Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Following your own advice

I have been in Amsterdam nearly two hours now, and so far at least it's been a joy to travel.  What could have been a major disruption in my airline itinerary turned out to be nothing that US Airways could not take care of smoothly. It probably helps that US Airways and American Airlines are merging.  My booking was a considered choice:  in one other bad weather situation, US Airways had anticipated a missed connection and re-booked me on to a later plane without bothering me at all.  Furthermore, when we landed late at the airport, US Air personnel were standing just outside the runway to hand us our newly revised boarding passes and help us make connections.

This time, the plane that was to fly me from Seattle to Philadelphia had a mechanical problem they found the night before.  I got a text alert then phone alert to say that flight was cancelled.   While I was on hold waiting to speak to someone about my fierce need to make the connection in Philadelphia to Amsterdam, their system rebooked me onto an American Airlines flight to Chicago, then picked me back up on US Air in Chicago.  In each case, my seat assignments were upgraded without cost, so that I flew business class at no additional charge.  And since the flight to Amsterdam was only half full, I was able to stretch out across three seats and sleep.

While I wait for my room to be ready, I'm going back over my checklist.  I bought two small plans for handling text messages and phone calls while I'm here.  For mail, I am using the hotel's free wi-fi, and I fetch my messages manually.  I carried my bag and briefcase with me through all the airports rather than check luggage and run the risk that it might not make the three connections that I did.  I carried American money for that portion of the trip.  When I arrived in the airport here, I used an ATM to get euros.  I brought the right adapter for my electronic devices.  If I have forgotten something, I don't yet know it.

After I get into my room and unpack, I am off to downtown Amsterdam to look at some of the most magnificent paintings ever created, most of them by either Vincent Van Gogh or Rembrandt.  I'm using the train system combined with the hotel shuttle, to get me where I need to go.

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