Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caught With My Numbers Down

Summer travel is over and the kids are back in school.  The family and I had some great experiences "roaming" in different countries.  It was the last trip home where we had our first "hiccup".  In France, I don't use a local SIM, instead I just use my prepaid T-Mobile SIM with my unlocked multi-band GSM phone.  The T-Mobile Wi-fi Calling option works perfectly, completing calls as if I was in the US...when I have wi-fi.

I swear the rest of this is true.  We're on our way back to the airport when we find one of our family has lost his train pass.  What next?.  When we finally got in the train station, and after seeing no trains going to the airport, a kind passerby told us trains to the airport weren't running that day...they were making repairs. What next?

We chose to get on a train that at least got us closer to the airport, hoping for a bus or taxi at the end of the line.  Now this isn't where the fun stopped, but it was where I decided I need to speak with our airline about alternate plans.  Among the scenic fields of rural France I had a generous roaming signal but no broadband and no wi-fi, and no idea of the airline's phone number.  I was prepared for all possibilities...except the airline's non-"800" number.  I could not complete a call to a US "800" number.

After arriving home I added new entries to my travel checklist: phone numbers that you need while traveling, and posted it on our Roaming Zone International Roaming Pages.  Now that I will be traveling with all my necessary phone numbers, you know I'll never need them again.

Oh, and What's Next?  When we finally found a bus and arrived at the airport with almost enough time to check in, our path was blocked by soldiers with machine guns preventing us from using the airport tram because of a bomb scare.  Oh wait, they prefer to call it an "unattended piece of luggage".  Yes, we missed our flight, but once inside the airport, Wi-fi Calling worked again.  The airline, who never heard about the bomb scare, and didn't seem to care, got us on another flight.  Having the right numbers with us would have prevented some sweat-stained clothes...but that's part of the fun of travel.

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