Saturday, December 22, 2012

Germany - Christmas Edition: The Flight

So I am spending the holidays in Germany with my wonderful, amazing German boyfriend. This time, I am here until January 2nd. I arrived yesterday (Dec. 21) after a horrendous flight experience. The flight was to take off from Houston at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20 and then I was to make a connection in Amsterdam, the Netherlands at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21st and arrive in Frankfurt, Germany at 12:15 on Friday. The best laid plans...

First, the plane did not leave Houston until just shy of 6:30 p.m. so three hours late. The plane was late getting in from Denver and it had to be cleaned and serviced before we could board. Once we boarded, the captain announced a problem with the fuel pump so a mechanic was brought on board to fix that. Finally, we were underway. 

This plane was very old. The PA system was bad. We could barely understand the flight attendants when they made announcements. The movie screens on the back of the seats had bad video/audio quality. And the final "damn, this plane IS old" moment was when I went to the bathroom and saw the ashtray built into the wall. Smoking on planes has not been allowed for many years (although snakes are OK). Also, just adding to the general crap situation, the food was not good. Airplane food gets a general bad rap, but when I flew to Germany in October, the food was really good so you just never know.

Anyway, because the plane was so late coming out of Houston, I ended up missing the connection to Frankfurt in Amsterdam. When this happens, they get you on the next available flight to your destination. I stood in a very long line with many others to get my connection information. Then, I had to go stand in another long line. The second line was divided into two lines with one for Lufthansa and another for other airlines. The guy working the Lufthansa desk pointed me in the direction of the shorter, second line. So I got into that one. Some biatchy American woman decided that myself and another woman were waiting in the wrong line and tried to get pushy with us telling us we had to go to the back of the long first line. 

I was not having any of that. I told her that I was in the line the airline employee had told me to be in and that she needed to back off and be patient. She was bitchy after that, but I took a "shut the hell up or I will CUT you" attitude with her. That seemed to help. I am normally a pleasant person, but after a long overnight flight and very little rest, I just wasn't going to put up with that crap.

So finally, I got my ticket settled and ate a very expensive sandwich. The airline had given me a voucher for a snack so I had a sandwich and a drink. It cost almost 10 euros. The voucher was for 6.95 euros. Thankfully, I had some extra euros from my last trip to Germany so I paid the difference. 

At last, I got on the plane to Frankfurt. I was concerned that my luggage wouldn't make it onto the second plane, but at that point, I was exhausted and slept for most of the hour or so that it took to get to Frankfurt. The plane landed without incident and we were all taken on a bus to the terminal from the runway since the plane couldn't get a "docking station" as it were for some reason. They dumped us off near the terminal and I found my way to baggage claim. Usually, in Frankfurt, you go through passport control before you collect your luggage. This time, it was luggage first.

So I waited around a very empty baggage claim area and finally the belt started up. Four pieces of luggage came out before the board read "finished" for the luggage from Amsterdam. My fear had been realized. My luggage DID NOT make it onto the plane. Sigh. I trooped over to lost baggage claims with a bunch of other people from my flight who had the same problem. I filled out the form and finally went outside to meet my boyfriend who had come to pick me up. I did not have to go through passport control anywhere, which I think was a mistake, but there was no sign for it anywhere outside baggage claim so my boyfriend and I headed to the train station under the airport and went to the main train station in Frankfurt. That is the first stop on our way home. 

We had schnitzel and potato salad at one of the train station restaurants. It was very good. I was really hungry, which I hadn't realized until I actually sat down to eat. It was cold and rainy and we got on the train and went to our next stop, where we had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus home. We sat in the bakery that we had been in before and I had some hot chocolate and a pastry. Finally, we were on the bus and home. 

By the time we arrived, I had been traveling for 25 total hours with almost no sleep and the sleep I did have was bad sleep on the airplane. I was so glad to take a shower and go to bed. Despite the difficulties in traveling, I am happy to be in Germany again!


Legally Lovely said...

So glad you made it safely; I hope your luggage finds its way to you soon! I'm sure you're so so happy to be in Germany with your boyfriend during the holidays. I hope you have a wonderful time together! Excited to read about your trip here and through Facebook.

S.I.F. said...

Uggg! Sounds like a miserable flight experience! So glad you are there now though!

Jillian Leigh said...

25 hours total??? OMG! man that lady really sounded like she needed to take a chil...why should she care about what line YOUR standing in? did you finally get your luggage??

Karen Peterson said...

I'm trying to remember where we went through passport control in Frankfurt. I feel like it was when we went downstairs and got on the train for Strasburg. Weird.

I somehow missed that you have a German boyfriend! Congrats!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Lawfrog said...

@Legally Lovely: Thanks, I really am very happy to be in Germany for the holidays with my boyfriend. We've had so much fun together so far! I am also happy that my luggage arrived the day after my arrival.

@SIF: It was quite miserable and next time, I am totally paying the extra money for the non-stop flight. It's just not worth the hassle of possible missed connections, lost luggage, etc.

@Jilly: Yes, 25 hours. UGH, it sucked so bad. And the woman in the line definitely needed to chill out something fierce! She was certain I was in the line she was supposed to be in and she was next so I was jumping the line in her opinion. Not true, any of that, but whatever. I was just not in the mood for that kind of BS.

@Karen: As it turned out, I didn't have to do passport control in Frankfurt due to the Schengen Agreement. Doing it in Amsterdam covered Frankfurt as well as I have recently learned. Who knew?

Also, you didn't miss that I have a German boyfriend. I haven't mentioned it before :) I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!