SJ on the Move

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The straightest distance between two points is a...?

So, I have a business trip to Paris for a final presentation with a client. In my previous career I might have thought of jetting off to Paris as something glamorous or exciting, but experience has taught me it is little of either. This tale only solidifies that belief:

T -2:00 hours (7 p.m. EST): My flight was scheduled to depart at 9:30, so at 7 p.m. I was about to call a cab for the airport so I could be there the recommended 2 hours prior to departure when I had a thought to check the flight status. Wouldn't you know, the flight was 2 hours delayed, and now scheduled to leave at 11:30. Well, at least it gave me the opportunity to help get the kids to bed.

T 0:00 hours (9 p.m. EST): Flight still showing 2 hours delayed, so I departed in the cab to the airport

T 1:00 hours (10 p.m. EST): Check-in and security was a breeze, as there were hardly any travellers still in the airport. I was curious why there seemed to be nearly a dozen TSA employees standing around manning the one X-ray machine. Got to support the economy!

One nice unexpected perk, I was flying on Icelandair, which has an arrangement with Virgin to use their lounge at the airport. I don't spend a lot of time in airport lounges, but in my somewhat limited experience, I have come to the solid conclusion that there are Virgin lounges, and there is everybody else. I had the opportunity to have someone make me a fresh sandwich from the deli, but I went for the chicken tikka while watching the baseball game on a largescreen television.

T 2:00 hours (11 p.m. EST): Virgin lounge is now closed :-( but we should be boarding soon.

T 3:00 hours (12 p.m. EST): My flight eventually takes off, destination Iceland. I check in at the service desk before boarding and they told me that they were holding all the connecting flights back by 2 hours, so my travel plans would be exactly the same - just delayed 2 hours.

T 8:00 hours (9 a.m .local time): Landing in Iceland. Coming into the airport, I have to say that Iceland appears like nowhere else I have been. If you were looking to film a sci-fi movie and needed a location that looked like another planet - Iceland would be a good choice. Where the airport is located it is incredibly desolate. There is absolutely nothing but what looks like a flat wasteland, more or less. The ground looked black, maybe volcanic rock. What was also interesting was there were all these fissures in the ground, things that looked like craters, and these little "mini-mountains" that seemed to jut up out of nowhere. Very interetsing.

After disembarking, I found out that my flight to Paris (despite the earlier information to the contrary) had indeed left without me. So, I would need to fly to Copenhagen, and then connect to Paris.

T 9:00 hours (10 a.m. local time): Departing for Copenhagen. Supposedly you could look out the window to the right and see the volcano plume, but I was unfortunately on the wrong side of the plane. Co-incidentally, my flight to Copenhagen was on the exact same aircraft as my flight to Iceland. IcelandAir names their planes (after volcanoes, coincidentally) so I basically got off the plane, and got back on.

T 12:00 hours (3 p.m. CET time): Landing in Copenhagen. Copenhagen airport is like a gigantic mall. An incredible number of high end stores here, a feature of airports I never quite understand.

I needed to get help with my travel situation, so I went to the service desk which was a bit like the RMV- you push a button to get a number. Everything here in Copenhagen seems to be divided between SAS (Scandinavian Air System) and Novia (everyone else). The "RMV" had two areas, one for SAS and one for Novia. They told me Iceland to check in with SAS, so I got a SAS number, and waited to be called. Once I got up there, they told me I was booked on an AirFrance flight, and therefore I had to go to the Novia counter. So, I went and got a Novia number, and waited for my number to be called. Once I got up there, they told me I needed a Flight Interruption Memo from SAS before they could help me. So, I went and got a SAS number, and waited for my number to be called. After receiving my FIM from SAS, I went back to the Novia counter, got a new number, and finally received my boarding pass.

T 13:30 hours (4:30 p.m. CET): Hanging out in the Novia lounge. As you can guess, this ain't no Virgin.

T 15:00 hours (6:00 p.m. CET): Taking off from Copenhagen to Paris.

T 17:00 hours (8:00 p.m. CET): On the ground in Paris. Flight was pretty uneventful, so that's good. It's still light here pretty late in Europe, which is weird.

T 18:00 hours (9:00 p.m. CET): Well, after watching the carousel go around for awhile and eventually stop, it appears that my bag did not make it to Paris. No one has any clue where it is, and since it is after 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday, nobody is really going to care about this until tomorrow except for myself. Whether it is in Copenhagen or Keflavik, there are no more flights coming in today from either location, so I will be without my bag until tomorrow morning at the earliest. My meeting is at 2:00 p.m., so I have a reasonable chance of getting some clothes before then. I don't think I can really show up in jeans and a T-shirt.

T 18:30 hours (9:30 p.m. CET): The gypsy cabs seemed somewhat aggressive at Charles de Gaulle. Actually coming up to you in the cab line and asking where you are going. I've never trusted those guys enough to take one - seems risky. Get in the cab, and realize after leaving the airport that he doesn't have a credit card reader (which I think is unusual in the major cities in Europe). I only have 45 euros on me, so the whole ride to the hotel I'm nervous about the fare. He pulls up to the hotel and the meter reads 44.90. I'm not making that up. I apologized to him that I didn't have more to give him for a tip.

So, we'll see what tomorrow brings. There's a decent chance I get my luggage in time for my meeting. If not, I'll have to just call in from the hotel as I'm not showing up in jeans and a T-shirt. Just the cherry on the top of this adventure.


At 11:11 PM, Blogger Kansas Mom said...

What? No stores in Paris?


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