Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Road Warrior Stories

If you hang out around people that travel a lot you will hear a lot of “road warrior” stories—missed planes, no hotel reservation, long layovers, lemon rental cars, etc.

I have a new road warrior story to add to my collection.

I was in Germany last week. On Friday, I was scheduled to fly home. I had a flight from Stuttgart to Frankfurt, a little over an hour layover, then a direct Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Denver. I really like this non-stop flight between Denver and Frankfurt. It only takes about 10 hours, the service with Lufthansa is good, and there is internet on the plane!

In Stuttgart, I went to the Lufthansa check-in counter to check my bags and check in for the flights. The lady there looked me up on the computer to find my eTicket and claimed that while I was confirmed on the flight from Stuttgart to Frankfurt, I was not on any Lufthansa flight back to the US. Upon further searching, she claimed I was on a United flight to Chicago with a subsequent connection to Denver. (I had been booked that way at one time, but changed to the direct flight many weeks earlier.)

I pulled out my printed itinerary and showed it to her. I clearly showed I was on the direct Lufthansa flight. But, she trumped me with her computer screen which clearly showed me on the United flights. I finally stopped arguing with her and let her check me and my luggage on the United flights. However, she could not give me my boarding passes—I’d have to get those at the gate in Frankfurt.

Upon arriving in Frankfurt, I ran to the United gate. I had a little trouble with security since I did not have a ticket or boarding pass or even a printed itinerary that showed I was on the United flight. But, the luggage receipt was enough to finally convince them to let me proceed to the gate. Once there, United could not find me on their system. I was not ticketed on the United flights! They did some research and discovered that I was, in reality, booked on the non-stop Lufthansa flight!

By now it was too late to try to move between terminals. So I begged United to let me on their flight. They put me on standby, and after a brief wait confirmed me on the flight to Chicago (where I was still on standby for the flight to Denver). I got a really bad seat, but the flight was good and I arrived in Chicago safe and sound. I managed to get on the connecting flight to Denver and arrived there about 4 hours later than I had planned. Luckily, I was able to contact Lynne and have her pick me up at the later arrival time.

The following week, I was telling this story to a colleague who had been on the same trip, but who caught the direct Lufthansa flight. It turns out they had engine trouble, had to change out the plane in Frankfurt, and left about 4 hours late! I actually got home earlier than he did. Must have been fate.

Tags:  business
Posted under: The Business World • by Rick on 11/15/2005 at 11:28 AM
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