Although the event itself and the two days before I’ve used to play tourist were wonderful, the flight itself from Amsterdam to Seattle was terrible. It’s a long story so let me start at the beginning.
Checking in for my flight
I woke up at 05:00 in which is actually only an hour earlier compared to what I’m used to. So I grabbed my bags, got in my car and drove to Schiphol (the airport). I parked there and went to check-in for my flight. Well, this is where the problems started…
Note: I was there at 06:15 where my flight was to leave at 10:35… so I was there more than 4 hours in advance!
First there was an issue with my ticket… it seemed that I wasn’t in their system. So after standing in the waiting line for about 45 minutes they referred me to the ticket service desk and you’ve guessed it, it also had a waiting line. So after about 30 minutes I was up.
It took them a little investigating but they told me that my ticket hadn’t been paid. Since I’ve booked the ticket myself I knew that wasn’t true. So I’ve booted up my laptop and showed her the confirmation I’ve received by email. The woman picked up her phone and started calling ‘a higher authority’ or whatever. It took them 10 minutes to find out that I did pay the ticket (no shit, Sherlock!) and that something in their system had gone wrong. She corrected it and was processing the ticket… just until the next problem arose…
Secondly there was a little thing called an ‘ESTA’ form. You either have to have one of those OR a visum to get into the USA. I’ve experienced this issue last year when I went to the USA for the first time to present at an event called BriForum in Chicago. Back then I had to request an ESTA for on the spot and to get an ESTA form you’ll need a credit card. Guess what, I didn’t had a credit card at that time (was able to go without one quite well actually).
So this time I simply took the proof that I’ve requested an ESTA before with me on my laptop and because those things are valid for 2 years I wasn’t expecting a problem.
Basically she told me that the system told her that I did not have a valid ESTA form so I had to request a new one… I took a desk a few meters next to her and opened my laptop and while using the airport free wifi I’ve request an ESTA form…again…
It took me about 10 minutes to fill in the paperwork online and rather quickly the website told me that my request had been approved.
Me back at the woman and she ckecking in her system that the ESTA had been approved, and it was.
No reservation so flight was full
Alright, that should be it J No…! “I’m sorry sir but the flight is full.”
I’ll spare you the things I was thinking at that time but I know that making a scene would only give me more problems. So very calmly my reply was: “So I’ve booked my flight, because your system had made a mistake the payment wasn’t linked to my ticket and therefor the reservation wasn’t made in your system although I did get a confirmation by email. How are you going to solve my problem?”
So what basically happened was that I was upgraded to business class at no extra costs 🙂
The flight itself was good, no problems whatsoever. So when I got the Seattle Tacoma Airport I had to wait a few minutes for @scriptingguys and @scriptingwife to arrive so we could hang out together, since we’re staying at the same hotel.
We’ve been to the space needle, something you just can’t miss if you’re ever in Seattle. Knowing I’m not so crazy about heights, the elevator from the ground floor all the way up was something I’ve done with my eyes closed… and you can take that literally 😉
Ed Wilson had the great idea to visit the Science museum which, as it seems, is right next to the space needle 🙂
They’ve got an horror exposition… the had things from the ‘book of shadows’ from the television serie Buffy The Vampire Slayer up to vampires and gremlins to a video about Alfred Hitchkock and his impact on the whole movie scene and a beautiful timeline of horror movies dating back from 1967 till 2011.
After all of this we were tired so left for the hotel to check in. Next was finding a place to eat.
We’ve noticed that people on Seattle really like going out for dinner… like the first four places we went to were totally packed already. So we’ve finally found a place Ed and Theresa knew about were I got my first American burger ever… gotta love those burgers 🙂
Well, that was it for the first day. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more about the next few days as I find time to do so.