Monday, June 4, 2012

Travel Luck

Yesterday was a day of travel issues. It began pretty early.

I’m not sure what was going through my mind when I decided that in order to make my 9 AM flight to London this morning I should leave my hotel at 7 to start the 30-45 minute walk to the bus station and then catch the 30 minute bus ride to the airport. At best, I would have been only an hour early for my flight but more likely I would have had about 45 minutes. As I was checking out of the hotel I realized my miscalculation, caught a taxi to the airport, and got through security about half an hour before they started boarding. When I entered the main terminal I was thinking “Ahh, ok. Now time to get some coffee before my flight. How nice to have gotten rid of my suitcases!” Oops, I was only supposed to have gotten rid of one. So I ran back to the security checkpoint, where of course my carry-on was waiting for me along with a very angry security lady who was convinced I must have left it there on purpose in order to make her life more difficult. Naturally. I have never completely forgotten a bag behind before, and that combined with my timing confusion earlier had me a little bit worried about how I was going to get through the rest of the day of traveling. Oh if I only knew.

The flights from Edinburgh to London and from London to Oslo were fairly uneventful, but the London/Oslo flight was about ten minutes late. Then, apparently Norway has different customs laws, so even though Oslo was not my final destination, I was supposed to exit to the terminal, go collect my luggage, go through security again and then find my gate. Well, I waited for my bag for about 30 minutes before realizing that it wasn’t going to come, and then went to speak to someone about what I should do as I watched the minutes before my flight to Trondheim tick away. When I spoke to the man at the British Airways counter, he just smiled and said “Oh no, you will not be making that flight”. Very matter of fact. I was then sent upstairs to the British Airways counter. The sight that met me eyes at the top of the escalator was enough to send anyone into an anxiety attack. Hundreds of people were crowded into the main entry area, all in a queue so huge it was impossible to tell if it was all one line or a million different small ones. I waited for 30 minutes after figuring out which of these groups would take me to the British Airways counter, and finally spoke to that lady about my situation. She said she was really sorry, but British Airways and SAS no longer had an agreement, so even though I missed my flight because British Airways lost my bag, SAS would not be able to get me onto the next flight. When I asked what I was supposed to do then, she told me that I would have to buy another ticket. My response to this was quite simple—I just started to cry in the middle of the airport and between sobs, managed to say “I just finished studying abroad; I have no money!”. She must have taken pity on me at this point, and helped me find the line to the SAS counter. After another 30 minute wait, I was able to convince the SAS lady that this situation was not my fault, and she put me on the 9 PM flight to Trondheim. It’s pretty impossible to convey the sheer stress of the situation, but everyone knows how stressful traveling by itself can be, then add in the foreign language, then add in my bag going missing, consider the fact that the line to get through security was taking two hours (as they kept announcing every 20 minutes or so), and THEN I missed my flight and was told that I wasn’t going to be able to get another one.

But, I eventually got my boarding pass, got through security (and was randomly selected to get padded down, of course), and was finally at my gate. From there, I smiled prettily at the guy next to me and asked him if he knew how I could get online so he gave me his password to the airport wi-fi and I was able to at least check email and Facebook. It’s amazing how small things like this can make a big difference at times!

About an hour later I had landed in Trondheim where I was met by Kolbjorn, got to their home, and was settled in J I don’t think I’ve slept that hard in a long time...I was both physically and emotionally drained!

Kolbjorn and I have agreed that yesterday I got rid of all of my bad travel luck for at least a year. So that bodes well for the rest of my travels! At least until June 19…please universe. Just get me through June 19!

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