Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Travel Nightmare of Missing a Flight: Yes, I Missed My Flight to Riga

Yes, you heard it right. I missed my flight to Riga, Latvia. Bummer.

The next direct flight to Riga is on Friday (same airline, WizzAir). There is another direct flight to Riga via Amsterdam but that is on a Wednesday (with AirBaltic). These two airlines are the only ones offering direct flights this week. The rest of the flights are spread out throughout the week and will take 17 hours to reach Riga (it is only a 2 hour flight!) because Riga unfortunately is not your everyday destination.

With a heavy heart, I have cancelled my Latvia and Lithuania trips.

At first I could not forgive myself why I let this slip up. Moneywise, I have already booked my hotels (they are non-refundable and are not cheap, they are 4 stars) thus I have lost quite a sum but I consoled myself that it is just money, it is not the end of the world. But where I am so furious about is MY TIME and the opportunity lost. The opportunity I am sure will always be there (I tell you, I will be going to both countries soon!!!), but MY TIME, unfortunately not—I only have this week free.

Why did I missed the damn flight?

I actually came to the airport early. Eindhoven Airport is very small and if you have flown in through Eindhoven, you will probably wonder why the heck I missed the flight when I came in early. It is really that small of an airport with just 4 gates.

My view where I waited for my flight outside security.

My fault really was I stayed too long outside security. I was upstairs in the restaurant just killing time listening to music. When I saw the call to boarding sign which was 40 minutes before the actual flight, I decided to go downstairs. Security is usually a breeze. Did I mention that it is a small airport? Little did I know I will be stuck in the chaos at security control.

The problem was there were many flights flying at the same hour and because it is a very small airport, security control became the bottle neck area. When I saw the madness at security, I began to worry, my heart palpitating wild. Oh dear, this cannot be. I really had a lot to worry because it took me half an hour to get through security and when I finally did, the gate to my flight was closed.

The ground stewardess said without any empathy, ‘THE GATE IS CLOSED. I AM SORRY, YOU MISSED YOUR FLIGHT.’

Do you know how that sounds and feels like? It’s like utter disbelief. The earth shattered before my very eyes and I did not want to believe it. Then a sudden realisation of loss swept over me. Then panic, yes PANIC. Images of what I could have done, seen, etcetera in Latvia and Lithuania flashed through my mind like a slideshow presentation. Then followed by immense sadness. I felt so stupid. I wanted to cry but there were no tears coming out of my eyes.

The plane actually didn’t even took off on time and I thought I could have gotten up there!!!

Customer Service Drama

Feeling rejected, angry and woeful I retraced my steps back to Customer Service. They have offloaded my bag and I have to pick it up there.

While waiting, an impromptu drama played in front of me. Three women began shouting expletives and raising their arms at the female customer service agent. More shouting ensued coming in different forms of—‘K*t ho*r!’ The man behind me could not stop mumbling—‘Dit is schandalig’.

The airport hall was actually put to a standstill for a few minutes because of the fight. Yes, it is that small of an airport that can be put it to a halt when there is a commotion at the other end of the hall. It took a few minutes before the police arrived to settle down the drama.

Oh well. What a day at the airport.

Resolve to Travel and Enjoy Life

Anyway, I am still woeful at this point while writing. I have lost my vacation and I only have this week free. But I am resolved not to let this travel misfortune get the better of me.

So today I am going to console myself first with a lovely lunch of ‘Fruits de Mer’ in Amsterdam then I will go visit a few museums.

Did I tell you that I have bought a Dutch Museum Year Pass? I have been very vocal in this blog of not being a museum person. But I like to challenge myself from time to time by going out of my comfort zone. Hopefully with this museum year pass I will learn to appreciate museums more.

I also have set some new plans for the rest of the week. I initially thought of going to London or Paris, but right now I really have no desire to go through an airport again. At least for now. I also do not want to drive more than 5 hours. But I will be going on a road trip to a few places nearby that I have been wanting to go to for a long time but never made it for some reason or another.

I am resolved to turn this travel heartbreak into a beautiful travel week for me.

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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