En route to Geneva

Finally, today’s the day I’m flying out for my long-awaited adventure around Mont Blanc, and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried! I’ve been packing and organising all week in anticipation, and I even got to squeeze in one last climb yesterday with my friend Jess, who baked me about 10kg worth of trail snacks that I have secretly been eating already.

But I’ve also been moderately apprehensive for weeks about how close together all my connecting flights are and the number of different airlines that will have the opportunity to lose my bag. This wouldn’t ordinarily trouble me, but I am traveling immediately from Geneva to Les Houches and then I need a few hours in the hotel to organise my pack and get stuff from Katy’s bag so that I’m ready to start walking first thing the next day. I don’t want to spend days waiting around for a lost bag! And I haven’t had the best luck lately..

Naturally, I wake up this morning to an email from Air China saying that the first leg of my flight has been delayed 3 hours, which means I’ve already missed both connections onto Geneva. I have to wait several anxious hours for the call centres to open, but even after 2 cumulative hours of listening to hold music for all the airlines involved in my trip, it is not looking like there will be an easy solution.

As a last ditch effort to avoid buying a whole new flight, I ring up the 3rd party website that I bought tickets from, expecting little help, but the lady on the line tells me she’s actually already working on a solution for me since she was notified of the delay. She says she’ll call me back after she speaks to the airline for me, and then I get a series of calls from her throughout the next few hours detailing the ever-changing options.

First, I’m on 2 new flights from Beijing to Geneva that will get me in 4 hours later than the original ticket, but that’s not a complete disaster. Then she calls back to let me know that the Air China flight is now delayed until tomorrow, so she is looking to replace the entire ticket. I’m in a pretty fresh panic and just sitting down to lunch when she calls back to ask if I can fly at 350pm today on an entirely new itinerary. It’s about 1pm and I’m still home in Wollongong, 100km from Sydney, and Cal isn’t even home from work to drive me to the airport, but I say I’ll do it and start making frantic calls to friends. Luckily, my first call is to Ben, who drops his shopping and immediately runs over to drive me to the airport, our other friend Prim in tow.

Driving like his life depends on it, Ben gets me to the airport in positively record time and I’m not even sweating it anymore when I get one last call, saying I’m booked on a 605pm flight.

It would be really nice to just once have a smooth flight experience when going overseas, but of course that is never the reality for me. At least my bags make it all the way through to Geneva and I enjoy one of the best flights of my life where they serve ice cream for dessert.

Ice cream on a plane! What a time to be alive.