I spent the past weekend in Amsterdam, having a good time thanks the local friends, but unfortunately I missed an awaited seminar in Stavanger because of a chain of unfortunate events..
“We thank you for your cooperation and understanding, and we apologies for the delay and any inconvenience“
… that is what the captain of my Friday afternoon flight to Oslo by Norwegian Airlines kept repeating from about 15 minutes past the scheduled time of departure until the moment all the passengers were disembarked and taken to the departure hall by buses..
What else could we do besides accepting, trying to smile or joke, and be led around like sheep without any kind of control or power of decision?
And without solid information, as well, and that tells much about Norwegian company, that I used to like but now I will probably try to avoid!
The first delay, at the gate, was explained (after quite some time) it was due to some mismatch between the passenger manifesto and the passport control at the gate. Then finally the airplane left the gate and start driving toward the departure lanes until it stop again and then the captain said there was some technical issue and we had to get back to the gate. “Thank you for your cooperation“, he added of course.
The plane then moved to some distance from a terminal and stopped there, the rear door was open and stairs attached to that. I was sitting close to the door, on the right side of the airplane, therefore not facing the gates, but they did nit appear to be very close. Toilets remained close and all passengers were recommended to stay at their place and water will be served later (some passengers went asking for that). And after a few moments, surprise: 4 very big armed men boarded the place..
They went to pick up a guy sitting more or less at the emergency door, who did not oppose resistance and follow them out. Shortly after I felt the checked-in luggage hatch opening.
At that moment I noticed on my side of the airplane 2 cars with 2-3 policemen around it at about 70-100 meters from the airplane. On the other side one could also see some marked and unmarked police/special forces cars. After the army guys left the place some policemen stepped on and went to the cockpit. A little later 2 armed officials got again on the plane and they also went to the cockpit. At the same time I saw a policewoman carrying away a luggage, escorted by 2 armed men.
About half a hour after that, all the officials left the airplane and the captain got on the mic again:
“We thank you for your cooperation and understanding, we tried to handle an uncommon situation without put any passenger at risk, and we apologies for the delay and any inconvenience – passenger’s luggage and luggage area in the airplane has been cleared from presence of anything dangerous“
Was it drugs then? Nobody knows, I could not find any news on the net but it is difficult to think about terrorist movements toward Norway, but who knows..
At that point it was about 6 pm: my flight from Oslo was at 8:30 pm, so if we were leaving soon, I could have reached Stavanger on Friday night, but then, after the armed escort and disembark event, a technical problem to the airplane occurred and, when finally they managed to find buses, all passengers were taken back to the airport, where they gave confusing info both about checked-in luggage and what to do further on.
Norwegian does not have a specific information and support desk but they are under a general operator that gave contradicting info about 2 possibilities:
- trying to get a seat on the last plane to Oslo, later the same night (for me meaning a night in Oslo airport)
- being automatically re-booked to a 10 am flight the day after to Oslo
..and nobody there was able to answer question about what to do since I needed to go to Stavanger, therefore get also that flight re-booked or in case I decided to cancel the ticket. Actually the only answer was to call the Norwegian (as in, based in Norway) service center that of course had not enough operators to answer to the high traffic. So after 8 euro wasted by waiting in line on phone, I got an SMS from Norwegian (yeah, the SMS service seems to be the best offer and service of this company) with a link for cancelling the ticket and be re-funded.
Thinking that leaving at 10 am on Saturday morning best case I would have reached Stavanger early afternoon (if I did manage to be re-directed), reducing to 3 sessions of practice.. in the best case. Then I decided to cancel the trip and this was the best solution: the day after, still by automatic SMS I got news that the 10 am flight had been delayed until 2:45 pm!!! Amazing!!
Last year my trip to Sweden also for Marc Bachraty sensei seminar got cancelled by Norwegian because of a large Scandinavian strike about new company polices that were not so well accepted by the workers. And in the news the problems are just keeping coming.
So I can conclude that yes, I am very unlucky in my trips, and yes, it seems lots of bad luck comes when I want to meet Marc sensei, but it is also strongly related to Norwegian bad luck!
And this coming Friday I should take exactly the same flight to Oslo for meeting Kuribayashi sensei!! Crossing fingers for myself!!!