Travelling is not my favourite thing... but when I'm by myself and travelling for work, well... it just the sort of thing that I just hunker down and do. When I'm travelling with family, well... there are always a few more considerations that need to be taken into account. Like waking up the girls and getting them ready to leave without them cranking out too much... Thankfully, the older girl is pretty good at just gritting her teeth and getting things down when it needs to be done... even if it means a crazily early morning start to get to the airport. And if the little sees the older doing stuff, then she will also get going as well... just a lot slower and with a good deal more grumbling!
Anyway, we had an early-ish flight to Scotland last week, and it meant that we had to wake up really early to get to the airport on time. Given that the UK is no longer part of the EU, it means that we would need to brave the check-in, security AND the passport control before we would reach the boarding zone. Plus, there were the additional Corona-travel documentations and the Herfts-vakantie rush (Autumn school break). So, we made sure that we were at the airport with heaps of time to spare... about 2 and half hours ahead of time instead of the recommended 2 hours.
However, as soon as we entered the terminal... well, it was crazy busy. So, we went to the check-in line immediately... and got put in a line for the check-in. Which ended up being understaffed and with many people taking their time with the corona-documentation that they SHOULD have prepared the earlier evening... instead of just at the check-in counter! Anyway, we did what we were told... and there were no calls for our flights to jump ahead.
Like any queue system... there are many people who are just going to be too important to be stuck in a queue... and there were quite a few people who "accidentally" didn't see the hundred metre line... and tried to push in. This morning, I was especially cranky... and travelling with children makes you less inclined to allow line-jumpers to try and muscle in over the little ones as the "appear" to be a weak spot in the line. This morning, I actually (rare for me..) told a couple of people to just go to the back... and the people around me supported as well! Honestly... I can't stand it when people think they are just too good to stand in line... it screws things up for everyone else.
Unfortunately, when we FINALLY made it to the check-in desk (after SOOOOOO LONG in the queue... ), we were told that we weren't going to make the boarding as the security and passport wait times were just too long! Needless to say, this wasn't a great thing to hear after waking up crazy early to be at the airport in good time and then standing in line for god knows how long! My wife got pretty cranky at the check-in lady... but I played good cop. After all, it isn't the check-in person's fault...
... anyway, she told us that we could try at the airline desk to see if we could be rebooked. After waiting in a much shorter queue... the man at the desk was able to rebook us on the afternoon flight to Scotland! YAY!... I think he took pity on the family that was travelling through with two little kids, as earlier we were told that the afternoon flight was fully booked and that there was a waiting list (heh... I guess we were digital queue jumpers?).
So, we had about 5 hours to kill at the airport... and as many people know, airports are not great places to kill time with kids! I mean, we had done it many times in the past... but it was currently too busy to play on the travellators! Luckily, the security and passport control took roughly another hour or so... and again, so many people who seem to not "notice" a giant queue and "accidentally" join the queue at near the front... idiots!
I'm always feel pretty blessed that my two girls are generally quite flexible and adaptable to difficult situations... they took the extra waiting time in their stride. Took the chance to see some shops, eat some food, play in the plane playground, read some books, annoy each other, and then play a bit of games and TV. We are mean parents... we only release the tablet and Switch at the end after they have been doing other things. They know that if they ask earlier, they will just lose it for the rest of the day!
So... eventually, we made it to Scotland... much later than expected, but at least we were in the right country for our short little holiday!
Fast forward to yesterday... when we arrived the Scotland airport, nice and early for a crazily early flight (sound familiar?). Now, Glasgow airport is much smaller than Schiphol, and so we arrive with decent time... knowing that there wasn't going to be a crazy crush with kiddie holidays! Just over 2 hours was going to more than enough...
... which made it EVEN MORE unbelievable when we saw that the flight was cancelled! What the hell... the only flight on the board that was cancelled! We didn't receive a notification or anything... and apparently, neither did all the other passengers who were slowly arriving behind us!
In the end, it was due to the hard wind that was in the Netherlands... which meant that the plane never took off from Amsterdam, and thus... wasn't here to pick us up on the return leg!
Anyway, there wasn't a KLM desk here... so, I jumped straight onto the ever helpful helpline number... which I could expect to be put on hold for about hour or so... unless the friendly switchboard would decide it would just hang up on me... several times.
When I finally got through, I was told that there were NO flights to Amsterdam (with partner airlines) from Glasgow that day... I would have to be rebooked on the next day with a crazy short 1 hour change in Frankfurt! Sigh... a long day of travel but as long as KLM was going to meet the extra expenses of the hotel and food for the extra day... ah well. At least it was a chance to rack up some more cashbacks on my Binance and Crypto.com VISA cards. Well.. the lady on the other end of the phone said that KLM would meet the expenses, but I would have to lodge a compensation claim... super, I spend the money first, and then MAYBE I get compensated. I'm going to be a bit cranky if they don't do it...
So... the next day (today), we woke up crazy early... (sound familiar?).... to get to the airport (which was just across the road this time!)... and we BOARDED! How anticlimatic...
... but in Frankfurt... the plane was stuck on the tarmac, because the ground crew were at a different place. So, given we had 1 hour for the change... well, there went about 20 of those minutes! So, when were allowed to disembark, we had to board a bus... I understand that many people were also running late for connections, but let me just say... when there is a sinking ship, I'm not totally convinced that many people will adhere to the "women and children first" concept... grown adults will just trample kids to get where they need to go (I've seen the same for last train rushes in the Netherlands... screw the old, the weak and the young... its not a pretty sight).
Anyway, we finally made it onto the last bus... and there was a mother and her child on the tarmac waiting for their stroller. When it finally came... instead of walking the 5 metres to the bus, she had to slowly assemble it, dress the child and pack it with their stuff.... meanwhile, a busload of irate fellow passengers were watching their minutes tick away! Eventually a pair of passengers jumped out and picked up the stroller and led them onto the bus.... where dear old "bubba" didn't want to sit in the stroller anyway!
Finally in the terminal... there was PASSPORT #$%@#$% CONTROL! ... and guess what, somehow... mother and bubba managed to wrangle their way to the front of the queue (we had kids too!)... and were holding up everyone, because they didn't have their documents in order! $@%@%$$%@...
Anyway, in the end, we made it through... and ran the rest of the way to the boarding gate. I carried the little one with a few bags hanging off me, whilst my wife and older child ran ahead to try and get to the gate before it closed. Thankfully, the airline did know that there were many passengers delayed... and they had waited! We got on the plane... and I collapsed... my little one isn't so little anymore!
We had fun in Scotland... but the travel was pretty @$#@#$#@%