So here is, what happened. A few days before I traveled to Austria, at the end of June, I went to my bank to change some settings on my account. I then remembered a conversation I just had a few days ago with A about having insurance. He was thinking life-insurance, I was thinking… well, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking anything, I just heard insurance everything before and beyond that was more like a blur. Talking to the rep in the bank, I got even more confused, but he seemed to make a strong case, he was talking travel insurance and house insurance and what-happens-if-a-bird-crashes-against-your-too-shiny-window-insurance. The likelihood of this happening seemed to be a great one in the rep’s book but since our windows are everything but super shiny the thought that this might not happen to me, didn’t occur to me, at all. I must have been in a super gullible state of mind, because EVERYTHING he said, made perfect sense to me. Obviously that day you could have sold me a shoe for a hat and I would have taken it.
I never check the ‘I want a travel insurance’ box, because I never think about not making my flight, canceling due to sickness or any other unexpected happenings. It’s only 10 bucks extra but when checking that box, am I not in a way already asking for trouble? To me checking that box indicates, that I might not be able to travel at all, so why would I even bother booking the flight? Instead I trust the airline I take, usually not the most trustworthy of airlines either, (I just cannot bring myself to pay three times the price for a flight taking the same amount of time with tiny seats, no entertainment and disgusting airplane food, when I can get the two last options for half of the price or less). But that’s just me.
I had no way of contacting A that day either, he was currently traveling abroad so now it was up to me to make the big life-changing decision which led to me signing before even reading, the contract. I mean why would the rep just try to sell me anything? That doesn’t seem likely, does it? I am sure, he just wants me to be save and secured, prepared for anything life throws at me, right? Well, maybe, but in retrospect, he didn’t seem like that kind of guy. So having signed that contract, A asked me about the life-insurance which in Norway you can only get if you have lived here for more than 5 years, which I found out about 35 seconds AFTER I signed the travel insurance. So the only one we (read: the smart A and the not so smart J) wanted, that’s the one we couldn’t get just now, since we have only been living in Norway for the past two years.
I called A later that day, telling him that I now was a proud owner of a travel insurance and that I made that decision all by myself, the very first insurance in my life I ever signed and A’s reaction was not quite the one I was hoping for. A didn’t think that my way of logical thinking actually made sense. He explained to me all the rookie mistakes I made by signing that contract and that we didn’t need it, because we already had travel insurance, apparently you get that when you own credit cards? Well, no one told me, and also, I never in my life owned a credit card, so how was I supposed to know?
Fast forward, my departure day comes. I didn’t quit the insurance yet, but I was planning on it, as soon as I came back from my travels. Everything seemed to go smooth. Check in was fine, other than the usual incompetent travelers that act like they have never in their life seen a line before, acting like headless chickens. The security check point was alright, other than the frantic movements of all the travelers making sure their laptops, e-readers and telephones would get in the box, taking out several tiny bottles of what ever you need for a 2 hour flight, taking off belts, emptying their pockets, taking off their jackets, untying their shoes, you know, usual madness. And the loading of the aircraft was fine as well. So you think, the worst is over?
My travels would go from Oslo to Berlin and from Berlin to Vienna, 45 minutes of a layover in Berlin, bags were checked through so I didn’t have to worry about that. It was crucial to make the connection in Berlin, because it was the last flight of the day, and if I wouldn’t make it, how would I get to Vienna? Turns out, not at all that night. We waited for about 2 hours in the aircraft on the ground in Oslo, due to a light that wouldn’t turn off. After about 95 minutes in, they finally decided to turn the aircraft off and on again and suuuurprise, everything was alright. It’s funny because this is the first thing I do with every electronic device, it seems to fix 98% of the problems. But apparently this is not a conclusion you come to when thinking about airplanes, it makes much more sense to wait for 4 technicians to arrive, who hammer around in the cockpit, the longer the wait, the louder the noise, the more anxious the passengers grew. In fact one person threw up, children screaming, the aircraft was overbooked to begin with and me? I was sitting between two people that together could have filled out three seats all by themselves. But then again I did not pay for comfort when I booked my flight.
We never left the aircraft, in fact we flew with the same airplane all the way to Berlin. During the flight the pilot kept saying that they will hold all the connections for us, we would not have to worry, we will make the connections. I wish I had the balls to stand up and yell liar, because any person with some ability to think logically would have known that there was no way that 9 different connections would hold their airplanes for an airplane that would be all together 2 hours late. I mean seriously? So eventually we touched down and boy was I the first one out, not to see if my plane was still there, but to get far away from the madness of the angry people, showing their disapproval of the whole flight experience.
We were asked to collect our bags and meet at the information desk, there we were kindly asked to get on a bus that will take us to our hotel. The next day would be an early one, my flight was scheduled for 8 a.m., by the time we arrived in Berlin it was 10.30, by the time we got to the hotel… Well, I guess I could have been there already at around 11 pm. But the bus-driver said he had to wait for all the passengers, he didn’t want to drive back and forth, which led to a 2 hour wait in the bus in the heat in the middle of the night in Berlin. At 1 am I was emotionally exhausted and drained and two Norwegians and I shared a cab to the hotel, which was literally 10 minutes down the road. So if the bus-driver was just a bit proactive, we could have been at the hotel hours ago.
I somehow made it into bed and set my alarm for 6.30, so I would have enough time to get ready, eat breakfast and take my shuttle-bus to the airport. However I did not hear my alarm, woke up at 7 am, the shuttle left at 7.10, so I had about 3 minutes to shower and another 4 minutes to eat to make it to the bus in time. From then on out, it was smooth sailing. Check in fine. Security fine. Taking off fine. Touching down fine. Collecting my bags fine. Enjoying my stay in Vienna, more than fine, but that’s a different story.
The very same day I emailed my aircraft carrier and my travel insurance. I got a short not heart felt response that neither would allow me any kind of reimbursement, because there was nothing they could have done to prevent it or make it more comfortable or anything else, that would make me feel in the least bit welcome and cared for. So nothing like the rep at the bank said. But turns out, that I was right and that when signing up for travel insurance you are definitely asking for trouble. I think that one is on me.