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…we knew it was going too smoothly!
Just one week after happily blogging about how much fun we’d had in Savannah and how easy the bike handoff went, it all seems to have gone terribly wrong
In just three weeks from today, we should be hopping on the bike and roaring off to explore Europe for the next 10 weeks. If you’ve been keeping up with the blog then you will know that hours and hours of planning went in to this trip, a vast majority of them focused on renting a bike vs buying one in the UK vs shipping our own bike.
After much consideration (there’s a post about it!), the shipping option won out.
Iain was in constant contact with the chosen company’s’ agent. I’m sure that he was the bane of the poor man’s life, but Iain is very detail oriented and ex-military so the two Ps, planning and preparation, are super important to him. Or, to be accurate (as he pointed out to me) it’s the 6 Ps; Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!
There were various choices when deciding how to ship. We chose to go with the (more expensive) option; to have it crated on it’s own and booked on a specific ship. The agent emailed to say that while it was more expensive, it would “give us an exact date of departure and arrival so we could book our air tickets accordingly.”
Sounds great right?!?
We had an arrival date in the UK, a date which was made very clear to the agent. We asked him to take into account any potential anomalies and build in time to make sure that the bike was not only in the UK, but cleared customs, un-crated and ready to be ridden out on the day we arrived.
Plane tickets were booked. The agent was informed and he came back with a date that we needed to have the bike in Savannah ready for shipping. We even built in a few days leeway to allow for delays.
Perfect! We could rest assured that after our long haul overnight flight, we could drive to the port and pick up the bike, with no issues aside from the usual paperwork, and set off on our merry way to celebrate the first night of vacay with our fab friends Jac and Jase!
The bike was duly delivered to the shipping company in Savannah two weeks ago. We waved her farewell, wished her well on her journey and promised to meet her in London on the 16th May. Then went off to enjoy Savannah.
Fast forward to Tuesday (today is Thursday). In comes an email from the agent, very blasé; “the good news is that the bike is at the port and has cleared customs. The bad news is that the ship is over booked so you’ve been bumped to next week”.
WHAT?!?! Shut the front door! What part of “exact” dates and booked flights/ferries has not quite played out here?
Sufice to say, poor Iain needed to be peeled down off the ceiling! I was a little scared to go home at first! When I arrived back there was still steam coming from his ears!
Two days, a few emails, three phone calls later and nothing has yet been resolved. The ship has sailed, sans bike and we are presented with two options;
1 – Wait another week for her to be loaded on to another ship; meaning delayed collection which in turn brings about a myriad of additional expenses and involves much replanning and rebooking of accommodation and ferries.
2 – Send via air freight; additional $1400 and longer drive time for collection in the UK, but guaranteed arrival and clearance to keep all original plans and bookings.
We are getting little to no help from the US end of the company. In fact, they have not returned emails or phone calls since giving us the air freight price yesterday. Their stance was; “you should have allowed more time for issues like this”…erm, did you not tell us, and charge for, a service that would give, and I repeat, “an exact date of departure and arrival so we could book our air tickets accordingly.”?!?
At no point, ever, in the many many communications that Iain had with the agent, was it ever inferred that issues like this could arise!
However, the very nice and very helpful guy on the UK end of the company, who we’d been in contact with prior, has just supplied us with a ton of information and made some things clearer. Apparently, due to the horrible weather that has been happening recently both in the northern US and in the UK, many ships have been delayed two or three, some even four weeks and there has obviously been a huge knock on effect from this. He reports that there are delays offloading container vessels because of the backup and even shared that it is a distinct possibility that the bike could be bumped again next week.
None of this was even hinted at from the US agent! We do get it. We know that delays can happen for many different reasons. We would have happily taken the bike up in January if it’d meant we could be guaranteed her arrival in May. Well maybe not that happily but if necessary we would’ve done it! But no, we were reassured that the timelines given would work out perfectly.
So, here we sit, having made the decision that it probably is the safest bet to go with air freight and waiting for the US end to open, they are three hours behind us, to try and plan the next steps.
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Addendum; We finally got a call back from the US agents and have moved on to Plan B.
The bike is now headed up to JFK, from where she will be airfrieghted to the UK in good time that we can pick her up the day of our arrival (allegedly!)
While this is going to cost more in terms of shipping fees, it means that we don’t have to change/alter/cancel/delay any accomodations/ferry/car hire plans on the UK end, which in itself would’ve been costly.
Additionally, the agent has promised that he will “work with us” in order to get a very favorable return shipping cost….we’ll see how that turns out!
Just goes to show that the best laid plans can all fall apart!
It’s good to remember to breathe 😉
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Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!
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