The Trip Begins (?)
9:02 a.m. via email from KLM Airlines: “Your flights for today have been cancelled.”
The email continued by stating we had been rebooked for two days later, arriving in Basel, Switzerland the day after our Rhine riverboat cruise would have sailed.
But let’s go back in time a few days....
To travel on a Viking river cruise we had to be tested for Covid within 72 hours of our first departure. And not a simple home test but one requiring lab verified results. To obtain this test we made a reservation at CVS for BOTH of us at the same time on a Tuesday. I know I entered personal information for both Jenni and myself. But….
When we arrived at the pharmacy drive-thru at the appointed time, my confirmation number had Jenni’s name (but my birthdate and gender) and the second one didn’t even exist. The kind elderly gentleman pecked at the keyboard for 10-15 minutes and then handed over a testing kit for Jenni. When she reviewed it, there were errors so he had to start over.
Meanwhile I had used my smartphone to schedule MY test and got one within about 45 minutes.
Another fifteen minutes and Jenni was done. We had just spent about 30 minutes in the drive-thru line. I wanted to apologize to the six cars waiting behind us but I assumed they were asleep by now. (But seriously, they could have gone inside 15 times rather than waiting in the car line.) The sweet man at the window looked at his watch and almost offered to do my test early but we said we would come back to be fair to those behind us.
We drove around a couple blocks and got back in the pharmacy line. Four ahead of us and quickly another three behind. Shouldn't be too bad as long as no one ahead of us is doing a COVID test. Twenty five minutes later it was my turn. Our friend at the window greeted us warmly and asked how's your momma and them. I had the routine down and we were done quickly. Now we just had to wait for the results. Again, I apologize to ANYONE who was using the CVS drive-thru that day.
Jenni got news of her results at 6pm the following day. Then we waited. And waited. Mine finally arrived about 4-1/2 hours later. Both Negative. (We had been exposed to a COVID-positive person five days earlier so there was a genuine concern.) We were ready to fly the next day! Since we were within 24 hours of the flight we tried checking in online before we went to bed that night but the system wasn't cooperating so we just went to bed thinking we would handle it in the morning.
Next morning we still couldn’t check in and we reasoned it was because of one airline operating flights for another. No problem; we would handle it at the airport before our 7:45pm flight.
Then the cancellation email arrived!
Don’t panic! After a few minutes we had an emergency phone number to call at Viking Cruise Lines since they had booked the flights. After about 45 minutes listening to the same instrumental hold music over and over, Nellie picked up. And then she lost us. Oy Vey. But she called us back!
In the blink of an eye (okay 5-10 minutes) she had us on new flights. But she said we needed to leave for the airport RIGHT NOW! The new flight was leaving 5 hours earlier than our previous one! We had about 4 hours before the flight and that included an hour drive to the airport.
We managed to shower and dress, zip up the suitcases, lockdown the house, coordinate for our son to come get Annie our dog and for our daughter-in-love to drop us at the airport—all in less than an hour. Thank goodness we had everything ready to go that morning.
The woman at the Delta counter was very sweet and did what she could to get us situated. She was required to ask us if we had the financial means to "return home". She didn't need proof, just a verbal. We thought that was odd.
Other than the face recognition software having trouble matching us to our passport photos in Atlanta, and a miserable night crossing the Atlantic, things were finally on track and we would have a few extra hours in Basel.
Well, there was that one incident when I accused the French TSA lady of losing my passport...