Saturday, April 07, 2007

Day 1: Sometimes travel just sucks

It actually started before I even left Tallinn. Estravel (greetings!) could not confirm my flights until one working day before the departure. Oh well. When they were eventually confirmed, it turned out the only way to get to Washington from Tallinn was to go through London and change airports. Luckily enough, they had left plenty of time for that. Eight hours to be precise. Last year I flew Tallinn-San Francisco repeatedly through Frankfurt with the whole trip taking just 16 hours. To be fair, they also offered an alternative route using Finnair, but that company is liable to loose your baggage about 80% of the cases (an observation most of the people in the office share) so I chose not to.

Anyway, the next step was booking a hotel. Turns out the only way to stay in Washington is to change hotels, too. Oh well.

Having digested all that I figured that an upgrade to business class using the points on my EuroBonus card would sweeten the plot up. Not so. Turns out you can only do that when a) you fly SAS b) they have free places in business class c) for some reason they also have more supplies available than the passengers need (why would anybody do that?). So economy it is.

Being pretty much in peace with the situation, I arrived at the airport in an ungodly hour. To be greeted by a sign at the Estravel office that stated that due to the Eastern they would not open before two hours after my plain has left. A few panic-laden phone calls later (sorry, Triin!) I was given my tickets and could finally get some shuteye on the plane.

The take-off did not wake me. However, a Russian company occupying two rows right in front of me decided that the best thing to do 7AM on a Saturday morning is to drink cognac and have a jolly loud good time all over the plane. Which indeed woke me.

Arriving at Gatwick I figured the safest thing to do is to find a way to get to Heathrow and settle down there. The next coach would leave in 40 minutes and take an hour an twenty minutes to get there. A quick calculation (30 minutes Gatwick Express, 20 minutes tube, 15 minutes Heathrow Express from Paddington) yielded a promising chance of some quality photography in Hyde Park with not much more time spent. Not so. Turns out there is nowhere to leave your suitcase in the Paddington station. So much for photography and soon I was on my way to Heathrow.

So here I am, waiting for the check-in to start, sitting in a Cafe Nero that charged me 10 pounds for a coffee, sandwich, yogurt and cookie, writing this post in a good hope that there is a turn for better somewhere around the corner.

1 comment:

Laazik said...

I have 100% failure rate on the Finnair flights, which makes this my most unfavourite airline company. Comeon, twice on one trip, on my way to Tokyo and on my way back from Tokyo :S... not to mention other times :|