First World Problems

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Yesterday at around 8:30 in the morning I started my trip to Seattle to attend the Microsoft Edge Web Summit. Right before I got on the train, I got notified, that my Air Berlin flight to New York, where I’d have to change planes, was cancelled (I booked this flight before they announced their insolvency). I upgraded my flight to business class as I have plenty of miles still with Air Berlin – god knows what that is worth these days or in the future. I called their hotline and they were able to get me on a British Airways flight that was leaving at the same time, but was getting me to Seattle earlier and was via London Heathrow. So I thought I was lucky in the end and would enjoy my upgraded flight with British Airways now.

I was waiting for my flight to LHR to depart at 10:50, but then they said, due to a technical check we’d have to wait another 20 minutes. Ok, I thought, 20 minutes is not bad, as I had a long layover at LHR anyways. My flight to Seattle was at 15:30 (16:30 my time in Düsseldorf). About 20 minutes after the announcement was made, the captain of the plane came out and spoke to us. She said, that a wheel got a cut, when they started in London and the tire had to be changed. The tire was changed already (quick, isn’t it?), but when the wheel burst, a small piece must have hit the wing of the plane and caused a dent on the wing. They now had to do paperworks to have an engineer look at the photos and give the ok that they could fly this plane with the dent.

About an hour and a half later she came out again and said, that the first engineer gave the ok, but they needed a second one to also review this to be on the safe side and this paper work always needs quite some time to be written and also read. By this time I still was sure to maybe catch my Seattle flight. I, though, checked the following flight at 14:00 for seats already. One seat was open in this one, as in the morning the first BA flight was cancelled due to bad weather. I had a bad feeling, but still hoped to catch my flight.

Some time later the captain came out again and said they would be ok to go – people applauded – but that the start would need about another 30 minutes to an hour. It was past 13:00 already (12:00 in the UK).

About 13:40 we finally started boarding and chances were small, that I catch my flight. The 14:00 landed in Düsseldorf already, but it was clear, that this machine would leave even after us and the one seat that was left before, was taken now anyways. Around 14:40 we finally took off. 13:40 in the UK and my flight was at 15:30. Usually a flight to LHR ist about 1 to 1,5 hours from DUS. So still: a very small chance I make it. I was discussing chances with the flight attendance, who was doing a fantastic job btw. and it was not looking good as this was one of the longer flights to LHR. We landed at 15:17 UK time and I was hoping that the Seattle flight maybe was delayed, as LHR often has delays. It was not. Bummer.

If I’d been 15 minutes earlier, I might have gotten my flight. But now I was stuck at LHR and went to the service desk. They had a few options, but none that would have gotten me in on the same day, so it was sure, I’d miss part of the Microsoft event. One flight leaving the same day but via Calgary > Vacouver (with a 6 hour layover in the night, no lounge would be open and no hotel, so I’d have to sleep somewhere in the waiting hall) > Seattle. I’d have arrived at 8:00 in the morning in Seattle to then rush to the event and I guess I’d have been crazy tired. Another options was to stay at LHR as BA would put me into a hotel and then to take a Virgin Atlantic flight at 13:20, which is the first direct connection to Seattle. That brings me in around 15:00 and I sadly miss more than half of the event, but at least I gonna make it and see Kyle and Chris and other people I’d like to meet. Another benefit is, that I never flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and also never the newer Dreamliner. So I am kind of looking forward to this. While writing this all, I am sitting in the Virgin Atlantic Club House lounge and am waiting for boarding.

I mean, yes, this was a lousy trip so far, but you know, seeing the positive things in this is what makes it better: the dent on the wind could have been not seen and maybe would have been too bad to fly and I prefer to better be safe than sorry, I have to say. I also am going to make a new flight experience maybe. But while sitting here and thinking this all through, I was thinking about my damn first world problem. I have seen on the tickets, how much the rebooking to BA and then to Virgin did cost – no idea if the airlines actually pay this, but that, I guess was the ticket prices that I’d have had to pay in case I really booked it. Also I have seen how crowded the lounges at DUS and BA’s lounge at LHR, as well as the Virgin Club Houser now are and I can just imagine how much money this all is. And then I felt bad.

I mean yes, I had a bad day, but that is nothing. All the money that is sitting here, the free food and drinks I got over the last two days: I do not actually need this. I am just stranded on a trip to Seattle and not suffering from not having anything to eat or even plain water to drink. I got vouchers for three meals in the hotel, visited three lounges. All with free food and drinks. And yes of course that is nice to enjoy. In the first place. But I can’t help, but feel bad about all this if I look at the world and how it is these days. So I am sorry to be lucky like this. I’d have to look at what I can do to help more, I think. We are doing small things already with my family, but there must be more that can be effectively done without having the small amounts of money we can donate without being deflagrated in bureaucratic things. I will definitely look into this.

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Yiying Lu

Same here, just got back from Freiburg to SFO. Originally flying from Basel > LHR > SFO but first flight had a major delay because of the French Strike - luckily the British Airline put me on…

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