I attempted conversation with United's voice recognition system today.
It asked me for my reservation number. It said I should say
I don't know if I did not know it. Usually I would know this information. But through some mystery that I have still not solved, the e-mail confirmation for the reservation I needed to cancel is nowhere to be found. I was even beginning to question whether I ever bought the ticket in the first place.
I don't know, I said.
You said L-F-G-D-Z-A. Is that correct?
The conversation, such as it was, turned out to be pointless. I was hoping to salvage some kind of credit from the $105 ticket to Denver, for use at a later indeterminate date. But the real human who rode in to bail out the flustered paternal robot informed me that I would have to pay a $115 change fee (plus any difference in fare) in order to use the ticket in the future. The human seemed not to understand why I thought that was preposterous. Perhaps it wasn't a human at all. The automaton theory is further supported by the fact that
she, after I had canceled my reservation, asked me whether I would be interested in a car rental from Herz.