Day Minus 2

Or is it Minus 1?

Well, I’ve just arrived at my hotel in San Francisco in preparation for OOW after a reasonably uneventful (but long) journey, for those of you travelling out who are still wondering what to pack (weather-wise), I landed at 1:30pm and it was absolutely gorgeous weather, nice and sunny and around 72 degrees.

Actually I say it was an uneventful journey, however…I had to get a connecting flight from Manchester (UK) to Heathrow and then get a connecting flight from Heathrow direct to San Francisco. When I got to manchester airport (around 6am UK time on the 20th) there were queues of hundreds of people waiting to check in for lots of different flights, so for the first time ever I decided to try and use one of the ‘Self Service Check In’ machines to try and skip the huge queues….what a mistake that turned out to be.

If you’ve never seen one before, these machines are similar to a typical ATM machine, you put in your credit card you used to make the original booking, you then punch in a few details (like ‘did you pack your own cases’) and then it dispenses your boarding tickets…that’s the theory anyway.

I put in my credit card, waiting about 3 minutes and get an HTTP-404 error (it’s using a webbrowser connecting to their backend system)….hmmmm good start. Try again…same result.

So, I shuffle 4 feet to the right and try another machine, this time it works…or so I thought, it got right to the last step (i.e. the issuing of the boarding tickets) and I get a ‘Timeout Error’. Hmmm try again….

Ok this time I put my card in again and it says “Sorry…you are already checked in”. Errrr, but I have no boarding cards.

I’m obviously the first person this has ever happened to, since it seemed to cause chaos with the British Airways Staff, since nobody really knew how to re-issue boarding tickets to someone who was already checked-in. So, I’m standing next to the machine with a member of staff who is pressing various buttons (but I could tell her heart wasn’t really in it), all in the vain hope of getting some boarding tickets from a machine that didn’t want to give me any. All the time this is gone, I had one eye on the queue of people who were checking in the ‘convention way’ (i.e. by talking to a human) wishing I’d done the same.

Anyway, to cut a long (and not particularly interesting!) story short, they resorted to the good old fashioned method of removing me entirely from the checked in passenger list and then adding me back in again, which of course then caused more chaos because the flight was showing as overbooked and they couldn’t find a seat to allocate me to, obviously my suggestion of “can’t you just use my original seat?” was just outright crazy.

So, I’m here now…in San Francisco, looking forward to OpenWorld getting underway.

Right…time to start unpacking!

One thought on “Day Minus 2

  1. Maxim

    It is really funny story ( of course, it was probably not so funny for you in the
    airport ;-). One suggestion – check-in machines have identified you as the person
    who will write the software which will replace their actual buggy stuff and this was
    simple act of revenge ?



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