Friday, April 17, 2009

Missed flight, business class

Greetings from over the Atlantic Ocean. I'm writing this blog post from KLM Flight 0605 from Amsterdam to San Francisco in Business class! But, before I write about my business class experience, I should explain my tweet about "missing my flight".

It all started with me booking a one-way award ticket in business class from Tel Aviv to San Francisco via Amsterdam. The ticket was booked for April 16th at 5:05 am local time. Those with a keen eye will notice that that's exactly when I posted my tweet about missing the flight. I did not make the flight for the simple reason I was sure I was booked on the April 17th flight, the one I'm on board right now.

The mix-up occurred due to an "off by one" error in copying the ticket information into Google Calendar. Since I was in the Pacific time zone I had to enter all time information in PDT, which is 10 hours earlier than Tel Aviv time, and 9 hours earlier than Amsterdam time. I did the math correctly, but neglected to adjust the date, thus adding the flight on Apr 16th at 7:05pm PDT instead of Apr 15th.

From that point onward, I did not look at my ticket until I was about to check in, what I believed was 26 hours before departure. I went to KLM's check-in site, selected the flight path and the date and was surprised to see my ticket was not found. After looking up the ticket itself I realized that my booked flight is departing in two hours, while I'm at least a two hour drive from the airport, and my bags are not packed.

I called KLM Platinum reservations and they said that I'd have to book a new ticket, but they could cancel my existing ticket (and hopefully refund the miles and taxes paid). They recommended I call Flying Blue the next morning when they are available.

I didn't want to wait till the next morning and tried calling the local airport, which was checking in my flight at that time. I got no answer. Then, I decided to try to call the US Flying Blue line, but it was already after 8pm on the east coast, so they too were not available. 5 am passed, and I didn't have a ticket.

Then I came across the idea to call the Flying Blue center in a different timezone. I called Flying Blue Japan and they were happy to assist me. It turns out there was one award ticket left, in Business class, for the flight on the 17th. I booked that ticket.

Fast forward to the next day, and I boarded the first flight (TLV-AMS). It seems I would have been upgraded if I had an economy ticket as economy was full (as usual). The flight had a slight delay but my connection was fine. At Amsterdam, I went to the new lounge, took a shower, went online, and made a few phone calls.

About an hour later, I got tricked again by the flight information screens displaying my flight as ``Boarding''. I went to the gate, quickly passed security and realized no one has yet boarded the aircraft. After nervously waiting for about 20 minutes, a delay was announced, then another one, and we finally started boarding 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time, and departed over an hour late. We should make up for some of the lost time in the air.

Now, for the business class experience. I'm seated at row 77, which is the upper deck exit row on the 747. It's about 4 hours into the flight and I haven't yet left the upper deck, and rarely left my seat, which turns into an almost flat bed that's pretty comfy and sleepable. I spent the beginning of the flight sleeping (and eating the pretty good food) and then watched some shows on the IFE system, which is kinda old, but reasonable. I'm writing this on my laptop connected to the in-flight AC power.

Arrived safely at SFO, and posting this from the airport hotel.  That's all for now. Sorry for not blogging more, but you can always follow me on Twitter!

3 comments:

  1. Calling in a different time zone! You smart cookie, you!

    But, you are home now, but are hanging out at SFO? Why?

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  2. Well, I'm glad to see you are one of the few who has had a good experience with Flying Blue....With the recent devaluation of their program as of April 1st, 2009, many of us frequent flyers of Flying Blue are leaving their program! In my opinion, I truly love flying with Air France, but simply, their Flying Blue program lost my business! There is a petition of around 750+ Flying Blue member (FlyerTalk.com) that are not at the very least happy with Flying Blue....Which I will assume there will be a loss of several thousand tickets flying with Air France.

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  3. Bottom line, I didn't understand from your post if you managed to get the miles/taxes back for the flight you have missed?

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