Riga Dev Days 2018 : The Journey Home


Cut to the end for the conference thank you messages if you can’t be bothered to read about my travel traumas. 🙂

It was a 04:30 start to get myself together, check out of the hotel and walk across to meet Chris and Ionut to share a taxi to the airport.

Chris used his magic credit card to sign us in as guests to business lounge for what was meant to be a quick pitstop. Pretty soon Chris and Ionut went to catch their planes, leaving me to wait another 3 hours for mine because it had been delayed. I think it’s a ripple effect from weather problems in the UK and Amsterdam…

I wasn’t so bothered about the delay to the first flight, because I’m in the business lounge, but I was concerned about the following flight, as I was due to leave on that before I was due to take off from Riga…

This post originally contained a really salty character assassination of the KLM staff on the transfer desk, but know I’m home I calmed down and revised it. During this trip I saw the best and worst of airport and KLM staff…

  • The KLM staff on the transfer desks in Schiphol were terrible. They thought they were helping, but because they didn’t understand customer service and basic queue management they failed terribly. Most people in the massive queues just required basic information. The most frequent question was, “Am I in the right queue?” Literally hundreds of people didn’t know this. All it took was for one member of staff to walk the queue every 10 minutes and explain what the queue was for and the vast majority of people would be fine, and many would have left the queue because they shouldn’t have been there.
  • Many of the Schiphol staff were hiding. Once I had sorted myself out I walked around the airport and noticed that most of the Schiphol staff were where the people weren’t. Of all days, this is when you need the staff to be helping, not hiding in groups away from the crowds.
  • I found one member of Schiphol staff who was really helpful, telling me to leave arrivals and come back in through departures as a “new passenger”. That saved me upwards of 2 hours of queuing. I only found him because I had to leave the queue because I needed the toilet.
  • Once I had a new ticket, for 6 hours later, I walked between departure gates for Birmingham flights looking to see if there were free seats. About 2+ hours before my scheduled departure I managed to sneak on to an earlier flight because someone didn’t turn up. Many thanks to the KLM guy that sorted this for me!

If you are listening KLM/Schiphol, most people don’t expect miracles, especially during exceptional times like this. They just want basic information and queue management. Any busy system needs some form of triage in place!

Once on the flight we were greeted with the news that we might have to wait for 2 hours in the plane due to runway congestion. Luckily this turned out to be 15 minutes. At this point I didn’t really care as I was on a plane…

After the 50 minute flight I was back in a warm and sunny Birmingham, which was a little disconcerting. I was hoping it would be cool and wet. Having suffered in the heat of Riga, I really wanted to moan about the cold of home. 🙂

So the trip home was not the best!

Back to the conference and some of the usual thanks.

  • Thanks to the folks at Riga Dev Days for inviting me. I’m sorry I was not well and couldn’t be more involved in the conference. Next time.
  • Thanks to the people who came to my sessions and who came to speak to me afterwards. Thanks for the evaluations too. I think my talks came 2nd and 6th (or something like that) in the speaker evaluations, which is pretty amazing considering how out of it I was. Maybe that’s the plan for the future. 🙂
  • Thanks to the other speakers. Despite me not seeing much of it, everyone I spoke to said it was a great event!

Hope to see you all soon!



PS. The posts for this trip, which were mostly about my illness were:

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.