Not-so-pleasent trip to Madrid

Author: Tom  |  Category: Travel Stories

Some time ago, I had an unfortunate business trip to wonderful Madrid, that I feel an urge to share. My plan was to take a direct train from Linköping to Copenhagen airport, Kastrup, and then a  Spanair flight to Madrid. I could spend some time working on the train, have lunch and  arrive and check in at Kastrup. Nice and convenient… I thought. Before I got on the train, there was four announced delays, first 2 minutes, then 2 more,  then 5 minutes etc etc. Eventually my X2 shows up and I got on. On board, the internet conection was intermittent and I could not complete my mail syncronization, it kept on timing out. Complaints was disregarded and my PC was blamed. In the middle of my lunch, getting close to Malmö. Another announcement was made that I had to switch train at Malmö. I had to send the rest of my lunch in the bin, quickly shut down my computer and collect my things. Since there had been additional dealays along the trip, I was now short on time and had to rush to catch the commuter to Kastrup. Shame on you, SJ! I do prefer by going by train, but with this treatment of customer I see no benifit.

Getting on to the Spanair flight, I soon find out that I was double booked. Ending up in a middle seat in Economy, i.e. nothing to eat and no drinks except lukewarm coffee I tried to get some sleep. The thing with Spanair is that their seats seems to be designed to fit midgets. There is no way to get a sleep without breaking the neck. Ouch!

Finally, arrived at Barajas. I followed the signs to baggage claim and waited… and waited..and waited. No bags for me. I turned to the missing baggage counter and was told that there had been a problem with the electric signs, but there was a guy at the gate, telling people where to go, she added. Unfortunately, it turned out that guy spoke only Spanish. So here I was, at the wrong terminal, I had to exit the security zone and get back into the other terminal. Aarrgh.

Eventually, I got my bag and after asking around for an ATM and Taxi stand, I escaped the airport.  BTW, I had an very nice stay in Madrid with yummy Tapas.

Leaving for Madrid…

Author: Nick  |  Category: Copenhagen [Kastrup], Spanair, Stockholm [Arlanda], Travel Stories

I woke up this morning, slightly late, looking forward to a short business trip to Madrid, at least short from a distance perspective. My route was based on a train journey from Linköping to Stockholm, then to catch a flight to Copenhagen and transfer in Copenhagen to a flight to Madrid, pretty simple. Well, it didn’t start out that good.

My first mistake was trying to change my train ticket in the last minute. I noticed that our travel agency didn’t book the kind of ticket they was suppose to do. So I called them up about 15 minutes before the train was about to leave, and asked them to change the ticket. The finally did, and I picked up a new ticket in the machine at the train station.

The train to Stockholm was 30 minutes late before even leaving Linköping, and this was just the beginning. When the train finally arrived, 30 minutes late I was freezing after having waited outside in 2 degrees Celsius. I got on the train and was looking forward for a nice ride up to Stockholm, spent with a book. Unfortunetly it turned out to be someone already occupying my seat. I thought he was on the wrong seat, but it turned out that the travel agency re-booked my ticket to the wrong date; my new train ticket was for tomorrow.  Well, not much to do, just to try to find an emtpy seat, which wasn’t possible. I spoke to the personnel on the train, explained the situation, and it turned out to be a fully booked train, so guess what, I had to spend my time in the train restaurant. Not what I was planning. 

Before even getting to the next train station, in Norrköping, we had increased the delay with about 20 minutes. Well this kept happening during the whole journey, up to the situation where the train was 1 hour and 20 minutes late. I was quite bored of drinking coffee and trying to read in a crowded train resturant by the time the train got to Stockholm central station.

Well, I managed to catch a train just 15 minutes later to Arlanda. Checked in and exchanged some money in a hurry, just to be able to get some breakfast at the SAS lounge. The had some really good salmon, which did make the day slightly better. Got me some drinks as well, and then about an hour later I cught the flight to Copenhagen. This went without any bigger problems. FInally I Copenhagen I didn’t have much of time to do something, but I hate to wait, so instead I run by the Diners lounge, which was the closest one. Got me a beer and the straight back, had about 30 minutes in between the flights.

Got on the flight to Madrid, which was with Spainair, not my favourite. The flight was really boring, and it takes almost three hours. The weather in Madrid was poor, so on the way in to Madrid airport we caught some turbulence, which was really bad. The plane was going back and forth, up and down. The pilot was on the way to touch down with the plane when we it caught a really bad side wind, and just with like 20 meters before touching down he had to interrupt the landing and put the enginees on max just to avoid hitting the ground with one of the wings. The plane went very steep back up again in the sky, and we had to make another try, which took about 30 minutes. This time it went better, eventhough it didn’t feel like the pilot had much of margins this time either. This was one of the few times I have heard the crowd cheer and applaud a landing.

Well, after all I got there eventhough it was not a short trip and not an easy one either.