Come Fly With Me – Part II

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In my last blogpost, I wrote that the trip to Lisbon did not start that well. That was an understatement to put it mildly. I fly a lot these days. But the problem is that only some of the airlines allow you to order assistance online at the same time as you are booking the flight. From the top of my head – Norwegian and KLM are among those. Probably more, but right now I cannot remember.

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Plane observed from under the bridge in Lisbon.

The Portugese TAP is not among the companies that will allow you to book assistance at the same time as you book the flight. So I forgot. Something which would turn out to be very very stupid…

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AT TAP CHECK-IN OSLO AIRPORT GARDERMOEN:
Me: Which seat do I have?
TAP: 24d
Me: “Wonderful!” (trying to be sarcastic without being successful)
TAP: …
Me: Do I have assistance? I’m not 100% sure.
TAP: No
Me: Can you register then? I’m sorry I must have forgotten. I’ve booked so many flights lately. And most airlines you can book assistance when you book the flight.
TAP: I don’t know what to do. Talk to my colleague!
TAP2: You are supposed to order assistance 48h before.
Me: I know. I’m sorry. I forgot. These things can happen.
TAP2 (5 min later): Nobody’s answering in Portugal. I don’t think we can allow you on the flight.
Me (with my most presidential voice): I am leading an important meeting in Lisbon. I am GOING on this flight even if I have to crawl in and out of the plane.

(35 minutes later)

TAP2: Ok, we will let you onboard. Even if we don’t have to.
Me: So do I get assistance here in Oslo?
TAP2: We cannot book that before Lisbon answers.
Me: But you just said I could board the plane? Then you must be able to book also?
TAP2: Maybe you wait here 15min longer.
Me: But then I might miss boarding?!
TAP2: Ok, well go then.
Me: Yeah, I think that’s the best.

Me (thinking): Goodbye and thank you for referring to me as “the wheelchair” and treating me like a 2nd class citizen.

Bon voyage!

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Well I got to Lisbon. Hooray hooray. The crew was actually pretty nice to me. And assistance showed up both in Oslo and in Lisbon. When I got to the arrival hall, I could not find my transport. I looked and looked to find a sign with my name on it. Then I saw Céu.

Céu: Hi Ingunn, nice to see you!

Me: Hey, nice to see you too. Are you doing the transfer yourself?

Céu: Yes, me and my husband are doing the transfers. But we cannot find the Egyptian doctor. Do you know how he looks like?

Me: No. I have no clue. But maybe Google knows? I will have an icecream while you search for him. I am not used to 27c outside. It is cold in Norway!

Turns out Google knows everything. Céu found the Egyptian doctor and his wife. And we stuffed all our belongings into her car. On our way to new adventures in Lisbon. With the UNBreakable Alliance. 😉

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After 5 days of meetings and three lovely days of holiday, I was going back with KLM via Amsterdam. And since I suspected that I might have forgotten to order assistance on these flights also – I called (48 hours in advance):

Me: Hello, this is Ingunn Westerheim calling.

KLM: Yes, hello. We see you have a flight from Lisbon to Oslo on Friday. Is that correct?

Me: Uhm, yes. How did you know? My phone number?

KLM: Exactly! How may I help you?

Me: Well, I have a wheelchair. And I think I might not have assistance on the flights. 

KLM: Now you have!

Me: Oh, ok! That was fast. And you booked WCHC? Because I cannot walk to the seat.

KLM: Everything in order!

Me: Ok, thank you then (that was the most efficient phone call ever)

 

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Fast forward 48 hours:

CHECK-IN LISBON AIRPORT

Me: Which seat do I have?

KLM: 11F

Me: Oh, I cannot walk that far. Good that I have assistance!

KLM: Yes, but you don’t have assistance to the seat?

Me: What, seriously? I called you 2 days ago to order it.

KLM: You only have WCHS.

Me (thinking): Cannot believe this is happening again! 

KLM2: Are you sure you booked WCHC?

Me: Yes, I even asked twice to be sure I had the right assistance.

KLM2: Ok, ok…here’s what we have to do. $”#%#&

KLM1: Ok, here is your boarding pass. We will make sure you have assistance in Lisbon. But we cannot guarantee Amsterdam. You have to apply 48 hours before.

Me: Yes, yes…I know the drill. I will talk to the people on the flight.

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Problem was. The flight was delayed. And delayed. So we landed in Amsterdam around one hour behind schedule. And I had originally 1,5 hour between flights. Assistance came fast however (although after all the other people in a hurry left of course).

Me: I’m in a hurry!

Assistance: Oh, we know!

Me: And my next flight is in terminal D. Now we are in terminal B, right?

Assistance: Yes, it is quite a distance. You must wheel through the whole airport. We have to hurry! Are you ready?

Me: I am (take a deep breath).

Assistance (on the walke talkie): Aha. Uhm. Ok. I will tell her.

Assistance: Your luggage will not make it to the next flight. You still want to go to Oslo?

Me (while setting a new speed record with a wheelchair): Phew! Oh yes, be damned sure I want to go to Oslo! 

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Still summer in Lisbon.

To make it even more complicated, the plane was a KLM Cityhopper. And for some reason the liftcar does not seem to fit those planes. So the helpers came with a stairclimber. To make a long story short – I refused. Last time I used a stairclimber at an airport, I felt my vertebrae turning into dust. There was no way I was going to use this means of torture to enter the plane.

Me: Carry me on the arm, please!

Assistance 2: But we are not allowed to do that!

Me: But I am only 30 kilos (ok, I withdrew 4…am I really bad?)

Assistance 2: But security reasons…

Me: Well, I am not entering the plane in that thing. It will hurt my back. And you carried me last time I had to board a Cityhopper in Amsterdam. I will not sue you.

Assistance 2: Promise?

Me: I promise (but I will blog about it).

So there I was, being carried on the arm into a full plane. And the poor guy had to hold me for quite a while, because there was a discussion about seating, handluggage…God knows! But I finally made it to seat 11F, that had suddenly changed to 8F (yeah…that helped a lot!)

So…after 1,5 hour, I landed in Oslo. No luggage. But then I had even more room to carry wine from the tax free. Always look on the bright side of life, eh? Not that funny that my socks and jacket were left in the luggage in Amsterdam. And in Oslo it was only zero degrees compared to Lisbon’s 20c. But…at least I was home. I was allowed to board all flights (however not without obstacles). And with more action points to put on my paranoia list.

Until next time. Bon Voyage & remember to put your socks in the hand luggage!

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