WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, JULY 27TH AND 28TH, 2017 – NASHVILLE BACK TO NORWAY (AGAIN):
No “weather” drama for me this trip as I headed to the airport at 2:30 pm for my flights to Detroit, Amsterdam and ultimately Sandefjord, Norway. Will meet up with Sunny Sweeney and her group in Amsterdam. Stephanie Urbina Jones is also performing and she was at the airport when I arrived. Her group is flying on United through Newark and she was going through what I went through last week with Daryle Singletary. Their flight from Nashville to Newark was delayed due to weather in the New York area and she was going to miss her connection! They got her re-booked and we headed to the gates. I went in the Lounge and answered a few emails and then it was time to board.
Flight from Nashville to Detroit was “uneventful” which is what I like. Had about 1 ½ hours in the Lounge to answer emails and then boarded the flight to Amsterdam. Lots of “kids” in First Class which makes me wonder how people can afford it. And I know they didn’t use miles because Delta never has any seats available for mileage passengers!
I watched a movie – “Triple 9” – and then slept for 2 hours. We landed early but a plane was at our gate and by the time we were able to go to the gate, we were past the time we should have arrived. I headed for the Lounge again to answer some emails and then met Sunny and her group at the gate. Been a long time since I’ve worked with her and it’s always such a pleasure. She is an amazing singer!
We boarded the flight from Amsterdam to Sandefjord and then were told that a bag had to be removed because a passenger didn’t show up. That prompted me to check my Delta App which has a bag tracking device on it. I had checked it when I was in Nashville and it showed that it was tagged and ready to go on the flight to Detroit. Well, I guess someone can’t tell the difference between DTW and LAX because the bag tracker said my bag went to Los Angeles. I was furious. This just happened to me at the end of June in Switzerland and I knew that once again, the airlines would not be able to get the bag delivered to me. It’s amazing to me that my bag is marked “priority” and has the Delta 360 Million Miler bag tag on it, yet they can’t manage to put it on the same flight that I’m taking.
As soon as we landed, I went to KLM customer service. The lady was nice but “honest”. My bag was “on a flight” from Los Angeles to Atlanta and then would be placed on another flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam and not arrive Sandefjord until the same time as our flight today – 4 pm! I asked the lady at KLM if she could guarantee that my bag would be delivered as soon as they received it at 4 pm. She said, “Well this is Summer time and there is a lot of lost luggage. Your hotel is a 2 hour drive from here so we can’t guarantee it will be delivered”. Just like the service in Switzerland…..
She gave me a reference number and a phone number and I asked her if someone would answer the phone if I called tomorrow to check on the flight. Again, she said, “Well, I don’t know. We are very busy here”. I was the only person in line and no one was waiting to talk to her.
Sunny and the group got all their luggage and the mini-bus was waiting for them. It took about 2 hours to drive from the airport to the hotel in Bo. Normally we stay at a different hotel but that hotel has been taken over by the “refugees” pouring into Norway.
I got everyone checked in and we planned to meet for dinner at 7 pm. It was 6:30 pm, so I talked to the hotel and asked them if they could find someone who wanted to make some money and would drive to the airport and pick up my bag tomorrow. Delta reimbursed me for that expense when I had to go to Zurich and pick it up a few weeks ago and I am going to make sure they reimburse me again for this expense. The son of the hotel owner agreed to do it for me, thank goodness. Otherwise, I know I would not see it until we started to fly home! The baggage service that they use, picks up all the lost luggage first thing every day and then takes it around to area hotels and homes. Since mine wasn’t coming in until 4 pm and KLM would not agree to hire a “private” driver to bring it to me – even though Delta had requested Expedited service – I knew I would get it tomorrow.
The hotel has a big, nice outdoor pool and they had grilled meat outside. We sat inside to eat and I think the salad bar was the best part of the meal. There was lots of grilled meat but we couldn’t tell what most of it was.
I came back to the room and am still working at 1:30 am. Going to get up and go to the mall as soon as they open at 10 am. This time I am going to buy everything I need with the assumption that I will not have my bag until we depart Norway. I didn’t do that in Switzerland and it was a mistake!
Poor Stephanie flew from Nashville to DC to Frankfurt to Scotland to Oslo….arriving at 1 am this morning. They will overnight there and drive to the hotel in Bo tomorrow. Someone said DELTA means — Don’t Ever Leave The Airport. I believe it now.
What a day!!!
FRIDAY, JULY 29TH, 2017 – FIRST SHOWS AT SELJORD COUNTRYFESTIVALEN:
To say that it has been an interesting day would be a gross understatement!
Got in bed at 2 am only to have my cell phone ring at 5 am and wake me up. L Then at 6 am, the little “kids” staying at the hotel began running up and down the hallway screaming. Not their fault…I blame the parents.
Had a quick, early breakfast and rushed over to the little mall to buy just the “essentials” to get me by the day. And then I thought, “Nope, that’s what I did in Interlaken and it did not end well”. So I didn’t shop for crappy sale items. I bought a nice pair of jeans and shirt and some tennis shoes and yes SOCKS that aren’t airplane socks with stripes on them. J I bought underwear and cosmetics as well. I took a photo and labeled it hair, makeup, clothes and shoes compliments of Delta Airlines! Went to the ATM and withdrew 3,000 NOK as well.
Got back to the hotel and the manager’s son – Hakon – came by and picked up the Delta baggage receipt and I paid him for going to the airport to pick up my bag for him. The hotel tried calling the phone number that KLM gave me to check on my bag and it was someone’s cell phone number and went straight to voice mail. The desk clerk called around and got the correct number and two of the digits were transposed. They said the person they spoke with at KLM was extremely rude so it must have been the same lady I spoke with yesterday. I feel sure she gave me the wrong phone number purposely.
My Delta App was still showing that the bag was on the flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam but I checked and it landed on time at 8:30 am. I called Delta again before Hakon left for the airport to confirm that the bag was on the flight arriving at 3:55 pm today. They assured me that it was. WRONG. Hakon made the trip for nothing. The next and only other flight from Amsterdam was due to arrive at 11 pm! Hakon said he had a cottage nearby and agreed to stay and wait for the 11 pm flight. I called Delta back and was not very nice to them. They seem to have no idea why my bag is still missing….much like the Switzerland escapade.
Went out to the festival with Sunny and the musicians at 2:45 pm. It had started raining and continued to rain nonstop all night long. L I walked over to the smaller stage to see a group that I had been told were terrific. It was the truth. Their band is called “Get Rhythm” and the lead singer is only 24 years old. The youngest musicians are 18 and look 12! The lead singer sounds like Johnny Cash…maybe better. I shot some video of them and posted on Facebook. I was very impressed!
Sunny’s soundcheck went quickly and they had time for dinner before her quick “Meet and Greet”. The food here is stellar. They cook everything fresh and you have a choice between chicken, salmon, a Mexican type dish and one other entrée but not sure what it was as I was in too much of a hurry to think about asking.
Sunny did her meet and greet and then went on stage at 8:30 pm. Sunny had a great show. It was raining so hard at the beginning that not many people came out of their tents. But, by the time she was about 30 minutes into her show, they started coming out in rain slickers and stayed the entire show. It was a great show, too!
The festival has a Classic Car Show tomorrow so Kjell arranged for us to come back to the hotel in a couple of the classics. Sunny and I both get really car sick if we sit in the back of a van on a winding road, so we asked them to drive slowly since we knew it would be a rough ride.
Stephanie and her band were trying to get to the hotel before the dinner hours were over and they just barely made it. They were rehearsing when we got back to the hotel at around 11:30 pm.
I had been texting Hakon to see if he had my bag and was headed back to the hotel. Guess what? The bag did not come in and no one has any idea “where” it is! I talked to Delta and KLM and no information. The Delta App still says it is on the flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. So, let’s see, that plane has been in the air for almost 36 hours without refueling. WOW! That has got to be a world record!
So, tomorrow morning, I am going shopping for everything else I need to get me through the time I land in Nashville. I just have to make sure that “if” my bag is found and “if” KLM sends it to Sandefjord that they do not try to deliver it. I leave the hotel and go to Sandefjord to spend Sunday night and then fly home very early on Monday morning!
I’ve decided what I’m going to do on my next trip on Delta in a week and a half. I’m only “on the ground” for one full day so I’m going to pack a MASSIVE carry on bag and dare Delta to tell me I can’t carry it on! Then, when I fly back the first of September and stay in Europe for 3 weeks, I’m going to bring a completely empty bag and let Delta lose it. I’ll just go buy new clothes every day and bill it to Delta! Seems fair to me!
Stephanie has two shows tomorrow and Sunny has one. Going to be another long day!
SATURDAY, JULY 31ST – LAST SHOWS AT SELJORD COUNTRYFESTIVALEN:
Interesting “Delta” day –
Had a quick breakfast and shower and NO exercise because I still don’t have my bag. My first call was to the Delta number that I had been given last night by Delta Baggage Claim in the USA. They said it is the number I need to be calling in Norway for assistance. I called and got a recording telling me it was not a working number. I’m beginning to think that everyone associated with Delta and KLM give out non-working numbers just to get the customer off the phone.
Next call was to USA Delta Baggage Claim to tell them about the wrong number. The person helping me this time said he needed to get a really good description of my bag. I gave him full details – 30” tall, weighs 49 pounds, silver “IT” brand, red duct tape all over it, SFS red bag tags and Delta Million Miler bag tags, 8 spinner wheels, etc., etc. Then he asked for a description of the contents which I thought was very strange. But I said, clothes, cosmetics, toiletries, curling iron, meds, umbrella….at which point he interrupted me and said, “What color is your umbrella?”. Without thinking, I said, “You did not just ask me that”! And he said, “Yes, it will help in identifying your bag if we find it but you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to”! So, I said, “Okay –– there are only two scenarios that I can think of playing out here. You find a silver bag with my name all over it and you open it up and look for a black umbrella and if it’s in there, you confirm it’s my bag. But if there is no black umbrella, then my bag just goes to unclaimed luggage for eternity. OR, Delta has this incredible new technology that allows them to track bags by the color of umbrellas located inside them, right?”. The conversation pretty much ended there.
So, I went shopping on “Delta’s dime” again. I bought enough clothes and toiletries to get me back to Nashville. When they lost my bag in Switzerland, I only bought enough for one day believing that they would actually honor their promise to get my bag delivered. They didn’t and by the time I realized this, all the shops had closed and the next day was Sunday when nothing was open. I found 3 little “malls” and managed to pick up some cute clothes and did not even worry about finding “sale” items to save Delta money. Hakon – the young man who had spent the day at the airport area for me yesterday, came by the hotel and I paid him for his time.
Rode over to the festival at 3:45 pm with Stephanie and her guys. She had a sound check first for the main stage then dinner and was the opening act on the festival tonight. Kjell and the folks at Seljord loved her voice and performance so I am “two for two” at this year’s event with Sunny and Stephanie being great performers.
At around 5 pm, I took a chance and called the number that the hotel had found for me for KLM at the Sandefjord airport. Miracle of miracles … my bag had arrived on the 4 pm flight from Amsterdam. I told them to KEEP it and I would pick it up on Sunday and check in back in on Monday so they could lose it again. The lady at KLM said she had 20 passengers on the flight that had just arrived from Amsterdam who had missing bags. Way to go baggage handlers in Amsterdam. My experience with Amsterdam has always been if we have very short connections – like one hour or less – all our bags make the next flight. But if you give them longer than that – 3 hours or more – they lose the bags every time. Maybe it has something to do with all the “Coffee Houses” there!
Sunny and her band arrived at around 7:30 pm and had dinner before she performed on the “Café” Stage at 10:30 pm. Again, a great performance with “true country music” and a fantastic voice. Stephanie went on midnight and performed until after 1 am when they cut her off because of the curfew. Sunny’s group had gone back to the hotel a few minutes after midnight and they had 3 “classic” cars to drive the 6 of them back. When Stephanie was ready to go back, there was only one “classic” car to drive 5 of us and all their instruments back. I should have ridden back with Sunny but wasn’t aware of this arrangement. Kjell was able to talk Jan into driving some of us back in his car. We didn’t arrive back at the hotel until 3 am.
The weather on Saturday was beautiful – sunny and warm and then cooled off considerably that night. It’s always a pleasure working with Kjell and Jan but this year we had the added bonus of working with David Genius. David is going to handle production next year at this event for Brad Paisley as he has worked with Brad previously in Norway.
Stephanie and Sunny made lots of new fans in Norway and I’m sure will be returning on more of my events in the future. Sunny actually performed at this festival many years ago and had so many people stopping by to say hello to her and give her chocolate! J
Great festival….great artists….great friends! The lost bag story will be forgotten but memories of another wonderful event in Norway will last forever.
Stephanie and her group drives back to Oslo today to fly out. I ride to the airport with Sunny and they fly to Amsterdam, spend the night at the airport hotel, and fly home tomorrow. I spend the night at a hotel near the Sandefjord airport and fly home tomorrow.
SUNDAY, JULY 31ST – SELJORD TO SANDEFJORD, NORWAY:
It was a much calmer day today! Had breakfast, packed and Sunny’s group and I left for the Sandefjord airport and Stephanie and her group left for the Oslo airport. It was about 2 hour drive rather than 2 ½ hours because there was no traffic on a Sunday. They actually arrived about 20 minutes before the check-in counter opened for their flight. They will fly to Amsterdam and spend the night then fly home to Houston and Nashville tomorrow. I’m spending the night in Sandefjord (a first for me) and leaving at 6 am tomorrow morning to fly home. Hope to be home by 4 pm Monday afternoon.
I picked up my suitcase and “loved” on it for a while and then our driver dropped me off at a local hotel. Going to spend some quality time with my “things” tonight!!!
The hotel I selected is really nice – the Clarion. They even had my “fan” in my room when I arrived. The lady at the front desk was super sweet. Now that I have my suitcase back, I don’t need the little rolling bag that I bought yesterday just to get the clothes and cosmetics I had to purchase from Bo to Sandefjord. I took it downstairs and asked if she wanted it and she was thrilled. Said she is going on holiday soon and it’s the perfect size for the overhead. Compliments of Delta Airlines. J
I walked around the town and took some photos. The town is on the water and the big “fjord” cruise ships dock here. It’s a really beautiful little town, especially along the water front.
I worked all afternoon and then asked the front desk where the nicest restaurant was. The hotel offers a “complimentary” dinner (can you BELIEVE that?) but it was fish again and I’ve had enough fish for a while. I walked down the street to the place they suggested but it had already closed. There was a “Hong Kong” restaurant across the street from the hotel and they were about the only thing I saw that was open. Went in and had a chicken curry dish (without the rice) and it was very good.
Going to finish up my work, shower and try to be in bed by 10 pm so I can get up at 3:30 am and go to the airport.
MONDAY, AUGUST 1ST – NORWAY TO NASHVILLE:
Didn’t get in bed until midnight and got up at 3:30 am. Was in the lobby at 4:30 am and the taxi arrived at 4:35 am. KLM counter was already open when I arrived at 5 am and check in was easy but I did ask if I should “kiss” my bag good-bye again! They did not find that remark humorous and it wasn’t meant to be.
Landed in Amsterdam on time and bought some “waffles” for the Z’s and then went to the Lounge to answer emails. I did ask the check-in desk to see if they could tell where my bag was but all they could see was that it had been scanned in Sandefjord earlier that morning. I tried again at the KLM check in counter but they also didn’t have any info on it.
Flight was full as usual and I ate, watched one movie that was STRANGE – “10 Cloverfield Lane” and then slept for 2 hours. We landed early but had to wait for a “gate” so I didn’t have a very long layover in Detroit. It’s a quick process to go through Immigration with “Global Entry”. But, then the Delta “priority bags” for “every” flight all come out on a separate belt from where the other bags arrive. I waited and waited and waited and finally saw it coming down the ramp – with 3 wheels instead of 4 wheels. Lovely.
I had about an hour in the Lounge and tried to deal with a homeowner’s warranty that was refusing to cover a plumbing problem which was clearly shown as covered in the agreement. I held for more than an hour and finally just gave up and decided to deal with it when I got home.
We boarded the flight on time and then sat for 45 minutes after being told there was a problem with one of the engines. Supposedly they were going to decide if it could be repaired quickly or if we needed to go ahead and fly with it “as is”. I was not liking the “as is” part. Finally, they came back on and said we were “de-planing” and it would take about an hour to determine “what” was wrong with the aircraft and then they didn’t know how long it would take to find “parts”. I was already on the phone with my travel agent having her book me on the next flight to Nashville. Of course, first class was sold out but at least I had a seat. Went back to the lounge for another hour and then boarded the flight to Nashville.
We landed Nashville early and had to wait 15 minutes to taxi to the gate. Once in the terminal, I asked the Delta Customer Service lady if Delta would cover wheels being broken off luggage. In the past, they have NOT. She was super nice and said “Come with me”. She said I could either take the bag home and then have UPS pick it up and send it in for repair and shipment back to me. If they couldn’t repair it, they would send me a new bag. Or, she had new suitcases on a shelf and asked if I just wanted to take one of those. I found a lightweight case that wasn’t quite as large as mine. I had to take everything out of my bag and transfer to the new bag and leave the old bag with her. Done and I was out of there.
I promise, I am going to have the two largest carryon bags you have ever seen when I go to Denmark in a week and a half. NOT checking a bag for that weekend trip!