Anyone who has traveled with me knows sometimes the adventure lies within the airport. Mostly because my travels involve early starts, multiple flights, and several time zone changes which all add up to very long travel times, lack of sleep, a short supply of patience and not so great humor. I have made an effort over the past several years to be a much better long distance traveler; more often than not all is handled calmly and I just take whatever the travel industry throws at me and deal with it accordingly (yes the rules, requirements and interpretations change frequently sometimes within the same conversation). However, there are sometimes when even the newly acquired calmness cannot overcome the insanity that is and that is when the less than stellar behavior, though often amusing to the people near me, occurs.
Friday afternoon, 26 July 2013, I arrive at Ezeiza International Airport around 2:45pm for my 4:55 Lufthansa Business Class flight (LH511) from Buenos Aires to Frankfurt. The night before I checked in online quick pass to drop my bags and off to security and immigration. This is a really great time to leave Buenos Aires not so many people in the airport and the lines though security and immigration very short so all in all very perfect. Recently Ezeiza has undergone a terminal renovation, the new renovated terminal is very modern and nice (which is completely different than the old part of the terminal which may have been constructed around 1920 and still looks like it and smells like an old movie theater you know the ones where your feet stick to the floor and you aren’t sure what that stain on the seat is). The new Star Alliance lounge is a great place to hang out while waiting for your flight to begin boarding: quiet, peaceful, sufficient snacks and free wifi.
The desk attendant announces it is time for me to board my flight yes by my name….kind of really like that personal touch. Boarding very easy and seat found….You know when you are in elementary school and you talk alot (Ok maybe middle and high school as well) and the teacher isolates you from everyone thinking this is the way to make one behave properly in school…..that is how my seat was. The row configuration was 2-3-2 for this particular Business class plane and then this one lone seat with nothing around it, the galley was behind it no seat beside or in front of it. This is the jackpot of all seats on this plane. No need to sleep beside some stranger who wants to cuddle with you, or have to crawl over someone a few times during the 13 hour flight, or do that awkward smile and act like you have no idea what they are saying shoulder shrug. Drinks and dinner was served and pretty decent for airplane food, took my little friend advil PM and off to sleep I went in my almost lie flat seat. All in all pretty great trip so far.
German immigration and customs is the model of efficiency the rest of the world should strive to achieve. Got off the plane, through immigration and customs and security within 20 minutes of arriving. For me and my ADD and lack of patience this is the ultimate experience (Houston International Airport you could learn a lesson here….really visit Germany and take notes, pictures, videos whatever is required). A little shopping in duty free for some new perfume, a short wait and boarding begins for my flight to Amsterdam. Announcements all in German yep I got it….Sweet I know German…OK not so much. This particular flight they were pre-boarding elderly and families with infants no problem at all…. listening to German feeling all proud of myself watching the boarding process begin because additionally I have the number 1 boarding card….I can get on the plane first. So, elderly in wheelchairs boarded, families with their infants and toddlers and strollers and 15 bags boarded. Again announcements in German meaning it is time for me to board the plane when I notice a family with a boy who is like 12 or 13 (yes healthy carrying a tennis bag you know the tournament kind) boarding the plane from the economy line..oops must have mixed up the words in German and missed my boarding time it can happen all these languages are beginning to get mixed up in my head. I take my boarding pass to the gate attendant and try to explain this to the gate attendant who in her best German scolding voice informs me “this is only the time for families with infants to board the plane” while rolling her eyes and dismissing me with a wave of her hand. So I point to the boy and say why then are they boarding the plane last time I checked infants did not look like that (yes I know the fuse is a bit short and I am jet lagged and tired which precipitates bad behavior) but we are in Germany where they are known for sticking to the rules. She then says well anyone with children can board the plane. So I look behind me and there is a girl standing there who was probably 18 and I ask her if she had her boarding pass she tells me yes and I take it from her and hand it to the gate attendant and say “well this is my daughter and we are getting on the plane now!!!” Yes I know terrible………Poor girl had no idea what was happening and still probably is wondering what crazy weird people they let on the plane to Amsterdam.
At least I arrived and am off to enjoy my new home country…………