12.11.2015 - 12.11.2015
Finally time for my next long journey. But the preparations have been anything but calm last week, thanks to the strike by Lufthansa cabin personnel and major problems with the train track just north of Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (unsurprisingly).
Lufthansa strike had already lasted six days and that my flight to Frankfurt in the morning was cancelled was 99% sure. Luckily, I had read about the strike and followed on internet and TV news right from day 1 and was therefore early on by double-book a flight ticket with another airline (before all other passengers did the same). Fully refundable of course in unlikely event the strike would be called off and the Lufthansa flight would departure after all. Only option available that suited the flight from Frankfurt to Fortaleza, Brazil, was with AirBerlin from Stockholm-Arlanda via Berlin. Unfortunately with very short stop-over in Berlin. Well. What was I suppose do? Cancel the whole trip because of the strike by cabin staff at Lufthansa? Never!
And the train problematic then? Well, yesterday’s gear fault north of Arlanda had stopped all rail traffic to Arlanda and on to Stockholm and the passengers had to take replacement busses. Some long-distance trains had been canceled completely. But it purported to be fixed now… but you can’t trust that *sigh* So I had phoned near and dear one’s and guard myself having someone able to drive me by car to Arlanda with short notice in case of canceled train. Well, SJ… do I need to say more???
Today, during morning, I received the expected text-message that my Lufthansa flight was canceled and I could now focus on flying with AirBerlin instead. And the money spent on the flight with Lufthansa was going to be refunded, every penny. Finished packing my suitcases and went downstairs to wait for the train taxi. Hmm. The longer I stood there waiting the more I started thinking; “What if the taxi doesn’t show up?!” That was the next anxiety, a taxi no-show. But the taxi showed up in time and I could take a breather. The train was at the platform, but the cleaning staff wasn’t done yet so all passengers had to wait outside. Once aboard the train I could sit down at my seat in the quiet department. Little butterflies in my stomach though, because you never know with SJ. If something can go wrong - it will - and therefore it is best to take the train to Arlanda the night before your flight. But knocking on wood… the train arrived in Uppsala problem-free and rolled out from the platform towards Arlanda.
Suddenly the train braked quickly into a complete stop and it got completely silent. What the hell?! No, no, no. Not now… the train was so close to Arlanda that I could even walk, if necessarily. After a while the train driver announced there was “machine failure” and that he would try to restart the train. The train was left standing a while during restart. Eventually the train started to slowly roll again. It took about more 10 minutes until the train stopped at Arlanda C and I could ride the escalator up to Sky City. Went straight to Forex Bank and collected the preordered amount of Brazilian currency Real that waited for me there. The scent of brand new bills and holding wrinkle-free money felt luxurious. You also know that they are non-counterfeit money when withdrawn from the bank brand new. Then I took my suitcases one floor up and bought a Chicken McWrap. Looked and found bus stop no. 7 for transfer to Best Western Hotel in Arlanda Hotellby. My bus transfer back to Arlanda was leaving at 5am tomorrow morning so I had to get into bed as soon as possible.
So what have I learned from all this? Well, will avoid Lufthansa as much as possible in the future. Only this year Lufthansa has gone on strike several times, and I’ve been affected twice directly or indirectly by that. So sorry Lufthansa…