Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why Frequent Travellers Should Have Two Credit Cards..

...or more.

Last week, there was a news report in Holland that hackers had broken into a data account of a Dutch bank, getting hold of -- among other things -- the credit card numbers of several thousands of people. Specifically Visa and MasterCard holders. I think that was on Wednesday. Those whose credit card numbers had been hacked would be informed.

I heared nothing, until Friday afternoon, when I returned from work, and there was a message on my answering machine. It appeared that my Visa card number was amongst those hacked (well, the helpdesk man wouldn't admit it, but it's not coincidence, I tell you, as I've had this card for about twenty years with no problems whatsoever), so it was blocked. Well, my flight to Australia was the next day noon, so there was no possibility that I could get a new one before I left Holland.

It's exactly for these occurances of Murphy's Law that a frequent traveller needs a second credit card (also handy when the first is maxed out in expensive countries like Japan).

It was one of these things.

The second screwup happened en route to Australia: I had checked in for the flight, saw that the first boarding pass (to Kuala Lumpur, as I was flying with Malaysia Airlines) was fine, but I only glanced at the second one to Melbourne, assuming that it was OK, as well.

Never assume that.

In my new job as a trainer I only travel about 3 to 4 times a year (in contrast to almost constantly when I was a service engineer), and I'm losing some of my travel routines, such as *always* carefully checking *all* your boarding passes.

Just before the plane landed in Kuala Lumpur, I noticed that I didn't have a barding pass for the connecting flight to Melbourne of 4 hours later, as was booked and confirmed, but one for the evening flight 16 hours later (and the ground staff in Amsterdam failed to tell me this, as well. Probably didn't notice, either: just printed out the passes). So the next 3 and a half hours in Kuala Lumpur were spent getting myself on the correct flight, which barely worked out.

Still, I was finally relaxing when the plane took off on the last leg of the trip, and even more so when we landed in Melbourne and my sister picked me up.

But, as you can see, there's a reason why I stopped my previous job: I just got very weary of the constant travelling, and all the harassment it brings. And you have to pay attention to everything, otherwise an airline company stealthily tries to move you to another flight when they've overbooked their flights.

Even when you have a business class ticket.

1 comment:

JamieB said...

Jetse, you have my sympathies. Worst part of travelling for business for me is having to surrender control of the arrangements. "We've booked your ticket -- you can pick it up you when you check-in." "I'd rather have it in my hands before then, thanks." "No, no, it's better this way."

Yeah, right. I had to go to Beijing on business a few weeks back, and there was no ticket waiting for me at check-in. The airline (Air China) did eventually print out a new ticket for me, but they didn't get it to me until after I had boarded the plane, which gave me palpitations.

Nice trip, though: business class travel, and, my second day there, I got my first look at a nuclear reactor -- dinky little thing it was, submerged in a pool of water and haloed in Cherenkov Radiation. "Don't go towards the light!" :-)