A Flight that Almost Wasn’t

As I said in my last post, I am in Germany for work.  There was a time when I travelled for work a lot more and I got used to travel.  I had status with an airline and could use the clubs when I was waiting for flights.  When things didn’t go right, the airline would find ways to make it up to me.  I almost always was upgraded to business class, except for a few times when it was completely booked.  It was a good time.

Now, however, I travel quite infrequently.  I don’t have status, and I am not used to travel.  So, Saturday, after our ride and run, I got ready to head to the airport.  Emily dropped me off around 3:30.  For a bit I sat and entertained myself, reading the news, playing games, and just generally goofing around.  Boarded the flight at 5 and got comfortable.  The flight was to take off at 6, but that didn’t happen.

Issue #1

We were first delayed due to a maintenance issue with one of the bathrooms.  I guess I was happy that they wanted to fix this and not make us suffer without.  The problem was that it wasn’t recognized until it was flight time, so the doors were closed and we were ready to push back.  Around 6:30, the captain announced that the problem was corrected and we would be getting on our way.

Issue #2

Since this is a flight “over water” (quoted from the captain), there is some sort of check that has to be done once the doors are closed.  Since our flight opened and then re-closed the doors, we had to have the check done a second time.  We were first told to expect a 10 minute delay.  This soon turned to 20 minutes, then finally the check was completed at 30 minutes.  We were going to push back an hour late.  Not a big deal as far as delays go.

Issue #3

We pushed back from the gate at 7.  Once out, we sat for about a half hour, not moving just a few hundred yards from the gate.  No announcements were made.  At 7:30, the captain made an announcement that one of the engines was not starting and that we were going to head back to the gate and the there was a possibility of another plane taking the place of the one we were on.  By the time we arrived back at the gate we were told that there was another plane and that if we had connections that would be missed due to late departure, we should talk to a gate agent.  I waited in line until about 9 to get this done, but wasn’t far enough in the line to get it done before needing to run to the next gate to make our new plane.

As far as issues go, I am happy that they found the problems while we were on the ground and not in the air.  Better safe travel than expedited.

Once on the new plane all seemed to go well.  We pushed back at around 10pm, just 4 hours late.  In the air, I watched a movie and dinner was served.  The options were so very appealing, it was hard to choose.  In the end, I decided on Chef Boyardee pasta.  It was not good.  I did eat it since I hadn’t had anything to eat since before noon, and based on the options (the others being spicy indian food and chicken with cream sauce) I made the right decision.

I haven’t mentioned yet, but I don’t sleep well on planes.  It’s uncomfortable and I typically just nod off and wake up in seconds.  I like that United had personal screens on this flight and I could choose from a bunch of different options.  That was until . . .

Issue #4

My screen stopped responding.  I could not choose a movie and it would not play anything.  Several resets later and I still couldn’t do anything.  So, not much to do but sit and wait to land.

Over the next couple of days I will send some updates from Germany.  I have a few runs planned.

 

UPDATE – 

After our first flight was delayed so long, we made it to Frankfurt with -2 hours to make our original flight and about 30 minutes to catch another.  We moved directly to that flight, but were turned away to get Lufthansa boarding passes.  This proved to be a bit challenging.  Apparently our tickets were goofed due to the disruption to our earlier flight.  While waiting for the tickets to reprocess, we missed that flight.  Soon after we were put on a flight, and now we had a finish line in sight.  40 minutes later, we landed in Hanover.

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