During the weekend, we revisited Madrid to say hello to a friend and have some tapas. That was the good part.
The bad part was the flight home. Me and Emelie got up at 4 AM and caught a cab outside the Atocha station. That trip presented no problem and we arrived at Barajas two hours before the flight departure. To avoid the queue we tried the “auto checkin piece of malfunctioning software” (not its official name), well aware of the fact that I haven’t got a single successful encounter with these things for the last two years. I soon learned why, as my booking code was no good and had to be replaced with another code, thus requiring personal assistance after all.
We got on the plane a few hours later, buckled up and waited half an hour before the captain announced that they couldn’t find the service certificate, so we had to leave the aircraft. Five dozen tired people stayed close to the gate without any further information. A French businessman explained the importance of informing people of what’s going on, and maybe not only in Spanish, but the Iberia crew had no intention of informing anyone.
I felt like I was trapped inside the Eagles song Hotel California. “You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave…”
90 minutes later we were told to proceed to another gate at the opposite end of the building, where we waited for another hour while four people manually compared passenger lists with pencils. The plane took off eventually and I imagined the crew would offer an apologize or even some refreshments on this hot summer day, but all we got during the entire trip was a glass of water.
Anyhow, we landed in Brussels during the afternoon. The initially long transit time of three hours had no chance of withstanding this four-hour delay, so naturally we missed our connecting flight but managed to get seats on a plane many hours later. Arriving at the final destination close to midnight, seven hours late. As a parting gift from Iberia, the luggage was missing.
It’s not Air France standards, but close.
Update: A woman from the airport recently left a message on my answering machine. She basically said that “your luggage has arrived, call me”. Unfortunately she forgot to specify her number, and redial didn’t work since it was a protected number. Aaargh.