Lesons in Travel

Tuesday Sept. 12, 2023

Spoiler alert…this is being written from Feld am See, Austria.   

Sunday and Monday: Travel from Essen to Feld am See: more “learning experiences”. 

My travel woes (and to a lesser extent those of Luisa Gouveia…we were supposed to be on the same flights) this time were created by Austrian Airlines…which cancelled our Sunday night flights to Vienna. We were then to fly Monday morning to Klagenfurt, Austria, after a hotel stayover in Vienna at an airport hotel. 

At 5:04 pm on Sunday, I got an alert that Austrian had cancelled our flight. I was rebooked onto Eurowings the next morning at 7:10am. My flight to Klagenfurt was on another itinerary. In retrospect I should have cancelled both flights and rebooked the trip as one itinerary. One lesson learned.

The hotel I’d booked in Vienna had a 48 hour cancellation. Fortunately, I booked directly with them (origininally I booked through booking.com, but changed it and it was a good thing I had)! Though they did not give me a refund, I was already planning to stay there next week for a night, so they switched the reservation to that day and cancelled my reservation for next week. It took time and writing of some emails, but all is good (thanks NH Vienna Airport).  And I had a free night at a Marriott which I used for Sunday night.  So on Sunday things seemed to be ok, though Luisa was having an issue checking into the flight to Vienna. (Maybe Luisa’s way to travel, without scheduling anything is best!)

We left Essen at 4:30 am, returned the rental car (after a couple of detours) and then the problems (for me anyway) began. 

My problem was that we now had a 45 minute transfer in Vienna (which is why I had booked the 8 pm flight to begin with, to avoid that and having to leave at 4:30 in the morning) and I had checked luggage. Eurowings would not check it through to Klagenfurt because my 9:30 flight was on Austrian…but they would check it through for Luisa as she was booked on both flights under one ticket number. (Lesson 2, Avoid Eurowings!) So why didn’t I just let Luisa check my bag though…well I had two unfortunately. Yes, overpacking killed my day. Lesson 3: quit overpacking

Luisa had issues of her own as she was unable to check in but after going to Austrian Airlines she got a ticket number and finally checked in, and as she was going carry on was able to make her flight as scheduled.  She was able to check my second bag through to Vienna though so I was not hit with any bag fees (I would not have been with with any on Austrian either…one reason for the overpacking, I flew airlines with which I had some status).

After missing my morning flight, the next flight to Klagenfurt was at 5:15 pm. Europcar,   where my car was reserved closed at 3pm, and by the time I picked up my luggage the odds of arriving in Klagenfurt airport by then looked slim. But I took the trains anyway…three of them (there were many nice people who helped lift my luggage onto trains!). The train ride by the way was pretty nice. I was in the economy class, but landed in the family section which was pretty empty, though the other cars were full, and I had two seats to myself and plenty of luggage storage. I pivoted on the train..I was booked to Villach and was going to get a pickup from there to Feld am See, but realized after looking in the OBB (Austrian train) app, that I could possibly make it to the airport by 3 pm. I arrived at the Klagenfurt train station, a few minutes late so I missed the train to the airport. However, I knew I was close to the airport, Klagenfurt is not that big. I got a taxi at 2:35 pm, asked the driver (who did not speak English) to take me to Europcar at the airport, and I arrived about 2:50..right to the small rental car center. Europcar was still open, and the car was still available (I had called multiple times to see what my options were, and Europcar answered the phone every time.) Yeah! Lesson 3: when things go wrong, pivot and don’t panic (or not for long anyway!), usually everything will work out.

I drove first to a grocery store, a Billa, to get something to eat and drink, then on to Feld am See, arriving around 4:30pm, 12 hours after leaving Essen. It was a log day but in the end it all worked out. I got a hit in with Luisa, had dinner with a couple of Brits, Pauline and Shirley, then a good night’s sleep. I play not before 10:30 this morning…off to warm up my doubles partner Karien, another player from the German team now as she plays at 9am.

Below, Luisa, Karien, and I are pictured in Feld am See.

More on the tournament later today.

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