Friday, December 24, 2010

ARN-SEA Flight Report: Update 1: Escape from Europe!

As mentioned in my previous post, getting out of Europe over the last few days has been extremely difficult. There have been major problems with snow and ice in Heathrow (LHR) and Frankfurt (FRA), which has stranded thousands of passengers and made getting to flights, even if they are running but at a different airport basically impossible. In my case, it was a true escape from Europe situation and I am very lucky to not be stuck back in Stockholm! Here's my flight report, plus what happened to make the report possible.

I was originally supposed to be flying in to FRA, but my flight was canceled the night before. After a "quick" call on skype to Continental (CO) and the Lufthansa(LH), I was rebooked on a flight at 6a with LH. I was not looking forward to the 3:30a bus that I would need to catch to get to Arlanda (ARN), but at least I had a seat. The next day after a night bus and train to the airport, I was checked in (no baggage) and sitting down in the lounge when my flight's status went to the dreaded "Inställd" status. The flight was canceled.

There was one shot left to get to FRA, which was a SAS (SK) flight at 9am but nothing was certain at this point. If that flight flew and if I was on it, I would be able to make the connecting flight, since flights were still leaving from FRA, but nothing was landing due to ice on the runway. An even "quicker" (50 minutes on hold) call to CO later, I wasn't really any better than I started. They weren't able to get me on any flights until Friday and didn't even see that I was booked on a LH flight that morning! They canceled the segment that was on my ticket to FRA so I could check in if I got to FRA, but that was it.

I manage to get put on the SK flight to FRA, but that too soon went from "On Time" to "Nytt besked 0900", which means "New information at 0900". When that shows up, it's never good. That flight wasn't leaving anytime soon (and didn't leave until 3pm that day!).

At this point, I'm looking for options. There was a CO flight to Newark (EWR), but I couldn't get standby on that. There was a flight later in the day to Istanbul (IST), which then put me in Chicago (ORD) the next day. And finally, there was a SK flight to ORD that left in 45 minutes. The very nice agent in the lounge put me on standby for that, but had to help other people to get on the same flight so couldn't get me a spot to SEA right then. I would have to get to ORD and then figure out how to get to SEA in the end.

A dash to the gate and through border control, and now it was a waiting game. Would I get on? Continued in the next post...

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