Sunday, January 04, 2009

Travel Adventures from the US to Sweden

After a brief Christmas hiatus in the US I am back. But not before a bit of travel adventure. As usual. Because who wants an uneventful flight? Not this guy.

I should have known when I my alarm woke me up at 4:45 in the morning. And I remembered a dream. Which in and of itself is quite rare for me. However, this was no ordinary dream. Because I was being given an alias. Maybe I was running from someone. Maybe I was going undercover. I don’t know. I do know that either my subconscious is just not very creative, or I’m just weird. Because my name? Hershey Pants. Which resulted in my subconscious dream me rolling on the ground laughing at the obvious connotations. In case you were wondering, no, I did not poop myself. Come on now.

So a strange start to the morning. But I made it to the airport in time. I got on the plane in time. Everything was going smoothly. Hell, I even got to sit next to a pretty girl. Unfortunately, said pretty girl smelled a bit of booze at 8:30 in the morning and started the flight by asking me if I had a barf bag in my seat pocket. She wasn’t feeling well. Awesome. She kind of passed out. I was ok with that. I quietly read my book and left her alone. Then she woke up. And promptly asked me if I could get up. She ran to the bathroom, or in Canadian, “washroom.” She came back looking haggard and freshly puked out. She was. She told the flight attendant she had the flu. Awesome. Again.

She passed out again. I continued reading. She woke up once more and asked me to get up. It was round two. She ran to the back. Threw up. Returned to her seat. She looked a bit better now. And was a bit more talkative. It was this talkativeness that saw her confide in me. She had been on vacation. She had been out drinking in Phoenix until two in the morning. Her flight left at 5:30. She didn’t have the flu. She was drunk. Or hung over. Or she might have gone through both phases as we sat there. Which made me so very happy.

Luckily, we arrived in Calgary early. About a half hour early. I breezed through customs. I went to claim my luggage. One of my bags came right away. The other was a bit slower. So I waited. And waited. And finally heard an announcement, all bags from Denver have arrived. Which was clearly a lie. Because I was missing a bag. And not the bag that I wouldn’t really have minded losing. I went through the claims process. No big deal. I couldn’t really do anything about it. The bags were checked all the way through to Stockholm so I wasn’t too horribly worried.

I continued on to get my boarding pass. But, clearly the world was laughing at Hershey Pants. I was told that while I was confirmed to Stockholm, I didn’t have a seat assignment. And the flight was overbooked. And there were plenty of people who had missed connections due to bad weather in Toronto. I was told I would probably make it on the flight. With a caveat. I might have to spend the night in Calgary. O Canada.

I called my old man to bitch and moan. Because at some point I think I need to accept that flying might not be for me. What with the adventures that I usually have. But, the old man, having flown more than any man should, had advice. I went to the customer service and started rattling off cities and airports I was willing to fly to in order to get to Stockholm. Frankfurt. Copenhagen. Helsinki. Oslo. Nothing doing though. I was told to wait. Sorry.

I ended up getting on the flight. They called me up to the gate with about 20 minutes to spare before takeoff. The flight went as any transatlantic flight does. Slowly. Broken up by food service. Intermittent sleep. Movies. Reading. Music. Anything to make the time go by.

But I arrived in London. My first point of business was an easy one. I wanted to find my luggage. I went to customer service at SAS in hopes of getting some information about my bag. I was told that SAS at London Heathrow Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, did not have a baggage tracking system.

Fine. I killed time. Ate a classic English breakfast. Bacon. Sausage. Blood pudding. Eggs. Mushrooms. Felt like shit for a bit afterwards but made it through. Finally, after about four hours in London, I boarded my final flight.

I arrived in Stockholm, no worse for the wear. Although still sans bag. Turns out my bag was in London. Probably at the same time I was. Just hanging out. At first I was incredibly annoyed by all of this. But then, as I was walking to the train, and then to my apartment, I felt quite blessed not to be dragging an extra bag with me.

Welcome to Sweden. Here I am. Back again. 30 hours after leaving Colorado.

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  1. Good story, Hairy, and I suggest never booking a flight that goes through Heathrow. I avoid it, even if I have to pay more.

    I'll be leaving San Francisco for Stockholm in 5 days and will fly through Frankfurt. Much Better, for a variety of reasons.

    Please get Sthlm warmed up before I arrive.

    Oh yeah--better you should have sat next to the boozy lady than the very large people I sometimes have been jammed next to. Oj!



  2. Oh Frankfurt... so much beter than London.

    I'll try to warm this place up but I make no guarantees. It is frigid.

    Good luck with the travels!

  3. Floridian in FinlandJanuary 11, 2009 at 4:44 AM

    Wow, seems like a lot of connections. Why not Stockholm -> NYC -> Denver?

    SAS is tons better than most American airlines. At least they have some level of customer service when things go wrong. Unlike my recent experience with Delta last month.

  4. I was flying on frequent flyer miles. hence the horrible connections.

    I will say though that SAS is by far the airline that I have had the absolute worst experiences with. especially in terms of customer service. numerous times too. in fact, the last three times I have flown with them has been pretty horrible.