Supposedly, today was a travel day. We'd had our last night on continental Europe and were off early to get to Aberdeen. We'd picked the flight out of Sandefjord without realising, and had had to stay the night here to make it on time, rather than being in Oslo another day. We'd also programmed in a night in Aberdeen to cut down on car rental costs and so that we didn't have to leave the airport and immediately start driving. There were a lot of decisions that had lead to our departure here.
We left Sandefjord fine, and landed in Bergen, on Norway's west coast, with no trouble. It was here that we would transfer planes and then continue to Aberdeen. We had just a few minutes to grab a sandwich before our flight began boarding, and I hurriedly threw the food in my backpack before we were bussed out to the aircraft. As we sat down, a few crew members were wandering into the cabin and speaking to the pilot.
Soon, a technician arrived. The captain announced that there was a fuel light out in the cabin and they were unable to fly until it was repaired. He assured us there was nothing wrong with the system, but the light needed to be working. We sat on the plane for half an hour, and the hostess started to bring around water. More time passed, and the captain announced that the light was jammed into the panel so much that they had to take the ceiling out to replace it. A bus arrived, and we were shuttled back to the terminal. We were allowed out to get food and drink if we wanted.
Another half hour passes. The terminal staff eventually come around and offer us 100 Norwegian crowns to spend on food as an apology. We exit through passport control, but with little to choose from end up just grabbing a whole slew of Mentos, chocolate bars, chips and other snack food. As we reach the cash register, an announcement comes on to say that the captain has it sorted and we can depart. We return through passport control (which is at the gate, not separate), and prepare to exit to the bus again. Then the poor guy gets informed that all is not well, and has to tell the people that just corralled in that it will be delayed again. I laugh.
By now, it's nearing four o'clock, and our plane was meant to leave before 1pm. Eventually, we hear the inevitable: it's cancelled. We exit the terminal, pick up our bags, and race down to the ticket counter to look for alternatives. While queuing in line, I find an alternative route on my phone through TripIt. As others return, they are saying there is no flight out today. I ask at the desk about my route - a perfectly valid connection that would get us to Aberdeen that night. The man responds that the airline doesn't have a ticket share agreement and cannot put us on the flight. Sigh.
After getting the man to call our accomodation in Aberdeen and cancel, we get taxi fares to the hotel that we will be put up in for the night. So here we are, in Bergen, Norway. An unexpected stopover and in fact, hopefully, fingers crossed, the real final night on the continent. Dinner was included, and the place isn't too bad, but we're nowhere near the city and not willing to spend money to go visit.
I had further headaches trying to get the accomodation to confirm a refund. We had booked through Hotels.com, which has a simple cancel button for upcoming trips. The email we had received and the live booking screen itself said that the cutoff for refunds was a 7pm, but I couldn't see a button. I called customer service, in India of course, and they insisted that refunds ended at 4pm on the day. They even sent an email stating that time. My email confirmation, and their website was still showing 7pm, and so they refused to say for sure that we would get refunded.
I mean, it'd all be covered by travel insurance anyway, but when your own damn customer support is telling you something you've never seen, and your own damn website is still showing a 7pm cutoff, which we were well before, there's a problem. I emailed them my confirmation email and the screen capture of the live bookings page. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Speaking of which, tomorrow will be quite a day. We leave the hotel at 7am for an early flight, get into Aberdeen, pick up the car, drive for three hours down to Edinburgh, check in, and then head out to three Fringe shows that night. It's going to be a big one. Here's hoping all goes smoothly.