Obstacles, part I

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Schipol Airport

I had difficulty sleeping last night. I think that as excited as I was to return, I also had great apprehension. I had put out of my mind, the mugging, for the most part but as I lay down to sleep, it was all I could think about. I didn’t want my time in Palermo to be unpleasant but, didn’t feel that I could prevent it from being tense.


When I awakened, Rob was already up and in his usual spot on the couch with the computer in his lap. He wished me a good morning. I prepared a breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and muesli, and sat down beside him. We watched the season finale of a TV favorite, Eureka.


Now it was time to get into gear.

We have no flight but, Rob smiles for me.
We wanted to leave for the airport around noon for our 2:15 pm flight. We had a good hour and a half, no problem. We had packed last night except for toiletries and all necessary paperwork was printed out. This just left showering and getting to Centraal Station to catch the train to Schipol as the only things left on the checklist.


Rob had showered and was zipping up things into the suitcase. I was in the shower when he ran in and yelled at me that the flight was to take off at 12:25, not 2:15. It was now 11:20. We were in trouble. I raced to get finished and ready as fast as I could. Rob called a taxi service (very expensive) to get us to the airport faster. We were in a panic.


The taxi arrived, we got in and explained the urgency, and off we went on a Saturday in Amsterdam, trying to get to the airport.

Finally taking off
The fare was to be 35 euro, 5 more than the last time we used this service. At the first traffic light, Rob tried to pay the driver with a 50 and a 5 euro bill. He seemed confused about what we were trying to accomplish. Rob took the 5 back and just told him to give him 10 euro back. So, now we’ve paid 40 euro for the ride.


The driver then told us of a story where a passenger told him that he would pay him 50 euro if he could get him to the airport in 10 minutes. He said that he made the trip in 9 minutes. Rob jokingly said to him that he would pay more if he could achieve that, today. The driver did drive fast but, in no way did we make it to Schipol in 10 minutes.


We get out and race into the terminal and find the check in within a couple of minutes.

See you in 10 days, Amsterdam.
By this time, it is 11:55 am. We try to check in with the assistance of one girl, when another approached and told her that we could not check in. We pleaded with her to please call and try as we would really be in trouble if they said no. This airline (Windjet) only flies to Palermo twice a week, on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The second girl was quite unpleasant and not really wanting to help us get this resolved. She even told us that the flight had few passengers. I told her that that was even more reason that she should make an extra effort to help the passengers that you do have, to promote repeat business in this tough economy. All she did was reprimand us about our responsibility to be on time. We explained that we understood that but, sometimes things happen that cause a problem. How that problem is solved is what is important. She told us that we could go to a different airline and buy another ticket. I was furious at her attitude and lack of customer service. The plane was still at the gate and not scheduled to leave for 25 minutes. NO, its was! I have little patience for people that don’t go to the extra effort when I choose to spend my money with them. So, I got a bit mean with her. It may seem over the top but, I don’t regret it. I told her that in this current economic climate flexibility with the customers that you DO have was very important.  I also told her that with this type of customer service, I hoped her airline went out of business and she lost her job. I had paid for a service from Windjet. I would have hoped since they accepted my money then they would do what it took to retain my business for further travel. They have lost my business and with flights that have few passengers, it’s only a matter of time.


That’s enough of my rant, my apologies.


So, from here we found the KLM , Alitalia ticket counter. There was a terrible line. We picked a number 757 and they were one 705. Rob was so upset, he was sweating. I told him that it might actually be quicker if we got on the internet and searched as we had his computer with us. In minutes, we were searching. I went to Skyscanner and quickly found a Transavia flight leaving at 12:55 for Palermo and it was direct. We raced to the Transavia counter, in the next terminal. The ticketing agent then tells us that the flight is closed. We asked that she please try as internet ticketing agents we still selling seats for this flight. She repeated that she could do nothing. She then told us that she had a flight to Catania that evening. Rob wanted to consider other options. So we walked away but, before we got too far, I told him that the price was good and the possibility of getting to anywhere in Sicily, today, other than this was probably either not possible or terribly expensive. I told him that we should buy the tickets now. He proceeded with the purchase while I searched for a rental car as I suggested that we drive from Catania to Palermo that night after the flight. I secured a car for us to pick up at the Catania airport and return to the Palermo airport on Sunday morning.


Rob returned, tickets purchased, and we both sat on a bench feeling nauseous. Rob had purchased 90minutes of internet time so we both checked email and then just sat there for a bit.


Around 2:00 pm we decided to go ahead and check our bag in and search for food and walk around the shops at Schipol, fun, fun, fun.


This filled our time until boarding at 6:35 pm and by 7:15 pm, we were finally off the ground and headed south. The flight was pretty uneventful. We had picked up sandwiches, chips, and drinks to eat on the plane, so we had those shortly after take off. Rob read and I tried to read but, was just upset by the day’s events and the stress of the upcoming events, driving across Sicily to Palermo, late at night. We knew it would at least be 1:00 am before getting to the guesthouse.

sarahsan says:
Congratulation on getting your travel blog featured. Great blog!
Posted on: Oct 10, 2009
world-traveller123 says:
Good Feature.
Posted on: Oct 10, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
I love your writing...and what adventures! Congratulations on your feature today, Brian!
Posted on: Oct 10, 2009
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Schipol Airport
Schipol Airport
We have no flight but, Rob smiles …
We have no flight but, Rob smiles…
Finally taking off
Finally taking off
See you in 10 days, Amsterdam.
See you in 10 days, Amsterdam.
photo by: pearcetoyou