Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I hate travelling

Travelling has always been one of the more annoying aspects of a consultant's life. But recently it has become really awful. It started with me driving to Munich two weeks ago. It took me 4.5 hours instead of 1.5. Reason: A truck fell over on the autobahn, they closed the autobahn. Chas reigned on the alternative routes. So I though ok, maybe use public transport next time. So, the next time I had to go to Munich I took the train from Heidenheim. It was scheduled to leave at 07:24 in the morning. It was 07:24, but no train to be seen ... and no announcement, nothing. At 07:35 the train arrived. Of course, trains never compensate for their delay once they're on the track, so I didn't catch the connecting train. Instead of the ICE, I had to take the regional train (== much slower!). Of course, once we were half-way in Munich, the locomotive broke down and the subsequent ICE overtook us. To make a long story short: It took me 4.5 hours again, this time by train! Next thing: I had to go to Nurnberg. Typically 1.5 hours by car. Of course it was friday afternoon and I learned that it's a bad time to use the A6 direction east, because all the east german and polish folks drive home for the weekend. 3.5 hours.

Next thing, I flew Munich -> Genoa, Genoa -> Aarhus, Aarhus -> Munich for some conference stuff. Plane from Munich to Kopenhagen (stopover on the trip to Aarhus) was late. I had to run over the complete airport to catch the connecting flight. Since my luggage doesn't have legs to run, it didn't make it.... Until I found out about that in Aarhus, and reported it correctly, the bus from Aarhus airport to the city was gone. Since it was already one o'clock in the morning and no further bus was going, I had to take the expensive taxi....

But it get's worse. Today I had to go to London for a short meeting. I fly into Heathrow at 10:15, and planned to leave at 15:35. But some idiot left a suitcase in the terminal, so they shut the terminal down. People outside of the security checks were evacuated, people inside the secure area were trapped.

So now I am sitting here, trying to spend the time, somehow. At least I found an electrical plug. But the frustrating thing is that you're not told anything. Nobody knows what's happened, how long it will take and so on. There has been an announcement that "flights will be delayed". Oh yeah - I guessed that much! Recently the timetable showed my flight as being cancelled. And Lufthansa, my carrier, doesn't know what to do with me: "We cannot promise that you can go with the next plane" - "So, what do I do if they don't take me?" - "You'll have to take the plane tomorrow morning" - "And Lufthansa pays for the hotel, right?" - "I can't guarantee that". So much for Lufthansa service.

Later, the lounge crew told me I should go out of the security area, and go to ticketing in order reticket myself to the next morning. It gets even better from there. At exactly the time I tried to get out of the "airside" part of the airport, they allowed all the planes that arrived over the afternoon to let their passengers to get off. So we had complete chaos at the passport control booth (which I had
to pass for some unknown reason). An hour later, I, and probably 500 other folks were in the queue at Lufthansa ticketing. I spent two hours in the queue, and when I almost was at the front of the queue, some Lufthansa official came by and said they had managed to bring in an old A300, a bigger airplane than planned, and we could fly out of Heathrow to Frankfurt (and not to Munich, where I wanted to go originally). It was planned that the plane leaves at 21:00. After a lot of queueing in various places, I was on board of D-AIAZ and we left - at 23:30. So, to make the rest of the story short, I arrived in Frankfurt at 2am. There, at least, were some folks who knew what to do. After 10 minutes we (i.e. myself and a little group of fellow travellers who flocked together to make the tour more sustainable)
we were in the Intercity Hotel... Lufthansa would pay.

I am writing this last paragraph from within the ICE train that will bring me to Stuttgart. I'll go directly to the Eclipse Forum in Esslingen and I'll pick up my car in Munich on Friday.

All of this crap is really frustrating. I think I will try to do more "remote" work and travel less. I am fed up with this.
see that this post has been written in Oct, 2006...saw it via a Google alert i set up for the sentence "hate travelling to work"...between then & now, have you managed to overcome this problem...appreciate your views...just quit my job cos' I was fed up with all my travelling...paln to do something to improve the quality of my life...
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This is Markus Voelter's Blog. It is not intended as a replacement for my regular web site, but rather as a companion that contains ideas, thoughts and loose ends.

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