iOS in Kos

I should have checked the piece of paper I had with all local times for booked flights laid out bare in black and white. Instead, I naturally submitted myself to the vagaries of technology and accepted the time in my calendar as being the time I was due to fly. In most circumstances, this would be an understandable thing to do. However, when adding the complexities of time zone changes into the equation, either another check of that piece of paper or better configuring my phone settings would have prevented me from being stuck on Kos on a Sunday afternoon with a need to be in the office first thing the following morning.

In iOS, the Date and Time settings can either be switched to update automatically, or be left to set any changes manually. Having almost missed a commuter train several weeks back due to the manual time setting being incorrect, I switched to automatic Date and Time settings. This meant that when I was in a different time zone and next online, my devices would update to the local time.

All well and good, and pretty much what you’d want from your smart device. What I hadn’t factored in was that calendar events would also change their timings to reflect the device being in a different time zone. When I looked back over my previous week, I noticed that the calendar events that happened in London were all now set to start a couple of hours later and had the original time with BST (British Summer Time) underneath, in brackets. My flight from Kos to Athens didn’t have this BST indicator attached, but I realised this way after it was too late.

After a very restful few days at the Greek resort hotel and having attended a great conference, I’d allowed myself to relax a little. Next up, time to go home. For some reason, whilst waiting for a cab after checking out, I had a niggling feeling that the flight departure time might be different from what I was expecting. Checked the piece of paper with the flight times on it. I’d long missed the first flight and was within a whisker of missing the second one too! The only thing for it was to get to the airport and look for any feasible way to get back to London on the same day – cheapest means, earliest arrival time, least risk in doing so. All in, a tall order.

Called Aegean, the original airline. €419.15, and I wouldn’t get to Heathrow until 11:15 the following morning. The Thomas Cook, Easyjet and Ryanair counters opened and closed intermittently, but after all the waiting, I still couldn’t get something that respectable together for getting back in time and under budget. Definitely didn’t want to pay over €200 as a price for my mistake either.

Mobile giveth, mobile taketh away.

After trying unsuccessfully to get a cheaper version of the Ryanair option by booking it online, I fired up my Kayak app. I’m in Kos, I said, and I need to get to London tonight. Anywhere in London will do at this stage. Just get me there.

Whir, whir, whir…’would from £39 do for this flight that’ll get you in at the same time as your Ryanair option?’ It certainly would – much better. The power of a pocket device that can harness multiple remote booking systems is a mighty thing indeed. And thank heavens for patchy but free airport wifi too. Could have done without the extra 12 hours in Kos airport and having to buy an additional flight ticket at all, but there has to be a consequence in order to fully learn a lesson sometimes, I guess. A further downside is having to sleep in the destination airport then go straight to the office. Still, at least I’ll be able to get to work on time.

Next time, I’ll enable the Time Zone setting on a flight-related calendar event. Better make sure to check the piece of paper with the local times on it too!

When physical beats digital…

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