This was my view today for five hours.
At 7 am the Copenhagen Airport is a madhouse. I was heading to Greenland to kayak. Then didn’t.
Air Greenland spat back my request for a baggage tag, and informed me that I didn’t have a reservation. Neither my passport nor my locator number worked.
I had four hours. Plenty of timel. A young man said with great confidence, “You’ll be heading out today.”
He was wrong.
Someone, somewhere along the way, mis-entered payment information. A ticket was never purchased. As far as Air Greenland was concerned, I wasn’t on this trip.
So there I was from 7:30 am until nearly 1 pm struggling to understand what had happened to the core adventure of my whole trip to Scandinavia: kayaking in Greenland. Air Greenland insisted I hadn’t paid. I showed my receipt, nearly two grand for the whole trip, airfare included. Each successive agent insisted that I speak with my outfitter. Of course I couldn’t, it was 5 am in Greenland.
Finally the agents told me that I had to pony up $700 for the ticket to get to Greenland or that was it. I had twenty minutes to make the flight. I refused. First, I couldn’t know if I’d be reimbursed. Second, my insurance might not pay me back. Third, I needed to clear it with my outfitter. Besides, I knew the airfare had been paid for.
I refused. But I stayed. Booked a hostel for one night. The flight took off without me. The agents went upstairs.
I realized I’d need an insurance letter to get reimbursed for the lost trip and flight. So I hauled my bag upstairs to their offices. While I waited, a manager said they’d been able to reach my outfitter.
And oh, by the way. Yes. The flight had been paid for (no duh). They’d send me out tomorrow. I’d miss about 18 hours of adventure.
I’d stay in this nice hotel, have three nice meals, a chance to completely repack my bag, shave my legs, wash my hair, do some writing and otherwise get myself in order. Not bad.
After being crammed like stinky sardines four to a shoebox in a hostel, unable to see at 5 am.
So was the $500 We’re sorry we kicked your tush off the plane by mistake payment.
I never got angry. Nor did I particularly worry. Air Greenland was quite embarrassed about it all.
But they were also happy I hadn’t gotten nasty. I had simply sat down and waited.
I knew several things had to happen: we’d fix it/I’d lose the trip/I’d have to find something else to do for the next two weeks. Getting angry didn’t fix anything, except make folks resent having to do anything for or with you.
Travel has taught me a lot about changing direction in mid-stream. It doesn’t make it easy, it makes it easier.
So now I’m shaved, my socks are clean, my hair shines, my backpack is reorganized, I’ve eaten a gourmet meal. I’m caught up on writing.
What a nice way to begin a new adventure.