Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lately it appears to me....

....What a l-o-n-g strange trip it's been!

Trips to the states are never fun.  I mean once you get there it's usually rewarding, but the travel itself is brutal.  This time is no exception, and we will add some quirks popped up that made it even more interesting.

Like a stau on the way to the airport.  Anxiety causing, but not devastating.  We still were there in plenty of time for breakfast, and a stroll to the gate.  Terminal 2 in Frankfurt is by nature less crowded and frustrating than Terminal 1, but yesterday it was really quiet.  I mean very really quiet.  No lines to speak of, even at McDonalds.  We got a seat by the window in the food court, NO LINE - NO ONE - at passport clearance.  Spooky.

(About this time you are probably thinking, "Hey, where's the pictures?"  Most bloggers would have had all kinds of pictures to post.  I didn't take any.  Just imagine a quiet, uncrowded airport.)

9:30 AM was departure time, and by 9:45 there didn't seem to be any indication of boarding taking place.  A nice gate agent was circulating the waiting area and flirting with all the babies and toddlers.  A man we called "First Class Guy" was waving his don't-you-know-who-I-am-? fist when there was only one line through the security check point and wanted cuts.  He also was frustrated at the gate when he had to wait behind 3-4 people to show his boarding pass.  He got his special treatment, alright:  a personal search of his carry-on at the gate, and it wasn't private.  **giggle**

As soon as we were finally boarded, seated, and pushed away from the gate, "this is your captain speaking" explained that due to volcanic ash the transatlantic air routes were crowded and that our turn would be in 90 minutes.  We taxied away from the gate, parked, and turned off the engines.  Crew served water, and turned on the entertainment systems for us.  And we waited.  The captain also announced that yesterday the wait had been four hours.  I guess that was supposed to make us feel better. 

The really good news of the day was that the flight wasn't full so we had extra seats to spread out in.  It made a difference.

No sooner had we commented on how the time we had between flights in Atlanta was more than adequate than we got the "90 minutes till our turn" announcement.  We would miss our connection in Atlanta.  No doubt.  But to Atlanta's credit they were ready for us.  They had a special line for missed flights with a gadget that scanned your boarding pass, rebooked you, and printed a new one.  Even redirected luggage.  We wouldn't be able to leave until 9:30 PM, but we were happy we had a flight.  There was one young mother on our flight with a baby trying to get to San Juan, Porto Rico who couldn't get a flight for two days!

Domestic flights are 60 times worse than international.  International may be long, but at least you are well cared for.  As we were boarding the gate attendant announced that they had downsized the plane so things would be snug.  The PA system on the plane was weak and the sound for the movie and other audio/video presentations didn't work (they announced this as they were selling headsets for $2.00 - they are free on international fights).  Every child on the plane screamed.  We put on our noise reducing headsets and slept.  Or tried to.

The Europeans like to applaud when planes land.  That seemed to be the general sentiment as we landed at last in Salt Lake City at 11:35 PM.  The flight attendant who was sitting just across the isle from me said that they had just barely received the gate assignment.  We pulled up, parked, engines turned off and then came a long, eerie silence.  No one spoke, no one moved.  It took longer to unload the much larger plane in Atlanta than this smaller MD whatever-it-was in SLC.

Our luggage must have taken an earlier flight because it was waiting for us.  The rental car was waiting for us.  The bed in our hotel was very comfy.  Now we hit the road for Grand Junction.  When I get back to Germany perhaps I'll look up the Grateful Dead  version of the song and embed it on the blog.

Off to see the new grandboy!


The Mortensens said...

Well worth the trouble to see the grandbaby!

The Grows said...

I am so excited for your new grandbaby. Enjoy the visit and try not to think about the trip back.

hllewis said...

Brought make well I remember just what you described!!!

The McBride Family said...

Have fun!! IF you ever have too long in ATL let me know we're not too far! :)

Kari said...

I really don't mind the international flights. It's the close flights that are usually bad! Have a great trip and maybe, as you pass through to SLC again, we can have dinner? or lunch? or even breakfast? We aren't picky! Take care!! :O