Saturday, April 17, 2010

Travel Frustration

Not a politics post this time - just a brain dump of what's happened over the last 48 hours or so.

Having booked flights in January for around &euro400, the missus and I were all set to fly out to San Francisco, through Heathrow this morning to hit Drupalcon and then have a week cruising around visiting various people and places in California. Sounds like a pretty nice break from work and dreary old Ireland.

Then Thursday morning news started coming out about the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano that was drifting towards the Europe. Within hours all flights in UK airspace had been grounded, followed by Ireland and several countries in Northern Europe. I phoned United, our carrier for the long haul flight and they informed me that the Friday flight from LHR to SFO was canceled. However, having booked through an online agency, eBookers, I would have to go through them to make alternative arrangements.

After 30 minutes on hold, if finally got through to an eBookers agent on the phone. After some investigation, it turned out that the earliest we could be re-scheduled for was 26th April, by which time the conference would be well over. The alternative was a full refund of the fares paid in January which was the only realistic option for us to take. Going online to see what travel plans could be facilitated by other carriers, it turned out that return flights leaving today and returning at the bank holiday weekend would set us back between €1500 and €2000 per head - not exactly good value for money.

So that's it. California is canceled. No Drupalcon, no Monterey, no visiting Casey and Eric. All because of a stupid volcano. Sometimes the planet has a knack of getting in the way of life. Thank you Earth!

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