have happened if they were not there to oversee, redirect, and basically just pick up after everyone else along the way who was dropping the ball.

Problems occurred on both sides - Korea and America. They started the day of pickup and just kept going.
Much like a rock rolling down the hill.
Or like a snowball - one that keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

On the Korea side, the native contact was supposed to hire another company to pick up Ranmaru and deliver him to the domestic airport so he could then hop to Seoul (Incheon) and board the international flight from that airport.
The pick-up company arrived promptly.
Keep in mind, I speak more Korean now having left that country than I did while there. So in my state of shock and horror (I could just see them weaving and swerving in and out of traffic, Ranmaru being thrown around in back, whacked against the walls, drenched in his water and likely scared piddle.) all I could do was mime talking on the phone and repeat, "NO. NO. CALL "SUN"!! "
He called the native contact, "Sun" and she called me, terribly apologetic. She had requested they send a van for pickup, but the just-out-of-High-School kid that showed up probably didn't bother to read that part of the order.
So naturally, as we were waiting for the proper vehicle to show up, Ranmaru missed his flight to Seoul meaning "Sun" had to try and find him another domestic flight somewhere that day soon so he could still board his international flight on time.

About 2 hours later the van finally showed up with a new destination - an airport one hour south of us. (Incidentally, in the completely opposite direction from Seoul.) Then and there I decided I was traveling with him to make sure Ranmaru got on the plane whether the driver liked it or not.
I myself was leaving the country in less than 12 hours.
I wasn't taking any chances with this company.

The ride down was fine and Ranmaru managed to board his plane. "Sun" and I spoke again about current plans through the driver's cell phone in the airport. Now I was stuck on getting back to my hotel and luggage.
But not really. One great thing (only?) about Korea is the bus transportation system. So I was all set to hop a bus back when the pick-up company driver waved me back (with a drink in hand) and motioned me to get back in the van.
The verbal exchange was something like
"Pohang?" *drink extended*
"Nee, Pohang." (Yes, Pohang.) *drink accepted*

That sounds all cozy until he contacted "Sun" or his boss again and then "Sun" spoke to me saying it would cost me $45 for the trip back.
HELL NO. Stop the van. I'll take a bus, thank you!!
(As I explained vehemently to "Sun", He was going back anyway so why am I paying? And frankly, I wouldn't even be here if his company did their job right in the first place.)

There was even a bus stop right around the airport. Apparently, however, it was invisible as he was completely unable to find it and kept driving around and around and around all over this freaking unknown city. And the whole time all that kept going around my mind was *I* don't have *time!* for this!

He was back and forth with his boss on the cell for awhile and then "Sun" asked to speak with me again. Turns out he would take me halfway and drop me off 'near' another bus station.
Fine, whatever! timetimetime.

We arrived in the area and from my drop-off, I could just make out the bus station over and across the bridge, x-number of blocks away. But whatever, fine, at least I could get on a bus that was definitely going in the right direction with no spontaneous side-trips. (And considerably cheaper.)

BUT! Yes, but, as I was exiting the van his boss came walking up, jumped in, and motioned me back in. (ahhh, the magic of sign language.)
Yeah.... OK.
But I didn't close the door until he assured me in reasonable English there was "no pay".
Between having hardly any sleep the night before, the current pickup disaster, and the whole nightmare plane trip looming in front of me in less than 8 hours, of course I got in.

The rest of Ranmaru's trip from the Korea side went smoothly with "Sun"sending me pictures of his arrival at her office and then another one before he boarded his Delta flight to the US.

Yes, Delta.
Remember Delta?
The same company that lost a family's dog to certain starvation at some international changeover?
Well, they certainly didn't let us down with any show of competence this time either.

After I arrived safely in America, I checked my email the following morning to see about picking up Ranmaru per our pre-takeoff plans. At once, I found several emails (never a good sign) from my US-side contact. Turns out Delta put Ranmaru on the wrong flight.
In other words, much like Paco the dog, Ranmaru was supposed to arrive with me but did not because he was not put on his pre-scheduled flight for some unknown reason. However the pet transport company had been following this the whole time and when I finally got the emails in the morning after my late night arrival, I was told one of their agents had been taking care of Ranmaru in the meantime since his early, unexpected arrival.

Again, I can't stress this enough, if the transport company had not been there to clean up after all these people, Ranmaru would have been sitting on some cargo bay with no care or anything for 12 hours or more.
Or worse.
It's just as perfectly likely that Delta might have shipped him not just on the wrong flight, but to the wrong place. And in that case, as a lone, unimportant consumer, could I or anyone naively expected Delta to have gone all out to locate him?
Or would they merely have tried to throw a $200 compensation at me like in Paco's case?

Hire a Professional Pet Transport company, please.
You will pay in blood, but it is soooo worth it as no amount of monetary compensation is ever enough to cover the life of a loved one.

Cheers and see you again! (^_-)-♪

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

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1 comment:

yogaferret said...

DELTA KILLS another pet.