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Missing Connections - Flying out to join a ship

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  • Missing Connections - Flying out to join a ship

    For inexperienced travellers, missing a connection can be one of your worst fears. Worrying won't resolve the problem, so you literally have to sit back and go with the flow.

    Firstly, the tickets that seafarers are booked on, tend on the most part to be special 'SEMN' tickets which provides several benefits including extra baggage for the seafarer, but also it means that until you actually step on the plane, the ticket is fully refundable to the shipping company. Another benefit is that you tend to be less likely to be offloaded if a plane is overbooked.

    If you do find yourself at the airport and the flight is clearly going to be considerably late, and you think it will mean that you will end up missing your ship, give the company a quick call, because it might give them an opportunity to rebook you onto another flight. Many of the bigger companies have dedicated 24/7 emergency travel numbers for this.

    OK, the next step is if your flying for instance London - Singapore - Sydney, and you find that your plane is late and you will miss your connection in Singapore, don't worry. Firstly the airline knows that you are going to miss the connection, with most airlines the computer system has already rebooked you onto the next flight, and made hotel arrangements if thats necessary. When you arrive at Singapore (just an example), look around after landing for someone with a clipboard, or someone holding up your name or connecting flight number. These people are the handling agents, and normally wait at the end of the jetway to assist you providing you with food vouchers, rebooking options and hotel arrangements. There is nothing you can do at this point other then go with the flow, if your going to miss your ship, so be it. The shipping companies are used to this happening, whilst its fairly rare, its happened before and they know that you just have to go with the flow. Drop your company a call, let them know your new arrangements, and they'll tell you what to do from then on.

    One thing when you are rebooked, is to check on your baggage. Even if your put in a hotel overnight, your baggage problem isn't going to be available to you (but do check). Also whenever you check in for a flight you have a baggage reciept, this has a bar code reference number, and you need to ensure that the handling agent has assigned this to your new flight. Sometimes they forget to do this and you bags are left behind in Singapore.

    If you arrive in your destination and your bags haven't arrived, goto the baggage desk and they will trace them.

    If you arrive in your destination, and can't find the agent, then make sure you have that telephone number that was given on your joining letters by the company to help you get in touch with him. Sometimes you can end up spending hours at the airport waiting for agents....

    Above all, flying can be fraught with delays, hassles and complications, but don't get stressed and worried. Go with the flow and even if you miss the ship, its out of your control. So just keep the company informed.

  • #2
    Some really good advice there AM. By the time we have finished with all the advice on what to take, what to lose, how to get there and all the rest these new cadets will be able to do it blindfolded!

    Thank you.

    "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
    "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

    "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.


    • #3
      Aye, again that happened to me. I didn't miss my connection as such, my company just booked me to fly to the wrong part of China (I didn't think any different of it, thought it was maybe the name of the airport, Check in desk didn't correct me and was actually about roughly 3000 km away from where I needed to be). At first I did the silly thing and was really panicky, especially as our shipping agent just basically told me to "find my own way there" and then hung up on me! Well, first off, being in a place where I don't speak the language and not knowing the geography (I was in the middle of Mainland China did not help and the phones there just were not playing nice with me (luckily I had some local currency). I eventually called home, they tried looking for flights for me, couldn't find anything so I eventually thought "Thats it, I'll bite the bullet and call the company" who were actually rather good with me. They instantly booked me onto another set of flights (no direct one to where I was going) and I flew out 45 minutes later. Not a particularly pleasent travelling experience but I did learn to relax and just go "**** it, I'll make it, if not I'm on the next one".

      However, nowadays, if an agent does that to me, I'd make damn sure he knew what bloody hit him when I caught up with him (I was a bit meeker as a cadet)....
      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.


      • #4
        Everyone will eventually miss flights or have flights cancelled while you are en-route... my advice is get a credit card for emergency use! (Preferably Visa since it's accepted everywhere without problem).

        If it happens to you in a foreign country and you have no agents available, then simply phone your company's travel number & tell them whats happened - they will normally tell you to book into a hotel near the airport and they'll call you back within an hour or so. For this reason its nice to have a credit card for emergency use - yes your company will refund you, but its better if the cash doesn't come out your account!

        You may also find that the airline has cancelled your flight for some reason (in my case EVERY TIME I FLY HOME AT CHRISTMAS I end up in London with no onward flights to Scotland because of make believe snow). First thing is try to call your company (if its christmas their probably shut so plan b). If you can't get in touch with your company and the airline are being useless (I shan't name them - but my twitter followers will know who I am referring too since its happened twice to me so far) don't panic - get on the internet - or phone home and get them to do it for you, find if anyone is flying from the airport you are in and then just book yourself onto it. Then when you get home send a strongly worded email to your company explaining you got abandoned and attach the receipt - most will refund it without question.

        Another handy tip: If you find yourself at Terminal 5 and all hell has broken out - don't bother waiting in the queue, get your phone and call Customer Service and they'll rebook you over the phone.

        Also, if your connecting at Terminal 5 to another UK destination and you find you arrive really early - and have lots of time before your next flight - have a wonder to the customer services desk in the check in hall (or in the flight connections centre) and ask if its possible to switch to an earlier flight - so far every time I have asked they have happily done it.
        ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

        ? Mark Twain
        myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


        • #5
          So much information... My aide memoire is going to be novel sized by the time I fly out to my first ship!
          "Crazy like wild wolves threatened by fire, send them all to the bottom of the sea."