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Global Brand Communications & Measurement Executive, Amadeus IT Group
It had all started two days earlier when my university lecturer said the words, ‘Class dismissed!’ for the last time in my Master’s degree in the South of France. Hooray! I can hear you say, ‘It was then time to celebrate, no?’ Not quite. My final day in Nice consisted of me hastily packing 5 suitcases (Yes, you heard me, 5!), and running around the city at midnight trying to find a friend who could lend me a weighing scale. My journey started bright and early the next morning with me taking only two of those packed suitcases with me to a taxi (One of only two times I had ever dared to take a cab in the eye-wateringly expensive, yet beautiful, region of the Cote d’Azur)
As I was sitting at the platform in Madrid’s Atocha train stationwith my mountain of suitcases, I thought back about the events of the last few days that had brought me to that very spot, where I was now waiting for the train to take me to my new city for a new job in a new country. You see, this was by no means the first stage of my journey, a journey that had made me move 15 times across 3 different countries and 5 cities over the last 5 years. Yet, it was one of the most challenging ones, as my journey would be a multi-modal trip and would need to be perfectly connected.
‘Well that was a nice story. She got a cab to the airport and flew to Barcelona to start her new job. The end?’ Think again. Upon my arrival at Antibes train station my suitcase decided it had had enough of my abuse over the last 4 years and just popped open whilst flinging the zip in the direction of an innocent passer-by. A nice gentlemen ran over to help me, which really did make my day. Once on the train, I had a pleasant 2-hour journey to Marseille. When I got there, I hopped on a bus to Marseille airport, again with my two cases in tow and another lovely gentleman helping me with the bag. I was doing pretty well. Upon my arrival at the airport I had a relatively smooth although delayed experience which brought me to Madrid. Finally! I was at last in the country where my new job was, although I was 2 days early and with a wedding and another train journey ahead of me.
A beautiful Spanish wedding ensued once I managed to sleep off my travel fatigue. Despite it not being a long-haul flight, carrying two suitcases around, each weighing around 40kg, has a similar effect to jet lag on you. I woke up the following day with the realisation that one, I was late, and two, I had actually forgotten to buy my train ticket to my final destination. Not my smartest decision! Luckily, we live in an age where tickets can be purchased hours before trains depart and you can store your e-tickets in passbooks on your smartphone. At that time, however, yours truly owned a poor excuse for a smart phone which would not load my e-ticket, resulting in me walking around the train station with my laptop open (without an internet connection) hoping that a railway employee would take pity on me and let me on. After some heavy gesticulating and some shockingly effective Spanish phrases (which to this day I still don’t know if they were effective or just offensive) I managed to get to my platform and start contemplating my entire journey then.
Looking back at this journey nearly two years later, I can safely say that it wasn’t a move from hell, but it was indeed complex and stressful. I am struck by how much easier my life would have been if I had just gone to a travel agent to book my connections. Or better still, if I had had one online platform where I could have stated that I was leaving from a specific place, and which would be open to numerous modes of transport, with smooth connections in between. Booking and then going on an adventure that would eventually bring me me to Spain was stressful, to say the least, but with a little more preparation on my side and support from a multi-modal travel provider I do believe I would have had a far smoother journey. Although I would have one story less to tell at dinner parties!
We asked Amadeus employees to share their travel experiences and thoughts on personalised, connected and sustainable travel. You can check out all their responses in the Summer blogs tag page.