I think I let my guard down slightly, being near the end of the trip. Getting to Nice from Barcelona didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped. Despite being at the airport an hour before my flight (should have been an hour and a half really), I still managed to miss it.
I’m still not really sure what happened, but the queue for checking in my bags was long (it ended up being about 45 minutes). I think – it being an early morning and I’m not a morning person at all – I assumed that it was all for the one flight. Half way into waiting, I started to get a little bit concerned that I might not make it through security in time. At the end of the queue – after practically chewing all my nails and all the skin around my nails off – and after some Brits somehow managed to jump in front of me right at the end (*tuts* Les Anglais), I hopelessly turned my charm up to the max, and with sad, concerned, repentant eyes, explained to the woman at the desk that my flight was in fifteen minutes. The response was as expected: “Check-in is closed”. Incidentally, this had happened once before in America, except they managed to check in my bags, and get me through security, and somehow get me to the plane in ten minutes. I think that experience had made me a little bit ‘cinematic’ in my expectations. Life isn’t a film though, and things in real life don’t always go as they do in the movies (*tuts* thanks Hollywood).
I was told that I would have to wait until tomorrow to catch the next flight to Nice because the only other flight that day was full. I realised I would have to think laterally in order to solve this one; there must be a solution whereby I could still get to Nice that day (there’s that unrealistic Hollywood movie attitude again).
My first idea was to use a new service which I had discovered called BlaBlaCar. It is basically a car pooling app/site which works out very reasonably priced for travelling long distances. If I’d have known about this previously, I would have gone this way instead of booking a flight (talking to a complete stranger for 8 hours has to be more fun than going through airport security). Unfortunately though, all the journeys to Nice that day were booked up.
Next I checked coaches. I discovered that I could get a coach at 3pm and it would arrive in Nice at 2am. This seemed to be the best bet so far, but I (and my friend who I would be staying with) had work the next day, so this was a last resort. Next, I thought I would see how much it would cost to rent a car and drive there: “Because you are dropping off in another country it will be an extra 300 euros”. No thanks.
After laughing off the idea of getting a taxi, I thought I would see if there were any flights going to places near Nice (relatively speaking) from which I could get to Nice via train, e.g. Genoa or Milan. There were! But these were quite expensive and the train journey would take several hours.
Finally, I thought I would just check online to see if the airline staff (right there in the airport with all the flight information in front of them) had somehow been wrong (bit arrogant?) and the “full flight” later that day actually had some seats on it. According to the website, there were two seats left on the flight. Despite the discrepancy in information, I decided to take a risk and booked one of them, before returning to the desk and asking how I’d been able to book a seat on a flight which I had been told was full! It was explained to me that some airlines purposely overbook flights (presumably they expect there to be some idiots – like me – who miss their flights). It makes sense I suppose, but I was slightly annoyed that ‘checking online’ hadn’t been suggested initially! Interestingly enough there were several seats empty when I finally got on the flight.
All in all, this was useful to know, and understanding a new business model, may have been worth missing my flight for.
I think sometimes when something bad like this happens, it is easy to let all other guards down, making the way for new mistakes. At least this is my excuse (as well as having had a glass of wine on the plane) for why I left my baggage in the taxi from Nice airport to my friend’s apartment. This really wasn’t my day.
Despite not even knowing which taxi company I had used, I somehow managed to get my bag back (at around 11pm) in what was probably about half an hour; Very grateful to my French friend who was able to speak to the Taxi companies for me (they didn’t speak much English). Prayer works.
Usually a bit of an insomniac, at the end of a very long day I slept very well. It was good to be back in Nice.