In four weeks' time, we are off on a skiing holiday to La Plagne in the French Alps.
I know, I know...I lead a charmed life of sabbatical decadence. I do.
But today I'm not in the mood to appreciate. And if you read on, perhaps you'll see why:
La Plagne is 2 hours by car from the nearest airport of Chambery. Considering Benjamin's rather severe motion sickness, a 2 hour drive on small, mountainous roads is not perfect (perfect would be ski-in/ski-out privileges from our house here in Norway). But it beats a 3-4 hour car ride, which was our alternative.
In addition, the airport of Chambery offers a direct flight to/from Oslo, Norway. Again, better than many of our other options, which require stopovers in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris or even London.
Whenever we book flights, our primary concern is cutting down on travel time. Benjamin tolerates a couple of hours reasonably well, but he seems to hit a wall at the 2 hour mark, and after that things go downhill quickly. As in lots and lots of being sick. It's messy, stressful and, most of all, terribly unpleasant for him.
That's why we thought La Plagne was a good choice for skiing. Our flight from Oslo leaves at 8:30 am, and we get into Chambery three hours later. Two hours on the road, and we might even make it to the hotel for lunch. Benjamin has the afternoon to recover before hitting the slopes the next day. We have time to buy our lift tickets, book ski lessons/ski school, and even enjoy a nice dinner. French food. Yum.
So imagine my mood when, two months ago, an email dumps into my inbox, with big, bold, ominous letters:
"Time Change to your Flight"
A quick glance through the "We are sorry, blah, blah, blah...inconvenience...yeah, yeah, yeah...change to departure time."
Scroll further down...to see that they have pushed our departure time back by 10 hours! What?? We are now leaving Oslo at 6:30 pm. Look, I can handle an hour or two, but 10 hours is an entire day lost!
I immediately went onto their website, and I searched through other airlines' websites for hours. Only to confirm what I already knew. This is the only airline that offers a direct connection to Chambery from Oslo, and this is their only depature a week. There's no alternative, no choice. Not unless we are willing to do stopovers.
So we changed everything. Booked another car to pick us up in C'hambery. There'll be no getting in mid-day now, we'll be lucky to get in the right side of midnight. This sucks big time. The kids will be totally groggy and cranky the next morning, when the ski school starts.
But what sucks even more is that the return flight has also been pushed back 10 hours. We are now leaving Chambery at close to 10 pm.
Given how hotels usually ask you to clear out of your room before noon, we will have the entire day to do nothing. Sure we can, and probably will, ski. Because who doesn't love changing out of your wet and yucky ski clothes in the public bathroom off the lobby in a cramped ski hotel? With kids? Fun times!
At the end of that fun day, we'll arrive in Oslo at 30 minutes past midnight. And you know the privilege of clearing snow off a car that's been parked in the outdoor parking lot for a week? Well, imagine doing it at 1 am with two children in tow?
That's almost as great as having to drive another 1.5 hours home afterwards. Woo-hoo!
But since we are still looking at 5 hours of travel time - just at nasty, nasty hours - there's no point in changing anything. And we may even luck out and the boys will sleep on the flight home. Benjamin can't get sick when he's sleeping, so who knows? A silver lining?
So these last few weeks I've been trying to get into the mood again. Working my way back to looking forward to this trip. It's going to cost us a fortune, and I want to enjoy it.
Until I saw this in my inbox last week:
It actually took me a few minutes to work up the courage to open it, and when I did, at first I couldn't see any changes:
1730 from OSL to CMF 2115
2155 from CMF to OSL 0135
But then it dawned on me. They added another hour to the flying time. We are now leaving Oslo an hour earlier, but still arriving at the same time.
Did France move without telling me?
I threw myself on phone to customer service.
[Wait, wait, wait.]
Finally, a human voice. "Ma'am, you are travelling during peak hours of the day, when the air space is full, so we've essentially had to add extra time to just circle."
Hmm...I really don't understand that little dinky Chambery airport can be that busy. Heck, I couldn't even find another flight in. And Oslo Airport is not busy at 1:30 am, I can promise you that. But she insisted.
Fine! Maybe she can sit next to Benjamin as we circle the airport for the 57th time.
The bottom line is that we've now added another hour onto our travel time. Two more vomits, by my count. Not to mention the fact that we'll be arriving back in Oslo at 1:30 am, and at our house no earlier than 4 am. So there's Sunday gone, too.
Back to getting into the mood. It's going to be fun. Fun. FUN! I.Am.Going.To.Love.It. Forget about the travel time. Who cares?
[Phone rings this morning at 9 am]
...an hour has been added to the flight time to allow for a stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden. We are sorry.