This year’s KDE conference was again worthwhile going to. Wish I had been able to stay longer. Talks were good and seeing familiar and new faces proved to be very nice again. I might be in the minority but in my opinion the initial lack of an Internet connection was a good thing. It made people talk to each other or closely listen to a presentation rather than staring at their screen and using IRC to chat with people elsewhere or inside the same room.
Everything would have been perfect if I would not have to add three more people to the list of those that commenced their stay by filing a Property Irregularity Report at Glasgow Airport.
Frerich, Rob and I started our trip in Hamburg with being stuck in the plane still at the departure gate for ages because of some missing papers. Some computer system was down. The word baggage was mentioned. Little did we know and naively joked about the typical sonorous voice of the pilot trying to explain the situation. I don’t want to go into detail about later computer failures in Amsterdam that were responsible for the lack of a bus picking us up from plane or a 100 meter line of travelers waiting for the passports to be checked. What counts in the end is that we arrived and our baggage did not.
The web page showing the status of our irregularity report was useless. So were all those hotlines that were either down, kicked me out because of “unforeseen technical difficulties” or referred me to other hotlines. Great new world of call center agents repeating their trained “Sorry, I can’t help you” line and deferring responsibility to someone else. Great airlines and airports that pretend to shoulder more traffic than they can. After going round in circles once or twice one can’t do anything but resign and do some Yoga to lower one’s blood pressure.
The aKademy merchandise solved the clean shirt problem at least. How about a KDE toothbrush for next year?
With our luggage still missing the day we headed back to the airport carrying plastic bags containing our newly purchased hygiene and underwear belongings. I was destined to not throw away those tubes of toothphase and shaving cream at a security check! We insisted on checking our bags in and after some bewilderment of airport personnel were allowed to do so at the oversize luggage belt.
Once returned it only took half a dozen more phone calls and days of waiting but finally we all have our stuff delivered back to us! It had been split and travelled back and forth over the Channel. Those guys driving their burning car into the airport building must have been through a similar ordeal. I do not approve of what they did but I got a glimpse of circumstances that can make man very desperate …