No seat assignment available for us on Turkish air…A letter from…

With the midsummer heat, few flowers remain in the gardens.
With our upcoming flight from Venice, Italy to Mombasa, Kenya on September 2nd, arriving 17 hours later on September 3rd, we’d expected to be able to sit together.

When booking the flight several weeks ago, trying to choose our seats for the three legs of the flight, a message popped up stating that seat assignment will be available at a later date, unknown at this point.

As I walked through the gardens, the bees swarmed around me.

The thought of the possibility of that long flight without being able to sit next to one another was frustrating for us both.  Playing Gin and dining together (yes, they serve meals) makes the time pass quickly, an excellent diversion.

Knowing little about Turkish Air other than reviews we read online, we have no idea what to expect.  The reviews varied from “hate them” to “loved the flight” more on the favorable side.  There were few flight options to Kenya.

The honey bees love the lavender, still in its full glory.

Yesterday, concerned about the lack of seat assignments, I contacted from whom we purchased our tickets.  With the usual good customer service, I expected a response within 24 hours.  Within hours, they responded to our request with the following:

"Dear Expedia Customer,  
Thank you for contacting us about your seat requests for your flight reservation. The airline has not made seats available for a pre-assigned seat request at  this time. The airline will assign seats for you when you check in.
Meanwhile, your seat assignment requests have been sent to the airline. Please be advised, that the airline ultimately controls, seat assignments and we cannot guarantee every request will be honored. Confirm your specific requests with the airline before departure.   If this does not answer your question or solve your problem, feel free to reply to this message or  call us at 1-800-EXPEDIA (1-800-397-3342) or 1-404-728-8787 (for callers outside United States and Canada) and reference case ID: ????? Thank you for choosing Expedia.  Dennise Expedia Customer Service Team"

All we can determine from this message is that when checking in at the airport, we’ll have to stand in line, hopefully, early enough to get seats together, which may or may not be possible. Why? Why do it this way?

The shade of the overhanging vines creates a pleasant patio area in our yard.

If their online system is not sophisticated enough to allow seat selection? If that’s the case, are their planes updated and maintained to meet modern standards?

Each time we encounter a possible stress-inducing situation, we develop a back-up plan to ease us through the scenario. In this case, very early arrival at the gate in Venice is our best option. 

However, when we were departing on our last ship, the Norwegian Spirit in Venice, we were warned not to arrive at the airport over three hours before a flight’s departure.  One would not be allowed into the terminal if earlier.

We’ve noted our calendar:  arrive at Marco Polo airport in Venice at 7:30 am on September 2nd, considering our 10:30 am flight. 

A good soaking rain would bring all of the vegetation back to life.  It rains a little a few times a week but not enough during the summer heat in the 90’s each of the past several days.

Also, checking online for information about that airport, we discovered that they have a technology kiosk where we’ll be able to recharge our laptops and smartphones prior to departure.  At this point, we’re unable to determine if any of the three planes we’ll be flying have “plugins” at our seats (what seats?) for recharging digital equipment. 

Having our equipment charged will enable us to read Kindle app books, play games, and of course, write about our travel experience as it transpires, posting it on the blog in real-time.  If the plane doesn’t have plug-ins, we’ll recharge our equipment at kiosks at the two other airports along the way, Istanbul, Turkey, and Nairobi, Kenya, at each of which we’ll have layovers and plane changes.

Plan in place.  Stress reduced. 

The next flight stress inducer is overweight luggage, especially since we don’t want to pay the extra $700 in fees when we flew from Dubai, UAE to Barcelona, Spain. The process of reducing our load has already begun as we’ve disposed of more and more items each week, including making a pile of items we may ship to Kenya, after all. 

In checking with the owner of the house in Diani Beach, he’s agreed to accept a box of items for us.  It will be insured. If it’s stolen, we’ll be covered. We shall see how this rolls out.

More evidence of a need for rain.  This grass was lush green only a few weeks ago.

Tom has expressed his desire to drop off whatever rental car we have at the Venice airport the day before our departure. With the two hours it took to originally pick up the car, he feels more at ease doing it this way. 

At first, I disagreed with him.  Why bear the expense of transportation back to the hotel the previous day? With the hotel offering a complimentary shuttle to the airport, we’d have to pay the one way.  As these other concerns have materialized, I agree with him.  

In any case, we would have done it “his way” whether I agreed or not. To avoid arguing over any such item, we always acquiesce when one of us is adamant about a particular issue. Thus, we don’t argue, making the assumption that either of us is smart enough to make reasonable decisions.

The ongoing process of planning to reduce stress and surprises well in advance takes time and careful thought.  With that in mind, surprise, often occurs, forcing us to ditch our best-laid plans to begin again. I guess that is the way life is in general for all of us:  “Expect the unexpected.”

Road trip tomorrow!  To heck with waiting for the rental car agency to let us know where and when to swap out the rental car. Not a word from them. Off we go, back later in the day with photos and the story of our expedition.