Oh, the joys of international travel! Today’s journey has been anything but flawless.
My car service arrived 30 minutes late, and after spending 15 minutes on the phone assuring me that they were outside my front door waving, it turned out they were outside waving from 2 blocks away.
Once they arrived, traffic leading into the Holland Tunnel was backed up for another 30 minutes. I finally arrived at the airport and checked in, just as the flight closed.
They got me a boarding pass, but could not give me my pre-reserved aisle seat, instead offering me an inside seat in the back of the plane or nothing.
I rushed off to security, only to find a mile long line. They sent me back to the United Airlines counter for an escort, which United declined to provide.
I begged and pleaded to be moved up the line, and the people at the security checkpoint were rude and unhelpful.
Finally, through the kindness of my fellow passengers, who a few at a time allowed me to cut ahead, I got through security.
Shoes on, I grabbed my bag, only to have the handle fall off. Laptop and 10 magazines in my hand, I sprinted on my bum knee through the terminal to the last gate (yes, it’s always the last gate when you are rushing and/or carrying things) and boarded the plane.
The flight attendant asked my seatmates if they would like to switch with me, and the wonderful, albeit large man on the aisle graciously offered me his seat.
Score!! Things were looking up.
There was no more room in the overhead compartment, so I sat for 8 ½ hours with me legs crammed beneath me, trying to relax. The man on my left was taking up a bit more than his share of the row, but I was unwilling to let that bother me, since he so magnanimously gave me his seat. The aisles were narrow and the flight attendants were not. I was bumped into every time they passed. Nothing like a big butt in your face when you are already stressed, but hey, I really wanted that aisle seat!
I landed on time in Stockholm, made my connection, and made it safely and smoothly to Gothenburg. Sadly, my luggage did not.
When I went to fill out the claim, they told me I supposed to pick it up in Stockholm and recheck it. Oops! They didn’t mention that in New York, and told me it was checked through. The baggage claim tickets stated that as well, and I was not the only one from my flight that had this problem. They told me they would deliver them as soon as they found them.
When I arrived at the hotel, there was a message that I needed to come back to the airport in person to retrieve them after all. Seriously? They decided that just after I left?
I checked into the hotel and the desk agent has informed me that the hotel might go on strike tomorrow, in which case they would re-locate me, and our big seminar. They will know in the morning. Something to look forward to for sure!
I now have my luggage, and I am unpacking, and hoping for the best.
The torrential rain has slowed to a drizzle, and I now have an umbrella, hat and sweatshirt to put on so I can go out to brave the elements.
I am happy to finally be here, and glad to have the extra day to relax and settle in.
Hopefully, the worst is behind me, and things will go smoothly from here.