Computer System Woes

October 24, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Summer of 2008, I was returning from a conference in Vienna to my home in the Isle of Man, making a connection through London. Irritatingly enough, as they were on different carriers, the Vienna flight landed in London Heathrow Airport whilst the Isle of Man flight was to depart from London Gatwick Airport. This usually isn’t a problem – the airports are an hour apart and there’s a shuttle connecting the two, and there was enough time between the flights to pull the connection off, as the LDN-IOM flight was domestic.

Despite a small delay leaving Vienna, the trip goes relatively smoothly – until I reached the flybe check in desk, where I was greeted to a massive line that wasn’t moving anywhere. Thirty minutes until takeoff I start to panic slightly, when one of the staff calls my flight number for immediate check in. I’m called to the desk where I was manually checked in and given a handwritten ticket, with a handwritten baggage tag placed on my suitcase – their entire computer system had crashed.

I then rushed to domestic security; however, on presenting my makeshift ticket to the security officer, I’m greeted with a very confused look. She didn’t believe it was a real ticket in this paranoia, doubled by the fact that I am a lone teenager. She had to consult three other staff members and eventually had to go to the very same check in desk to confirm that my ticket was in fact real.

After having to literally RUN to the gate, I’m the last passenger aboard the plane, the doors close and we’re off the runway in five minutes. However, upon reaching the Isle of Man I learn that my suitcase was still in Gatwick – and upon presenting my baggage tag stump to Lost Baggage, they didn’t believe THAT was real either. Fortunately, my suitcase was returned to me the next day.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh October 27, 2009 at 1:23 am

So, you got there on time, and the bag got there a day later??? Hmmm, doesn't sound too terribly bad to me.


theblackdog October 28, 2009 at 6:26 am

Hugh, I'd say waiting in line for at least an hour, only to be given a handwritten ticket, and then get delayed by security because of said ticket is pretty hellish to me.


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