10th Congress of Polish Students in the UK

Two weeks ago, with some excitement,  I flew to Stanstead to attend the Congress at which I had been invited to speak. Naturally, there is an enormous amount to report, from the efficiency and charm of the student organisers to the boorishness of a few of the speakers. All this I will address later. What demands comment now is how I got to England.

I felt a certain apprehension as I headed to Modlin Airport to board my flight to London.  I had never flown from Modlin and I had heard it was nothing more than a shed in a field. This is unfair. Apart from a certain bovine-like treatment that passengers are subjected to at boarding, herded from an enclosed shed to a field and exposed to the bitter cold for some time before being allowed near the plane, nothing seemed any worse than my last treatment on BA, until I compared the cost. My return flight to Stanstead on Ryan Air was some 900 pln, a hundred more than my last BA flight. Then there was no exposure to the bitter east wind. Why so much for this discomfort?

Whilst not wishing to be disrespectful of my sponsor,the Polish Embassy in London, two days before my departure the Embassy had still not bought the ticket, even though I had been assured via email that the ticket could and would be bought. Why the delay? They had known for almost a month that a ticket was required. Had they bought it then, perhaps they would have saved the Polish taxpayer, of which I am one, some money. I should add that I gave my services for free and was glad of the chance. Hence, all the more reason to think I deserved the right to know that I would get to Cambridge the day before I was due to fly.

Then the ticket arrived from the Embassy. Hurray! It was quickly followed by a thoughtful reminder from the student organiser that I should check in on line. I tried. My email address was rejected. Panic. I wrote to Cambridge. I wrote to the Embassy. The Embassy assured me that the check in process was extremely straightforward. I tried again but failed. Am I an idiot? I`ve never had this trouble with LOT or BA. Then it occurred to me that Ryan Air was not searching for my email address but perhaps another. I wrote to the Embassy. Ah, yes. I should have been using the Embassy’s travel agent’s email. Once in my possession it worked like a dream.

So why didn’t they provide this information in the first place, you might ask.  Not wishing to be disrespectful, or to exclude myself from future events, I`ll leave you to make up your own mind.