We were stranded. The situation looked bleak. We weren't sure what to do. Turn back and go home or forge ahead and take risks.
As the four of us drove to the airport in a taxi, with our 14 pieces of luggage in tow, we were ecstatic to be soon boarding the plane that would take us to a new destination, a new future, our new home! Little did we know, what would normally be a a two hour flight turned into an exploit of 3 days!
The flights looked good. There were over 30 seats available. Being that David works for the airlines, we are blessed with the benefit of standby flying. However, in this incident, the blessing quickly became a curse. Don't get me wrong, it does have it's advantages, “when” it works. We receive a substantial discount on flight tickets for our immediate family which is great if there are seats available. But if there's no seats, whatever airport you are at can quickly become your second home. And trust me, we've had many second homes in different cities and countries, this time being Munich.
We boarded the first flight without a hitch, everything being trouble-free. But once we set foot in Munich our circumstances quickly turned. We came to find out upon check-in to our final destination that the flight with over thirty seats available was now overbooked! This rerouted our luggage to the baggage claim requiring the luggage to be collected by us. As we stood in anticipation at the baggage belt for over an hour, we watched the time dissolve... making the next flight (our back-up plan) unattainable! There we stood with heaps of luggage, flights gone, and only half-way to our destination. As David began checking more connecting flights, our hope grew dim. All the flights were overbooked and we quickly found ourselves in a state of confusion, do we go back home or continue onward?
It was difficult to understand in that moment, what exactly went wrong. We had it all planned out. The flights were open, it should've been a breeze! And now we were desperate, it appeared that every flight to every city out of Munich was FULL! “Now what?”, we asked ourselves??? As David ran from counter to counter, checking each airline within his alliance, I checked hotel rooms in Munich and debated about driving with a rental car to another city to catch an open flight. When out of nowhere, we came up with the idea to fly to Vienna, Austria. After all it was the only flight open continuing in a forward direction instead of moving backwards. And there was a flight the following day from Vienna to Mallorca with over 50 seats open! Surely this was it! We would arrive to our new home only 1 day later...so we thought!
We arrived in Vienna and took a taxi to our hotel Pension Neuer Markt Hotel that we booked over Hotels.com. We were amazed at the buildings as we arrived in the city center in the early night! So big and beautiful, so much detail and history surrounded us, we insisted that we explore if only for an hour or two. We found an authentic Austrian restaurant, Restaurant Ferdinand within a few minutes of our hotel where we enjoyed original Austrian cuisine and then ventured out for a quick walk around the city center, fabulous! Impressed with the beauty of Vienna, we made sure not to get back to our room too late, we needed to wake up early in order to catch our flight which would take us to our new home!
The alarm went off at 6 a.m. David grabbed his mobile phone and checked the flight that we would be boarding, or so we thought! Low and behold, nearly 60 seats gone! How could it be? So many seats gone overnight, in fact within 8 hours? It just didn't make sense! So, in that very moment, he said, “That's it! I am buying full booked tickets! No more taking chances!” He purchased the very expensive tickets, we booked another night at the hotel and we decided to really take the day to enjoy Vienna! And it didn't matter that it was pouring down rain!
Needless to say, the flight that we booked did fill up a bit more by the next day. However, there were still over 20 seats open. We found out later on that there were over 60 flights canceled from Munich to Mallorca for 2 days straight, hence our predicament. Therefore the passengers were rerouted on the flights that we had planned on taking. And even though, we ended up spending more money than we had budgeted and were extremely frustrated and felt stranded, we decided to take a different approach to our situation. We embraced the fact that we were “stuck” in a foreign place that wasn't on our program and made the best out of it. And instead of being angry and bitter about our circumstances, we took the time placed before us and enjoyed every second of what would have most likely been a place that we would not have visited otherwise or perhaps well into the future. And in the process, not only were we as adults challenged to think more positive and improve our patience, our kids were also being taught in those areas as well!
Vienna was absolutely wonderful and we were so very thankful to have been sidetracked giving us the chance to indulge in the history and beauty of such a wonderful city!
With Love and Blessings!
David and Robin
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