Study Abroad Blog by Pavel Vassiljev

Friday, June 3, 2011

Transportation Hell...

After all these happy posts I just have to write something bitter... During 4 years abroad I had several problems getting to my destination in time or at least getting there at all. I am pretty organized with coming in advance to the airport and I usually wait for the check-in to open, while playing my Nintendo DSi XL. (Yes this is advertising :)) But sometimes even starting a journey way in advance can be useless.

Icelandic Mayhem
When being home for Easter holiday 2010 I had a lot of fun. But when it came to getting back to Portsmouth it took me 2 weeks. You heard me, 2 bloody weeks thanks to Eyjafjallajökull (Thats the volcano name). My first easyjet flight got cancelled, while I was on my way to the airport. The text message I received advised me to go online and rebook a flight. When I got home and opened, flight were only available in 10 days. I was shocked as I had to work on Monday and also finish and hand-in my bachelor's thesis in a week. I decided that 10 days wait is impossible and booked a flight with Estonian Air that was in the next 4 days. (Hey, the eruption just started I didn't know it was a stupid idea). My second flight never took off as well. I had only one option to postpone it for another week. I had to call up work and tell them all about it. Luckily for me they understood. So my main problem was my thesis, which I had to finish in like 5 days. But it is extremely hard to do such stuff when you are at home and everybody is calling you and want to party, since you are still in town. However I managed to finish it and my friend handed it in. After that me and my friends had a third farewell party for me (This was the fun part) and my third flight took off and got me to Heathrow (Tallinn-Oslo-Heathrow o.O). 

I was happy to get back to Portsmouth and back to work... Even though for the next half a year I was teased for being two weeks late for work..

Christmas Horror
Christmas holiday 2010 had an epic start. I was supposed to fly home from Copenhagen Airport.. Getting to CPH was a big problem starting with the first train being 25 minutes late.. However I had more than enough time to catch my flight. The train ride from Lund to CPH takes around 40 minutes the first stop is Malmo and takes only 15 minutes to get from Lund. I was stuck for a bit more than two hours.. How is that even possible?? I know that the snow was pretty bad but COME ON, it is Sweden. They got to know how to cope with the snow. We were just stuck like 5 min away from the train station and they did not let us out.. They refused to let me out when I said I want to walk there as I see the station.. After 2 hours I got to Malmo… the train terminated there.. so we had an option of a taxi and a bus.. the taxi driver wanted 1.500 sek for 3 people to drive to CPH which is like 30 minutes away.. So we took the bus to CPH…eventually I was 20 minutes late to get my flight… Pretty frustrating! At SAS ticket office I had to stay in a queue for another hour.. and I found out that the only available flight for tomorrow.. would cost me 265 EUR extra and it was business class… He also noted I was eligible only for direct flights and couldn’t take any of the ones connecting in Stockholm. I don’t see a point there… So I had to book airbaltic for 201 EUR.. And my flight was at 7AM.. but that was not the worst part.. After sleeping on the floor I woke up and went to the check-in desks. However, the lady there said I should go to the information desk as I do not show up on the system… Imagine that!? At the information desk I talked to a lady who called airbaltic and advised me to return back to her in 30 minutes saying I don’t have my ticket yet. “But I will be late to check-in”…”Sir, I have too many other customers, come back later”. You just got to love customer service like that. NOT! After calling airbaltic myself they confirmed my ticket. And I checked-in. It was the best feeling ever! However, when I arrived in Riga I had to wait there for 9 hours to connect and fly to Tallinn… 32 hours without proper sleeping and 24 hours in airports was bad. But I got home at least..

After sending a complaint to Skanetrafiken I have received a one day ticket for Skane region. Which is not even worth the money paid to get on that bloody train in the first place. So I would say Skanetrafiken FAIL both customer service and service recovery.

These two stories are definitely not the only ones I have. However they are the most nerve-wrecking. 

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