web Musings of The Global Traveller

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The importance of being prepared

As I write this entry I'm several hundred miles away from where I meant to be, will misconnect on my next planned flight (which it will take me two flights to get to that airport) and currently several hundred dollars out of pocket.

And I'm kicking myself for being less prepared than I could have been.

Yesterday I boarded a flight which I thought would have been cancelled due to bad weather at our destination (I'd been tracking the deteriorating weather online and also could see storms in the distance in the direction we were headed), but the airline flew regardless. That was mistake 1. Given my reservations I should have declined to board.

The flight then diverted to another, very small, airport not served by this airline, but would not allow anyone to remain on the aircraft. Since the airline doesn't serve this airport they would not allow anyone to reboard.

As my travel plans included flying on to another city that same day, I had no accommodation arranged. Also being late on a Saturday afternoon there were no more flights by any airline out of the diversion airport. I was stranded.

So I called the elite number of the airline, only to get someone in a call centre in another country who was unable to offer any assistance. Mistake 2 was if I had saved a local direct number (as opposed to the general free phone number) I might have been able to get assistance.

Mistake 3 became apparent shortly after when my cell phone battery died. I of course was not expecting to need to make a 30+ minute call in a poor reception area and had no spare battery or even a charger with me.

Not only did I need to pay for unplanned accommodation and a new last minute ticket to get to the ultimate destination from yesterday's travel, but I will not arrive in time for my next scheduled flight. I can see it will take some time to patch up my travels that unravelled so quickly yesterday.

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