Friday, 22 July 2011

OFF I GO AGAIN

I would like to thank everyone that donated to the Marie Curie Charity through my Just Giving page. Every small gift will enable them to continue the good work of nursing people like Davy in their own homes. They work with kindness and understanding. They even offered to stay with me through the night in Davy’s last days so that I could get some rest. I can’t thank them enough and only hope that your donations will keep this wonderful service going for the benefit of the terminally ill. I will keep the Just Giving link open for a couple of months so please give generously to this good cause.

Now back to today. I was at home for less than a week when I set off again. This time I went to Switzerland with some of my family.

I sometimes wonder if I attract problems because the journey was a nightmare. My grandson, granddaughter and her four children set off for Luton airport at 4 am heading for the 7.15 am plane to Geneva. We arrived at check in at 5.50 am, 45 minutes before their stated closure time of 6.35 am. So far so good! However security was not good. We were told that it was typically taking 15/20 minutes to clear, but that was OK. As it came close to our turn we were transferred to another, slower, line because we had a baby buggy. Still OK! Then Ali was pulled aside to have a random liquid test. Still OK for time.

In the departure lounge the board was announcing a last call for our flight. By this time it was 06.45 am and getting close to our 07.15 departure so we ran only to be stopped at the gate by a hand gesture from the young lady at the desk. She was talking to someone on the telephone. There seemed to be some sort of problem. By this time it was 06.55 am, still OK. She finally came off of the ‘phone and announced that the gate had been closed. We were too late! It was a nasty moment.
I went into “stern” mode and then “indignant” mode and then “you’ve got to be kidding” mode”. The children started crying when they realised what was happening. In the meantime more people arrived at the gate. There were 19 of us denied travel that morning, all with young children. The dispatcher then joined in. She was a first class cow with no remorse or conscience at all. I then went into my “ranting” mode, which didn’t help. We were immediately herded into a remote area so that the waiting public wouldn’t get spooked and told to wait a decision. We knew what this would be but by that time it was obvious we were in the hands of experts who held all the cards.

The outcome was that we were herded back to reservations to book other flights. We then met people from other flights who had had the same thing happen and, amazingly enough, by the same dispatcher! Helplessly we exchanged email addressed, vowed to keep in touch and claim some sort of compensation. I think that it’s probably a waste of time myself, but I'm determined to at least go through the motions and give them grief.

All flights to Geneva where now full so we took another flight to Zurich at 2.35 pm. This meant hanging about the airport with sleepy children. But, we finally made it. When we stepped off the plane in Zurich it was like passing through the mirror into a different world! Clean, ordered, polite, and helpful. We soon have our tickets changed, directions onto the train and a printed itinerary of where to change trains, what platform we arrived at and what platform to head for at what time. The ticket checker on the pristine train even directed us to a lift so that we wouldn’t have to navigate the stairs with all the children. Amazing! At our final destination a pre arranged taxi was waiting to whisk us up to our beautiful chalet. We finally arrived at 10.00 pm!!

The rest of our party travelled by car, arriving a couple of hours ahead of us. EasyJet should be renamed HardJet or even AttitudeJet. And guess what? They blamed the airport! The truth is that they are both to blame. And do you think that I can rightly anticipate some high level buck passing going on in the days to come? You bet!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you arrived in one piece. Enjoy your stay and rest up for who knows what is to come on the trip home. Hope it's a good one. Flagmaker

Eva Gallant said...

More of the reasons I refuse to fly!

Mimi said...

Glad you got there in the end.
Airports really are horrible now, and you're at the mercy of incompetent and very often rude people.
we had a horrible experience some years ago with Ryanair, but, as you rightly predict, buck-passing was supreme when we complained.
Anyway, enjoy your holiday.

RNSANE said...

Before my job loss and retirement, I had traveled all over the world, even after 9-11 and the change in security, etc. I rarely encountered any problems. It seems like nuisances have abounded since the World Trade Center bombing. I am usually at the airport a full two hours ahead now and, even that, sometimes, doesn't avoid difficulties.

Poor kids really are the ones who suffer the most. I'm so glad you finally made it to Switzerland for a wonderful week. I have been twice, staying with a dear forensic colleague who lives near Bern, and doing some travel by train. The Swiss are so civilized and pleasant, at least all I've encountered...and they have such wonderful wines which seldom make it out of the country!

DogLover said...

Oh, Retired & Crazy, this absolutely astonishes me.

Haven't you ever watched the TV programmes about EasyJet? Didn't you know that this is standard treatment from them?

In the best of circumstances, travelling with small children must be difficult and I sympathise with you. Have a good holiday in your favourite country.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Good grief - you'd think that these days when you have to check so early that they could get you through in time, wouldn't you? But the same dispatcher? Clearly there's a problem. Maybe she was snotty because she knows that many more cock-ups and her job will be on the line.

Glad you made it, but what a horrible experience. It's always worse with children, too, isn't it?