Saturday, January 21, 2006

RANT://Chaos in CPH - Second Day 

Finally I managed to get out of Copenhagen and I am back home. When I arrived today at 8:30am at CPH to get on the 10:40am plane to Vienna, I was very lucky:

1. I had re-booked my flight to Vienna already yesterday via Vienna on the phone
2. I still had my boarding pass from the 2nd cancelled flight yesterday at 8pm.

The departure hall in terminal 3 was completely full with people desperately waiting for check-in, but with my old boarding pass I managed to get into the terminal. At the star-alliance lounge again the number drawing game was going on: 250 was up, I drew 485 and when I finally left for the gate, the current number was 300. At the gate I finally got my boarding pass. Boarding was only 1 hour late, most planes had between 2 and 3 hours.

Nevertheless, I would have never made it otherwise and so did obviously many others, because the plane was only 70% full.

Ok, now I was in the plane, but still not safe, because I had in the back of my mind the story of the two fuming guys from Munich who where hold hostage yesterday in the SAS plane to Munich for 5 (FIVE) hours waiting for de-icing and after the plane finally made it second place for de-icing, the crew announced that their allowed working time is over and cancelled the flight.

Since this was an Austrian plane, we where air-borne at noon, I relaxed and arrived in Vienna at 1:30pm. I was also lucky because at some time during the re-booking I got upgraded magically to business class ;-)

There where rumors all over the place that this chaos was primarily not caused by the weather, the major reason was man-made by the working conditions in Denmark. So there was basically no reason yesterday to close the airport at 8pm, the Danes just decided that this was enough for the day. It was also curious that some planes where still leaving afterwards.

Lesson1 : Avoid CPH, especially in winter
Lesson2: Avoid SAS (SK)
Lesson 3: Only travel with handluggage (I think to sort out the checked-in luggage mess will take another week to sort out)

In other words, Klaus and I were lucky that we flew Thursday evening as the snow only caused a two hour delay back then.

Being part Danish I can only second your lessons learned!
Don't fly through Copenhagen and don't fly SAS. Every time I go there, baggage handling is a mess. Their favourite trick is to put on the screen that your baggage is in the hall at least 20 mins before it gets there - does wonders for their statistics!
I complain and the airline says it is the airports fault, but there is no-one to talk to from the airport, just a form to fill in. I have lost count of how many I have filled in. No response to any of them, or to the numerous feedback forms I have sent to SAS.
They are not unlike a telco in their behaviour...they are not there to serve you, you should think yourself lucky that you are getting any service at all.
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