Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Return Journey

It has been a week since I reached Bangalore.

The whole tour was a very memorable one except few hiccups here and there. Of course, you already know about the lost camera( ouch, that hurts!). But I think the return journey from San Francisco to Bangalore is one of the horrifying experinces I ever had. So the following is an account of my return journey:

I was supposed to fly by British Airways from San Francisco at 4:30 on 2nd June,2006, reach Heathrow at 11:00 AM on 3rd June, 2006 and then take the connecting flight (British Airways) to Bangalore at 14:05 on 3rd June,2006. But when I reached the San Francisco airport, I found that the flight was delayed by 5 hours. So the flight would be at 9:30 PM instead of 4:30 PM. The British Airways staff said that they would put me on Virgin Atlantic till Heathrow as the flight was delayed. So they asked me to check in at Virgin Atlantic counter. But the Virgin Atlantic people told me that they would not do a through check in till Bangalore as British Airways had not asked them to do so. So I ran back to the British Airways counter to clarify on this. They insisted that I fly by Virgin Atlantic so that I would not miss the connecting flight at Heathrow. They said that I would have to re-check in my luggage at Heathrow. I did not think it was practical because I would have only 2 hours at Heathrow. But then the British Airways staff insisted on this. So I agreed to fly by Virgin Atlantic to Heathrow.

While checking in, the Virgin Atlantic staff told me that the baggage restriction was 23 kgs and not 32 kgs ( 32 kgs was the maximum weight specified by British Airways). So I had to pay the extra weight charges.

So amidst all this chaos, I could not properly bid farwell to my aunt and uncle. My mind was all befuddled about what would happen next and if I would be able to handle the situation at Heathrow.

Unfortunately the Virgin Atlantic flight from San Francisco was delayed too by 3 hours. So I reached Heathrow at 13:30 on 3rd June. I went to the baggage counter to claim my luggage as I had to re-check in. But then the airport authorities refused to give my baggage as I did not have the UK visa. And by then I had missed my connecting flight too. So I had to go to the British Airways counter. But the task of approaching the counter itself was so tiresome because of the tight security. And also these terminals are so far that I had to catch a bus every time.

I narrated my story to British Airways staff. They booked me on a flight on Virgin Atlantic to Mumbai at 18:30 on the same day and then on another flight from Mumbai to Bangalore. They were not sure about the baggage problem. So they asked me to approach Virgin Atlantic for this.
I had to catch a bus again to terminal three. When I spoke to them, the Virgin Atlantic staff told me that they had already sent the baggage to British Airways. By this time, I was very, very tired and depressed. So I told them that I would not be able to go back to British Airways and
requested them to do something about it. They called up British Airways and then gave the baggage number. They told me that most probably I would have to lodge a complaint about missing luggage at Mumbai.

So before boarding the Heathrow-Mumbai flight, I spoke to the crew responsible for baggage. And thankfully, my luggage had arrived!!!

I reached Mumbai at 7:30 AM on 4th June. I had to re-check in my luggage for the next flight at 10:30 AM to Bangalore. Finally I reached Bangalore at 12:45 PM on 4th June.

Phew! That was quite a long story.:) Now when I look back at this experience, I know this incident made me wiser and stronger. I guess that is what bad experinces are for, aren't they?


krupesh said...

airport stress is the worst of all travel problems. I think that is because there will be no one around to really help you out. I have gone thru similar problems couple of times, but your case was really painful :-(

(by the way, you should call british airways to get the luggage charges reimbursed. Since they allowed 32kgs, and later they booked you on another airline with weight restirctions, they should pay the bill)

Sphinx said...

We acquire the strength that we overcome, they say. Im glad you reached safe and sound :-)

i-me-moi said...

bullshit .. i would have lagaoed their cases and vented a lifetime of frustrations on both VA and BA ..

how come heathrow? no sing sing?

Madhooo said...

@krupesh: Thanks so much for the suggestion on the reimbursement thing. Let me see what I can do about that.

@sphinx: You bet!:)

@i-me-moi: We were not able to get teh tickets on Singapore airlines. Hence they booked us on BA.