Aw, hecks. The evening took a strange turn, starting maybe seven hours ago. I got invested in researching travel restrictions, since I’m going to Prague in two-and-a-half weeks. First, I went to the airline’s site and entered my destinations, including layover areas, to get advice for what I need to have with me, like proof of vaccination, etc.
It said that Brussels isn’t letting anyone in who’s coming from a non-Schengen state and going to a Schengen state. I had to quickly research that, and my reaction was, oops. Problem.
I tried to call justfly, the site where I booked the flight, but it was too hard to get anyone on the phone, so I called the airline.
The nice woman researched it for me and said I’m exempt because I’m fully vaccinated. Whew. I told her I was going to get tested for coronavirus in case anyone anywhere requested such test results during the travel process, and she told me not to bother.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes. Since you’re fully vaccinated, you needn’t bother with the tests.”
I felt immense relief, but then something odd happened. I was still on the airline’s site, looking to see what paperwork I needed, and it said I needed an entry form for Brussels. (I’ve already filled one out and printed it for Prague.) Odd, I thought, since Brussels was simply my layover destination between here and Prague (as well as Washington, DC in the US).
Hmm. In fact, having uploaded my trip number as given from justfly, the airline was displaying that I was vacationing in Brussels, as though it was my final destination. They had the return flight accurate, though.
I contacted someone online at the airline’s site. “Call this number,” she said. The phone number she gave went to a travel agency in California. What the freak?
“Well, I’m just concerned that you’ve got my flight entered wrong,” I said. “Is everything all right?”
“Let me check…”
“Sure,” I replied.
“Oh,” she said. “Yeah, that flight from Brussels to Prague was canceled. You should contact the company you bought the ticket from.”
And I was like, WHAT?! Was anyone going to tell me?! Why did this happen?
(I think my biggest fear at this point is that I’ll show up at the Louisville airport and they won’t let me on the plane, for whatever screwed-up reason.)
I called justfly again and insisted on getting someone on the phone. The justfly employee seemed inept. She kept pronouncing the “s” in Louisville and calling Prague “Praggy”. Yeah. Cute, though.
She told me that the only alternative was to arrive in Brussels at 7:50 AM and then depart to Praggy (HA HA HA HA!) at 4:15 PM. I went along with this, and it was arranged (or sent to the airlines pending their approval), but once I got off the phone, I had a freakout, of which my stalwart father was the recipient.
“I can’t spend eight hours in Brussels!” I lamented. “Whatever will I do for eight hours?”
He tried to make suggestions. Meanwhile, I was peeved because I’d checked justfly, and they had nicer flights available in my same price range (read: economy) that had two-hour layovers. None of that eight-hour stuff.
My dad and I took a walk, during which I blew off some steam. He tried to convince me to take a train.
“I can’t take a train! My luggage is going to Prague! How will I get back into the airport to get it? And do I look like I can find a train station in a foreign country? Spoiler alert: I can’t. And I don’t even know which language they speak. And who’s heard of Belgium, anyway? Is it really a country? What if they only serve Brussel sprouts? Help!”
“Belgian waffles,” he pointed out. I groaned.
When we got home, I determinedly called the Praggy lady back. I told her I wanted to cancel the flight and rebook.
“But we already agreed upon this! We must wait to hear back from the airline,” she insisted.
“Will the airline know that I want to cancel at this point?”
She hemmed and hawed, and I suspected she didn’t want to let me cancel, because she wasn’t giving me straight (or coherent–and I was wearing my hearing aids) answers. I finally strong-armed her into letting me cancel, saying that although I’d agreed to the eight-hour layover earlier, it wasn’t my fault that the flight was canceled, and I wanted to just rebook. I didn’t add that I felt she’d peer-pressured me into agreeing to the extended layover.
She agreed to the cancellation, and now I have to wait a day or so to hear from the airline. Under the circumstances, I’m expecting and hoping for a full refund.
(Seriously, was anyone going to alert me to the canceled flight?! I don’t even want to know.)
So, that taken care of, I got some junk food. My stress levels required some honey-mustard Pringles. I’m sure you all understand. I managed to talk myself down from the Little-Debbie-Zebra-Cake ledge, though.
I’m thinking I’m going to buy a new ticket tomorrow. This gives me the rare opportunity to rethink the specific travel times and dates. I’ll throw the opportunity toward Sonya, too, if she wants me to come sooner or later, etc., etc. I’m showing unexpected forsight in not immediately buying a replacement ticket, because you never know what I’ll dream up between now and tomorrow about how to perfect the travel dates. (And looking online, there are plenty of tickets available in my budget that have reasonable layovers.)
(But this time, I’m booking directly from the airline. Justfly has just flown.)
So, yeah, I’ve been stressed for around seven hours now. But, that’s not a huge deal. Like I said, my main concern is just getting there. I think I’m golden, but who the freak knows? On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the unpredictability of my life. If the trip is adventuresome yet grueling, great. But if I come home from the airport instead of taking off, ugh. I’ll be so antsy that I might literally try to walk (and swim!) to Prague.
Oh… Super! Mr. Kitty just brought a mouse up here. I shrieked worse than if I were on fire, and Mr. Kitty ran for it. The mouse got dropped and ran away, but then LuLu tried to get him. I think the mouse escaped to the basement, where Mr. Kitty is lying in wait. Darned kitten wouldn’t come when I called him, so he’s probably in predatory mode. (Mr. Kitty usually comes when he’s called like an obedient kitten.)
“He’s staying in the basement,” my dad explained. “He’s mad at you.”
Hmmph. I’m the injured party here. Well… maybe the mouse is.
Talk about your stressful evenings! Mr. Kitty should stay in the basement. That bad kitty!!
Now, Meg, you know he’s trying to make you feel better. He could tell you were stressed, so he brought you some food. Fresh nourishment, Meg! Mr. Kitty loves you!
Oh, dear. I could’ve done without that inner commentary. Thanks a lot, inner voice. Okay, now I’m feeling ill. But… fair enough. I’ll forgive the cat.
Oh, okay. Mr. Kitty’s back up here now. He appears to be hunting. That’s better than the alternative.