Traveling to Sardegna (and back)

This summer we went for 12 days to Capo Coda Cavalo in Sardegna and stayed at the apartment of a friend. The flights, booked online at brusselsairlines.com, (but as we soon found out, operated by Lufthansa) were with a stopover in Munich.

The problems started even before the day of departure: we tried checking in online in order to print the boarding passes, but the website wouldn’t let us do that, without any indication on the source of the problem. We didn’t think this was a big deal, as we had to drop off a luggage anyway. Upon reaching the check-in counter and explaining that we didn’t have our boarding passes yet, they sent us off to check-in ourselves at the automated Lufthansa check-in counters available at Brussels airport. There we had the same problem as at home. We went back to the counter and explained our troubles. After investigating briefly, the nice lady found out what the problem was: the tickets of Beatrice and myself were not registered in the system as «e-tickets» but as «paper tickets». That was why we couldn’t check-in online. After 30 seconds the problems was solved, we took our boarding passes and went to the gate.

Flying with Lufthansa was a great experience: very polite and professional personnel, unlimited refreshments (even wine) onboard, they offered us pillows & blankets, they even gave Beatrice a small toy. Munich airport was an equally fulfilling experience: free wifi for 30′, free (unlimited) coffee, free newspapers, big interactive airport map with directions to chosen shops. They have even placed a chair next to each available electrical socket, so you can sit comfortably while charging your phone and tweeting about how awesome Munich Airport is 🙂

The trip back was much more of an adventure: again unable to check-in beforehand, but this time they were unable to fix the problem at Olbia airport. They managed to give us the 1st set of boarding passes, and to send our luggage directly to Brussels, but not the 2nd set of boarding passes, even after numerous attempts, phone calls, etc. Instead, we were told to check into the 2nd flight once in Munich, where we had a razor-thin margin of 55 minutes between the 2 flights!

Soon afterwards we found out that a private jet’s brakes failed while landing and was stuck in the middle of Olbia airport’s only runway. No flights landing or taking off for 4 hours (until they finally managed to move the aircraft out of the runway). In the meantime all incoming flights had been diverted to nearby airports, which meant that the plane that would take us to Munich still had to come to Olbia.

Eventually we left with a 6-hour delay, obviously missing our connecting flight as well as any other flights from Munich to Brussels during that same day. Once in Munich, the Germans once again proved worthy of their fame: a guide was expecting us at the gate in an empty Munich airport (we landed at 22:30), who took the approx. 40-50 of us who had missed their connecting flights to a set of 10-12 open counters who knew exactly our situation and who promptly booked us into the gorgeous Kempinski next door and into a connecting flight of our choice to our destination for the next day.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, but it was a good thing I didn’t have to work the next day…

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