Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It wouldn't be a typical vacation if everything went smoothly.

When Dana and I had arrived in Madeira, I found a restaurant I really wanted to try.  Dana, however, with her extensive list of what is acceptable to eat, was reluctant to go.  At the time she was vegan... no, raw / no, vegan / no, raw... you get the point. That night we ended up settling on a restaurant miles away from the one I desired to eat at.  All throughout our stay I had the nagging urge to try out the restaurant I initially suggested, and was finally granted my wish our last night there.

The ambiance of the restaurant was fantastic. The evening was beautiful, the location couldn't have been better, and our table was located on a balcony overlooking the downtown area of Funchal. The food, we decided, could have been better.  It definitely wasn't what I had envisioned it to be from what the menu suggested.  But, we agreed that the ambiance made up for what the food lacked.

That was, until 3 o'clock the following morning when I woke up to food poisoning.  The weather outside matched how I felt: torrential rains, strong gusts of wind, and hail beating on the windows.  As I made my way from the bed to the bathroom and back I prayed that both my stomach and the weather would calm before our flight scheduled a few hours later. 

Unfortunately luck was not on our side. When we left the hotel at 9am the rains were still pouring, mini rivers were replacing roads, and I was still doubled over in pain.  The agent at the check-in counter informed us that our flight was still scheduled to depart on time, despite the weather. At least there was a small ray of sunshine with that knowledge, or so I thought as I made my way to the bathroom.

But that glimmer of hope was just that, a glimmer.  It faded as quickly as it appeared.  Our flight was delayed... for 5 hours.  It really wouldn't have been too big of a problem if we hadn't been flying easyJet, a British discount airline.  Their flights are only point to point, not connecting, and most flights leave from London.  Meaning, we had to buy a flight to London and then buy a separate flight to Madeira and vice versa - although all in one transaction. 

With that in mind, I quickly started wondering about the last leg of our flight, which we would undoubtedly miss due to the 5 hour delay.  Upon checking with the local ticketing officer at the airport (after I dragged myself out of the bathroom), she suggested I contact the easyJet customer service and provided me a phone number.  I was informed by the customer service agent that due to the fact each flight was deemed a separate contract, and that I was going to miss it - even though it was due to the initial delayed flight -, we would have to buy tickets for a new flight home.

I'm not sure if it was the nausea due to food poisoning, the stress of the flights, or both, but at that moment I had to fight back tears.  I successfully held them back, though, at least long enough to jump online to see which flight to purchase from London the next day.  And then I situated myself comfortably back in the bathroom to wait out a few more hours in the airport.

The turn of events forced us to sleep at the Gatwick airport, again.  (We knowingly had to spend the night on our way to Madeira).  So, once we arrived around 9pm and spoke to the ticketing manager at the airport to see if there was any way we could get our flight situation resolved, (meaning: a reimbursement for having to buy a new flight home after he stated we could have gotten on the next available flight for free), we staked our claim on plush sofas we had eyed during our first overnight stay.

By the time we reached the front door to my apartment at 9 o'clock the following morning, I couldn't have been happier to be home from a week of relaxation.  So I took a day and a half off to enjoy it... and recuperate.

1 comment:

ReL said...

That sucks! I hope you ended up with reimbursment and that you're feeling better!