Monday, August 18, 2014

German warfare

One of these things is not like the other

This one is for British Airways NOT Air Berlin
So Marc and I are sitting in Stuttgart waiting for our plane.
It's been delayed since there are thunderstorms and high winds in London.
Everybody around us is getting upset because not only is the plane delayed but no one is sharing information.
The lady in the gate booth came in and tidied up around boarding time but hasn't looked anyone in the eye or picked up the microphone to tell us what's going on. The crowd is almost out of control.
We don't know when the plane might be leaving or what will happen when we all miss connections.
We have already suffered through an unbearably long wait to get our passports checked, a line that started at the top of a big stairway and moved at a snail's pace through to the waiting area.
That's when it became apparent there was trouble afoot.
We also discovered that German people apparently have hair-trigger tempers and short fuses.
They were increasingly vocal as time passed.
"You don't tell us anything because you will have to compensate us then for the time and trouble!" shouted one angry fellow.
"I only live 4 miles from the airport. I can go home and wait better than here!" put in another unhappy customer.
"Yeah! Nien to this! said people with much hostility.
Marc and I watched the show.
We didn't think it mattered much to us whether we waited a long or a short time. We had flown from Florence, Italy to Stuttgart simply to catch another short hopper back to London.
We could be late without severe consequences.
After 90 minutes though, it got old.
We were almost as interested in moving on as the rest of the crowd.
Finally, we were told the flight was being rescheduled and a bus was backed up to the door to take us to the plane.
Then the bus left.
The news stopped.
The bus came back.
We waited some more. The lady got on the mic. "We're going to put you on a bus to the plane but you might have to wait on the plane for a while," she said. "But we'll start boarding."
We started through the gate. That's when the bottom fell out.
The ticket reader refused our boarding passes.
The lady tried several times.
"Oh," she said, examining them more closely. "That's the problem. You have the wrong airline and gate."
She moved to the next passenger.
Apparently there are two flights out of Stuttgart for London at exactly the same time on two different airlines. We were supposed to be on the other one that boarded 30 minutes earlier...with a gate at the other end of the terminal!
We panicked. We bolted. We practically climbed over the passport gate to get out.
We sweated all the way to Gate 343 on the south end from Gate 121 on the north end (I'm not kidding).
We made it with a nano second to spare but not before I had made some serious promises in my prayers and questioned my travel patterns.
No more German parties for me.
And I'll always check every inch of fine print on a boarding pass, even the areas I don't know matter.

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