Sunday, July 20, 2014

Getting to Budapest

The traveling Stolls are on the move again - this time to Budapest and then to Prague. Two weeks of European culture and cooler temperatures! As with many of our trips, getting there is an adventure in itself. There are many benefits to working for an airline, but a few challenges as well. In order to get those great discounts, you have to fly on specific airlines and that doesn't always align very well with your actual travel plans. In addition, you usually have to fly standby unless traveling on the airline you work for. For this journey, we had the following:
  1. Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam - confirmed seats
  2. Amsterdam to Budapest - standby seats (meaning we'll get on if there's room and since it's a staff ticket, we are at the very bottom of the standby list).
Now, it's the height of summer in Europe and a Friday afternoon. When I reserved the tickets back in March or April, that thought hadn't really crossed my mind, so while I shouldn't have been, I'll admit I was a little disappointed when the guest service agent said we might not get on since the flight was overbooked. And sure enough, we didn't get on, so grabbed some seats at a really nice little beer pub in the airport and logged in to see what our options were.

Option 1: book full fare business class tickets for the 9pm flight . . . at a whopping 900 Euro each! Those who know the traveling Stolls, also know how cheap we are, so while we considered it for about 5 min, we decided to pass. And thank goodness too because the business class seats were barely wider than economy and no additional perks that we could see except sitting at the front of the plane!

Option 2: Rebook our standby tickets and try again for the 9pm flight - this flight was also overbooked. We could actually have continued in rebook limbo for days.

Option 3: Rebook and take our chances for the 9pm and book full fare economy for the next morning to be safe. That's what we did and after a boring few hours in the Schipol airport (very nice by the way), we were the last 2 standby passengers on the list and the only 2 not to get on the flight. :(

Back to the ticket agent to complete our economy ticket purchase for 10am the next morning. We then found a reasonable hotel room not too far from the airport and settled in for the rest of the night.

Next morning, we got on the plane (barely!) We were in row 30 of 31, just in front of the bathrooms and in the middle of a geriatric tour group (no offense to our friends and family who like to travel with geriatric tour groups! :) But, we made it and Budapest is beautiful so let the adventures continue!

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