Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Traveling horror stories anyone?

Many of you already know, but getting back here to Casablanca was a bit of a challenge for me. I arrived here 33 hours after I was originally scheduled to arrive. All because of some medical emergency on the plane coming TO Kansas City. That flight had to divert and land in Tulsa. And the emergency apparently used up all of the oxygen on the plane that they are required to carry. Since it was New Year's Day, the oxygen company that they contract with was not working. More delay. Three and a half hours later, the plane got to KC. In the meantime, I was given a new itinerary since my original was obviously not going to happen (KC to Newark to Lisbon to Casablanca). The new one had me going KC to Newark to Frankfurt to Brussels to Casablanca. But, the stupid people at KCI should have known I was not going to make that flight to Frankfurt. The Newark airport blows. Period. So, I got to Newark with this carbon copy ticket thing that KCI gave me and of course missed the overnight flight. I shuffled through the ticketing line only to be met by 2 unfriendly women who told me there was nothing they could do tonight because no other flights were going out and that I'd have to come back at 3:30 am when someone would have more time to help me. They were busy checking in ticketed passengers. Grrrr.  I managed to find a nice old man security guard who advised me to use my boarding pass to at least get into the gated area where there was a mc donalds and dunkin' doughnuts. What I actually found was a place to plug in and charge my phone and start calling friends, mom, and continental. Managed to get myself on a flight leaving the next evening and found out Mom took out trip insurance (YAY Mom!) and that I could start a claim and then get reimbursed for hotel, food, etc.  Off to the Ramada Inn I went (it wasn't much, but definitely better than Newark airport) at 1a.m. Flight wasn't leaving on Sunday until 6:25 pm, so I slept in and then watched some football in the hotel bar with an entertaining bartender and another couple who had missed their morning flight to Antigua. A couple of free Blue Moons later, I was a little happier. Got to airport and managed to get a ticket in a row all by myself to fly across the pond. So, I stretched out and managed to read all of Mockingjay (fabulous book series) on the way. Of course, once we got to Brussels (my newest itinerary) was when I got tired. But, I took my carbon copy ticket thing to several people and they said to just present it at the gate and they would issue me a boarding pass. Ha...little did they know. After the initial 4 hour layover, plus another 2 hour delay, the lady at the gate said I was not shown to be on that flight. Fabulous. And while she did try to call some people, she eventually just said "I can't help you. Maybe you should call your agent." Agent? Who the hell has an agent? I had 2 phones on me...one that could call in the states and one that could call in Morocco. So, back to the main entrance/ticketing area I went. Needless to say, I never cried...although a nervous breakdown of sorts seemed on the verge. I found a nice man with Brussels airlines who could obviously see how worn out I was and he just said "We're getting you on the next flight". He walked me over to the ticketing window I needed, talked to some people, and got a guy to issue me a ticket for a flight that was leaving in 2 hours. Oh, but wait..it was supposed to leave in 2 hours. But it was delayed 2 more hours. Of course it was. At this point, I pretty much expected that. So, I sat for another 2+ hours, exhausted...waiting for this flight. I was half expecting it to be cancelled. But, alas, I got on the flight and slept to Casablanca. The wonderful airport driver that we use, Mohammed, was there to greet me with a smile and took me home. Of course, none of my luggage made it. Not that I expected it to. When I was filing the missing baggage claim, the man actually laughed at the fact that it was Jan. 3rd and I had started traveling on Jan. 1st. I chuckled a bit myself. All in all, I missed 2 itineraries, or 2 flights, then missed another flight and had 3 delayed flights in the process as well. Lovely, huh?

I just got off the phone with a nice lady from Continental baggage claims department though. And here's the kicker...my bags stayed on my original itinerary and made it from KC to Newark to Lisbon. Even though the people at KCI told me they went down and retagged my bags themselves. Whatever. So, hopefully a trip out to the airport tomorrow will be well worth it and I'll have my luggage.  I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. I'd probably steer clear of Continental if possible. Although I'm going to try to complain enough to get a voucher of some sort out of this mess.  It is good to be 'home' and back among the familiar. Or, as familiar as things can be here in a foreign land!

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