Friday, September 23, 2016

Finally Made it to Belarus

I finally made it to Belarus which is the only country in Europe that I haven't been to.  It took just over seven years but now I've done the 50.

I thought once I had my Belarus visa that the hard part would be over.  Of course not!  So here's a bit about my travel adventure today.

I took the Student Agency bus to the Vienna Airport.  No problem.  I was supposed to catch a Ukrainian Air flight to Kyiv and then a connecting flight to Minsk.  Sounds easy enough.  I checked in, dropped off my luggage, and went to the gate.  Then my flight to Kyiv gets delayed.  And then it gets delayed again to the point where I won't make my connecting flight to Minsk.

My name is called and I'm told that I will be rebooked on a later flight with Austrian but it's a direct flight so I should arrive two hours later.  The catch is that I need to leave the security area and go to customer service in the main departure hall.  I will have to reclaim my bag but I'm told it will be easy so off I go.

Once at the customer service desk it took a while before the clerk could figure out what was going on.  He did manage to rebook me on Austrian.  He should have given me an airport food voucher but he claimed that it wasn't required.  I however know the rules and his supervisor agreed and I received a €10 voucher which isn't a lot in Vienna Airport because a latte runs €5 but at least I got it.  Now about my luggage...

The clerk told me that I had to reclaim my bag at baggage claim.  However, that is back behind the security area.  I had already passed security once so my boarding pass wouldn't work a second time.  He told me to go to the security kiosk, explain everything and that they would let me pass.  Fine, that worked.  But at the luggage claim my bag wasn't there.  I was told that it would be about 20 minutes or longer but that it would arrive.  Meanwhile, I checked in online for my new Austrian flight and selected my seat.

An hour later and still no bag.  They can't find it.  They "expect" that it went to Kyiv on my original flight and that "it should" make it to Minsk.  Between the service desk and the baggage claim departments it's a good thing that I speak German because who knows what I would have been told.  So I then had to exit the baggage claim area and go through security again, with my online boarding pass, and find a place that would accept the €10 voucher because of course it is only good in select places.  I managed to grab something for dinner and made it to my gate.

I was among the first in queue to board the flight.  But the Austrian gate agent would not let me on the plane. Although I had an Austrian boarding pass she said that there was a problem and that I had to step aside.  She boards every other passenger and I'm left standing there.  By the way, the flight is a few minutes delayed and they're rushing to close the gate.  The gate agent checks her computer and makes two telephone calls to her supervisor about me not having a valid ticket.  Again, a good thing that I speak German so that I understand exactly how rude she was.  Apparently it was my fault that Austrian had not properly internally billed Ukrainian Airlines and my fault that the Austrian computer system issued me a valid boarding pass.  It was also my fault that the delay was causing the flight to be delayed and that she would have to issue me a new boarding pass and a new seat.  Bitch!

I used to like flying Austrian until I had that glitch flying to Brussels.  I think it's time for a break and it will be a long time before I fly with Austrian Airlines anywhere.

I finally made it to Minsk.  Fortunately my suitcase was there waiting for me when I arrived.   I've made it to my hostel and they registered me with the foreign police.  Now it's time to catch some zzz's before my early morning tour to Brest.

No comments:

Post a Comment