„Your flight has been canceled. Rebooking ongoing“
The message appeared on my phone when I woke up this morning. The link I got to check out how to process now was not working at first. When I finally got to the page, it stated that I do not need to go to the airport. Okay, I mean at 5 a.m. I would love to flip over and sleep a little longer. But, how do I get to Iceland then? And to what flight am I rebooked? There is a plane leaving a quarter ahead of mine, but it’s not from a Star Alliance company. Guess it’s not the one I am going to catch. When would they let me know which departure I am on? If the time between notification and take off is too short I won’t make it in time anyway.
Those questions run through my mind while I am frantically searching the internet for any advice on how to proceed. Last time a flight of mine got canceled, I was already behind the security gate. Sort of a different situation now. How does one go on in a case like this? I am trying to reach anyone from the airline staff, a travel agent would be helpful now. The service desk does not open before 7a.m. though. Would I manage to get the next flight if I waited at home, should they rebook me and tell me on the phone?
Oh, my bed is tempting.
What did I get myself into with this one?
Eventually, I make up my mind. I will go to the airport as if the flight was still going. I will line up in the queue at the service desk and see if I can get any answers. Time to get ready then.
Yesterday’s snow turned into freezing rain overnight; cancellations and delays are understandable. But, of course, you always want to be the lucky one. Well, I have an entire day before the other three photographers arrive in Iceland, so this is not a huge problem. Not yet. The ice on the path behind the house is smooth as glass. I would not stand a chance to walk on this if my dragging my suitcase would not keep me upright. Luckily it looks better on the other side of the house. Here the path is only a little slippery. Even the street seems pretty good to me. My taxi is on time too. Everybody seems to have prepared well for the weather chaos that has been announced since Monday. The only problem I can see ahead is the road’s condition. But again it is surprisingly good. The driver tells me that the weather forecast for tomorrow is even worse. So whatever happens to my rebooking I will not go back home if they should book me onto a flight for tomorrow. The risk of not getting back to the airport is not worth taking.
Long queues and no end in sight
Upon arrival the queue at the SAS service desk is long. Probably still no comparison to when this weather started yesterday. But everybody is in a decent mood. Maybe the queue for telephone support is not as long? I give it a try. Only 20 people ahead of me in the phone queue, versus at least 150 in the physical one. So I better wait in both and whoever solves my problem first wins 🙂
An hour later and I am no further, not much farther either.
Two hours of waiting in queues the company operating the airport, Avinor, is handing out water. Yea! The one thing I regretted today: not having a travel companion to hold the line for me while I go and get some drinks. Avinor you guys rock! By now I can see the service desk. And I am number one in the phone queue too. Well until I am told that I am waiting in the wrong phone queue and a rebooking agent has to take my call instead. Now I am number 9. Number nine. There are fewer people ahead of me in the physical queue now, time to give up my space in the phone queue.
Finally, after about 3.5 hours – 210 minutes – I am now speaking with a travel agent. Yes, I am rebooked onto the Iceland Air flight leaving at 1:25 p.m. I admit I saw that I had a rebooking five minutes ago. But now for the details. Do I still have fast track and the other amenities, that my original ticket included? No! I am booked into a standard economy now. At least I am now getting the information on how to get some of the money for my ticket back too. I am getting to Iceland today! Everybody seems to have done their best to get me to where I need to go as soon as they knew there was a problem. It would have been helpful to have a few more travel agents handling cases, but according to the news they called in everybody they could. Not to mention: they cannot beam people from their homes to the airport either.
Fact is if I had stayed at home as the website said I would not have made my new flight…
Another few minutes to wait at the check-in and then some more at the security check. Yes, of course, I have to take out my camera. And sure enough, it gets swap-sampled as well. Nothing I did not foresee. No problem. Before I go to my gate, I am getting some Icelandic Kronors, which have the weirdest conversion rate I have ever seen. 2100 NOK equals 25000 ISK.
Finally on my way to Iceland
The flight is as pretty much every flight before. Except I didn’t get a window seat, which is especially sad because I would have been on the right side to have a look at Iceland…well I have a place on this flight. I won’t complain. And I have a blanket too. This time, however, the plane is not as cold as on other planes. No ice cubes are falling down from the ceiling this time.
Everything works out. In Keflavik, my luggage is among the first pieces on the conveyor belt. The taxis are waiting for passengers…those of us whom the strong winds have not blown back home already. The driver I am riding with tells me that for the next two days nobody visits the North, West or East of the island. The wind is too strong.
I thought I would enjoy the afternoon and go for a walk or so, but not with this wind. So I will instead get some rest before my adventure starts. Or maybe today was the most adventurous day of it? But then there is the thread of Katla and some other volcanos to erupt, as they all are on overdue…so who knows where this adventure is going to take me?