I think it was the dread of traveling again via air that kept me awake most the night. After all, I’m dealing with all the crap, along with a wife with a broken wing. In preparation, we repacked everything down and condensed it into our two checkins and one carry bag. One very heavy carry bag. And I’m the bag who carries it.
The driver was on time – thank goodness – but dropped us at the wrong terminal. Yes, we were flying UNITED AIRLINES but it was actually Lufthansa. This mean a good hike to our checkin gate. I found a cart so we could move the bags quicker, had JB tuck into my back (protecting her arm) and off we went. Got the tickets okay, then the guy at the counter pulled a fast one – he moved our flight up from 11am to 7:10am, now boarding. We should be able to make it. Sharp kid.
Security was light, we moved quickly, we walked the treadways, and made the gate just at final boarding. Whew. I mother-henned JB all the way to Frankfurt (giving the guy next to her the evil eye – nudge my wife and I’ll keeel you). But no stress, and the Indians say – we got onto Frankfurt with hours to spare, got through customs, and did a little final shopping for the folks back home.
The final flight was pretty easy (as transatlantic flights with a broken arm can be). We lucked out – on a packed flight, the seat next to JB was empty. She could rest her arm on pillows and sleep. Got home on time, the limo was there, we were in the door as expected.
The cat lingered around the corner of the door frame, watching, clearly thinking, “Who the F…?”
Overall, we had a pretty fun trip. The cruise with Avalon was everything we could have imagined it to be. Wonderful food, wonderful friends, great sights, and our own little room every night. Perfect.
Corporations I’m pissed off:
UNITED AIRLINES: Couldn’t find their asses with both hands. Four chances to get us to Zurich and they blew the lot of them. I finally got one of their help desk people to write me, and after two tries and the picture of their mismarked tram sign, they finally agreed to forward it to the group that manages the Newark Concourse. It’s not that I’m simply unhappy – I’m a lifetime enemy now.
TRAVEL INSURED INTL: If this wasn’t a corporation, if it was a person, I would call them out on the street and beat them. What were you thinking, quibbling and ducking like you did while my wife suffered a broken arm 4000 miles from home? I’ve let my travel agent know exactly what you did, everyone on the cruise knows what you did, and I’ll pass it along (by word and blog) until I die.
AVALON CRUISE LINES: Okay, I’m pissed with your lack of contingency planning – nobody knew what to do for an on-board injury. We wasted a lot of time trying to work a trip home through you, wasted time that could have been spent better. On the other hand, Cruise Director Ninki showed up at our room to check on JB. While this might have been corporate damage control, I’m thankful enough for her compassion to give you a break on this one. We’ll probably book with you in future. Just get the laundry up out of the halls, okay?
GO TRAVEL: Lucienne set us up for our vacation, booklets, travel books, advice, everything. She got us on our ship for our anniversary when all other means were closed. She’s a dynamite lady and I’m grateful for her in her following up with the insurance trolls.
So, fellow travelers – some advice:
1) Use travel agencies. They can really do a lot of that self-service work for you, and can get you ins that the internet can’t.
2) If flying overseas, always make your transatlantic flight first, then short-hop it to your final destination. Why? If you miss a connection, there are more alternatives for that short hop (even trains). When we missed our Zurich flight, we had to wait 20 hours for the next.
3) When coming home, always make your transatlantic flight last. American Security is an officious impediment, and you will have trouble making connections and going through customs, security, and so on. Last time, when we came through Charlotte, we went through five levels of customs/security/anal probes, just to get dumped outside the security perimeter and have to come back through.
4) If anything happens, an injury or sickness, DON’T try to work it through the carrier or insurance. Just get your loved one home. Call the airline, get that seat, get them flying. Corporations have a vested interest in screwing you. I experienced this first hand.
5) Don’t fly UNITED AIRLINES.
6) Don’t insure throughTRAVEL INSURED INTL.
And that’s it! JB has had surgery and had a screw installed in her left shoulderblade. She’s in mild pain but healing rapidly. We see the doctor again on Tuesday. Currently, we are thinking of another Amsterdam trip (to catch up on what we missed), and looking towards 2014/15 or so for that.
Thanks for coming on our trip with us. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.