Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Ticket tribulations

Monday was a lazy day, not going far, not doing much, just enjoying summer idleness. Finishing work on making good the roof after chimney demolition has slowed right down. The weather is good enough for this not to matter.

Tuesday morning, I woke up early, thinking about September, travelling back to Malaga, and how I'd succeeded in changing my flights at great expense back at the end of June, but had not yet got around to re-checking my booking. Last time I visited the Vueling website, when I was in Spain, the change was registered, but it was unclear from information displayed that my booking for hold baggage had been carried forward with the changed flight. Ages ago, I resolved to check this out at Cardiff Airport when I got back, but done nothing about it.

I got up at seven, and decided to have another look at my flight booking on the Vueling website, just in case I was making a fuss about nothing. Horror of horrors, the website refused to recognise my booking reference and email address! Something very hard to cope with so early in the morning. In a mild state of panic, I dressed, breakfasted, and then got myself into town to pick up the airport bus. By just after eight I was at the Vueling departures check-in desk, but nobody was there!

I should have known better. The Vueling airport team isn't very big, and they multi-task. Once all the passengers for the 09.10 flight to Malaga are booked in, the staff make their way to the departure gate and see passengers on to the aircraft. The Alicante flight, on the days it runs, leaves later, so they have time to themselves in between. I asked a man at the Norwegian Air check-in desk next door how I may find someone and he directed me to a desk at the far end of the Departures area.

There I found a Swissport booking manager, to judge by his overhead display title, whose role was dealing with ticketing enquiries, for companies and flights out of Cardiff International. It means he has executive privileges to enter every travel company website admin back-end and can interrogate systems for needed information. Such a comforting asset for bewildered travellers, and a reassuringly efficient service!

I explained my problem as simply as I could, and within a couple of minutes, he confirmed that my two flights were registered for the dates and times changed, and that I had hold baggage booked. He gave me a printout to that effect. Failure to access my Vueling account was due to a simple error about which I should've known better. Mistaking 'O' for a zero in the booking reference. I must have taken this in last time I logged into the site, when I saw on-line the booking changes I'd made had taken effect. Exactly the same confusion I experienced in Vinaros, trying to register devices to the Vicarage router wi-fi.

How much grief and anxiety could be spared worldwide, by making sure that the distinction between a zero and an 'O' is made clearer in any displayed typeface in print, and on the web.

Fifteen minutes at the airport, then a shuttle bus back into Cardiff, and I was home again just after half past ten, after a few troubled hours on the move. Thank God for a free bus pass and an excellent transport schedule for journeys to the airport and around town! 

I still don't have a boarding pass. I don't need to pay extra for a designated seat, happy just to reach my destination wherever I'm placed on the flight. So, I have to wait until Tuesday next, when a seat will be assigned to me by default, and printing out my boarding pass will cost me nada.

Apart from this, an uneventful day ensued.

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