This time last year I was attending an exhibition in Amsterdam. As flights between London and Amsterdam are very frequent I was only on a day trip – then things started to go wrong!
The plan was to take the first plane out from London City to Amsterdam Schiphol, get a taxi to the exhibition, grab some lunch, continue with some meetings, and then take a taxi back to the airport and home. Because of this I had no bag, and only the clothes I was currently wearing.
The day started off ok and, travelling with a colleague, we arrive in Amsterdam Schiphol on schedule. Making our way out to the taxi rank I was amazed to see all of the taxis were Tesla cars. Turns out that the airport was in the process of banning petrol and diesel cars and so there were incentives for the drivers to upgrade to electric. The drive to the Amsterdam RAI exhibition halls took only about 10 minutes in light traffic. After the day at the exhibition we proceeded to head back to the airport. Checked in, went through security, and headed to the lounge – I get free lounge access for myself and a guest with by Amex credit card, and its a perk that can come in very useful.
We had about an hour before our flight was due to depart when I got a text message saying the flight was delayed. Checking the departures board there were no delays shown, and then suddenly all the flights to UK airports started showing either delays or cancellations. Our flight was still saying it was running, but would be 2 hours behind schedule. Checking the news sites, it appears that a big storm was disrupting all flights over the UK. The 2 hours came and went. The flight was now showing an extra hours delay, and then it switched to cancelled 😒.
Fortunately we had decided to fly KLM and with Schiphol being their home airport, they were very organised. We were directed to some automated booths where we scanned our boarding passes. Then it informed us that we would get free accommodation and food, and allowed us to select a flight for the next day. Because of the major disruptions affecting thousands of passengers, the first flight we could get was the next evening. The automated booth printed out new boarding passes, and vouchers for a hotel and transport to get there. My collegue and I were on different bookings so we were allocated different hotels. This was ok as we agreed to meet up in the morning and find a place to work in the centre of Amsterdam.
I took a special bus to my allocated hotel – part of the Van Der Valk chain – and checked in. The receptionist gave me an amenity pack of toothbrush, toothpaste, razor etc., and I purchased a phone charger. The hotel was running a special menu for airline disruptions and I chose a cheeseburger and a diet coke. The room was really large and the bed very comfortable.
Next day I took an Uber to meet up with my colleague and we walk around Amsterdam in search of places we could hold our various conference calls. To avoid disturbing customers at one cafe for too long, we moved around, and this provided a great opportunity to see some of Amsterdam.
There are some amazing things to do in Amsterdam, such as cruise the canals, visit the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh museum, and lots more. Unfortunately I did not get to do any of this as I had lots of meetings to dial into. However I did get to walk around a bit.
I really enjoyed walking through the various flower shows and cheese emporiums. Alongside blubs for general garden varieties they were also opening selling seeds and grown cannabis (legal in Amsterdam) – I did not partake.
Nearly every street led to another canal, with the centre of the city laid out like a partial octogen of canals.
In the early evening it was back to the airport where I was glad to get access to the lounge again, exhausted, but pleased that I had got to see some of Amsterdam.
Have you ever been stranded during a trip abroad. What did you get up to? Let me know in the comments.