Charleroi shock – and all my fault

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A story that’s short but not sweet.

After a very happy, though brief, stay in Brussels, I headed back to Charleroi on Sunday for my flight to Marrakech. I’d been getting email reminders to check in, but when I tried, I’d get a message that I couldn’t complete check in online. Off I went with plenty of extra time.

At first, I got in a line that turned out to be for security, though it was right in front of airline agents and looked like a check-in crowd to me. Okay. Now the agent at the window asks if I haven’t got my boarding pass. No, I said, the app said I couldn’t get it online. She looked things up and said, well, of course, you’re too early. Hmm, three hours is hardly too early. Ah. Oops. She’s saying, “You’re booked on Sunday, March 5, but this is Sunday, February 5.” Yes, I knew that second part. Overlooked the first.

Off to a sales agent and twenty minutes or more of great anxiety. One seat left, he claimed, and he worked on his terminal while I worried it would be snatched away by someone at some other terminal somewhere. I don’t buy flex fares. I did hope that my luggage fees would transfer. Apparently not. First ticket down the drain. Nothing to do but pay whatever the price and get on my way. Go back to town? Wait days, Schengen days, for a cheaper flight? Would make no sense, extra lodging, lose my Marrakech booking, … There was no question in my mind that I must go ahead.

New ticket in hand, I had to get in that security line, but now it was out the door way behind me, and I was even more anxious that I’d miss the flight. I asked to pass ahead of people with later flights, and moved up a bit, but it was a very slow process there. I felt a little calmer when I finally encountered others booked to Marrakech, and I then stopped trying to move ahead. But the signs showing the gate was closing were scaring me. We did all make it, but it was just in the nick of time. What a stressful evening! And this was just the beginning. Read about my arrival and my first night!

The outcome? I’d paid US$101.31 for my original Plus fare, giving me a checked suitcase. Now I had to pay US$325.85 for the new ticket with luggage. Aside from being interested in seeing a bit of Morocco – of course – this month was planned to be a cheap period out of Schengen, to balance off expenses in France and my opera weekends. $325 was about what I expected to pay for lodging the entire month. I remain disgusted with myself for making such a brainless mistake and incurring such an unnecessary and exaggerated expense. Bad Pat, very bad.

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