Hmmm, where to start?
Let’s rewind back a couple of months ago when I booked my tickets in and out of Europe.
I chose the cheapest alternative which involved taking 3 separate flights to get from Vancouver to Oslo with connections in Dallas and London.
There weren’t huge layovers in any of my stops so I figured it wouldn’t kill me.
I booked my tickets with British Airways but actually my first two flights were with their partner American Airlines.
I woke up bright and early at 3am after just four hours sleep and soon headed out to the airport for my 8am flight.
The first flight to Dallas was an uneventful 4 hour flight.
It was when I got to Dallas when things went haywire for me…
I had a two hour layover so I casually grabbed some lunch and headed to my gate and waited.
When I went to checkin for my second American Airlines flight they scanned the boarding pass I had printed when I checked in in Vancouver and I heard that dreaded buzzer sound come out of the machine.
I was pulled to the side and the man looked me up on the computer.
He couldn’t find me on the flight.
As he looked at my reservation on the computer, he told me British Airways had taken over control of my reservation and I was now on a British Airways flight two hours later instead.
I’ve never had this problem before. I was dazed and confused but mostly I was worried about the third flight from London to Oslo.
Originally there would be a 4 hour layover in London which was plenty of time to make the flight to Oslo.
Now there would be just an hour. It still seemed doable though so I still had hope.
Until I reached the British Airways counter…
Here’s where I found out what really happened.
After boarding my first flight British Airways cancelled the London-Oslo flight I was supposed to be on. Not just for me – for everyone. That flight no longer existed.
So they decided to automatically give me the best alternative which was a later flight out of Dallas and a later flight out of London.
In a nutshell I would now be arriving in Oslo at 4pm instead of 1pm and have longer layovers in both Dallas and London.
Yes, it’s only a few hours but there’s also the matter of that fourth flight I had booked for today.
My plan originally was to land in Oslo at 1:00 in the afternoon and visit the city for 5 hours before heading back to the airport for an 8pm flight to my final destination today – Helsinki.
Because the flight was getting in late that planned Oslo afternoon adventure was going to be scrapped and instead I’d be hanging out in the Oslo airport for 4 hours.
I think back to how many hours I actually spent planning that little afternoon excursion and it makes me cringe. All that time, all that planning – all for naught.
Anyway, I boarded my new flight out of Dallas to London where I waited for four hours for my next flight to Oslo.
For the first time all day I exited through customs instead of transferring to another flight.
After a quick customs check I went to the baggage carousel to pick up my bag.
Now, after all the flight switching I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that my bag wasn’t going to follow me all the way to Oslo.
Sure enough, I sat there at the baggage carousel watching bag after bag come out until there were no more.
I went over to the baggage claim counter and explained to the man what happened and gave him my contact info and address in Helsinki where I’ll be for the next day and a half.
He gave me a little emergency toiletries kit. Thankfully my netbook, charger and plug adapter were all in my carryon as I charged my phone and netbook throughout the day at various airports.
In the scheme of things, the inconvenience is minor. It pretty much just means I’m wearing the same clothes for 3 days.
Of course if my bag isn’t found tomorrow and shipped over to Helsinki tomorrow night… well, that’s where things become a nuisance.
For the time being, I’m taking it in stride.
Anyway, for the first time in over a day I was no longer stuck in a airport or on a plane. I actually was able to walk outside the airport and breathe the fresh air.
Of course my grand plan for an authentic Norwegian meal was out the window as I only had airport food to choose from.
I had a hotdog, actually two cause dammit, I deserved it!
So, there I sat, outside on a bench eating a hotdog and watching the world go by.
Eventually, I headed back into the airport and boarded my fourth and final flight of the day – Oslo to Helsinki.
At just after midnight Helsinki time I touched down and headed to my hostel.
Whew, what a day!
In the end, this was my travel day…
These are all Vancouver times:
Mon, 03:00 Wakeup
Mon, 06:00 Arrive YVR
Mon, 08:00 Flight #1 to Dallas
Mon, 12:00 Arrive Dallas
Mon, 16:00 Flight #2 to London
Tue, 01:00 Arrive London
Tue, 05:00 Flight #3 to Oslo
Tue, 07:00 Arrive Oslo
Tue, 12:00 Flight #4 to Helsinki
Tue, 14:00 Arrive Helsinki
Tue, 15:00 Finally sleep!
That’s 36 hours from the time I woke up in Vancouver to the time I finally put my head to a pillow in my hostel in Helsinki.
Yup, a long tiring start to USSR Trip 2015, but, hey, I’m here in Europe!
Let the adventure begin!!!
To read about how the “lost bag” saga ends, check out part 2…