Monday, September 15, 2008

Required fields

I got online recently to register for a frequent flier account with American. I think I had one like eight months ago, but my login never worked right and I changed my address and the airline just couldn’t keep up. What else is new?

I was putting in my info and the computer popped up with red lines telling me which fields were actually mandatory. I’m sorry American Airlines, but I don’t think you need my work, cell and home phone numbers, since all you’re going to do is send me spam, call me at 8 PM on a Sunday night to tell me about flight specials to Charleston and text me when my flights get delayed.

Thanks but no thanks.

It told me to fill in “Prefix,” and before I could guess between Ms. and Miss, I found that there were no fewer than 84 prefixes to choose from. 84! Who knew there was so much to aspire to? Consul, Earl, Herr, Lady, Princess… the possibilities are endless.

What would happen if I showed up to the airport with “Duchess A.H., Esq.” on my e-ticket?

More importantly, who verifies this information?!

I might have gotten away with it, except for the irritable problem of their website being unable to verify my address. I didn’t think the monotone customer service rep on the phone would find my embellished title amusing, so I cleared it before she could revoke my advantage mile privileges... lame. I bet AH the duchess would have always gotten the window seats.

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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