February 2006


One Thing After Another

Me pointing

Originally uploaded by elmada.

To describe this trip as a series of mini-headaches would be an understatement.

The funny thing is that nothing has really caused me to get really upset—only once have I been really surly with somebody and another time I let annoyance creep into my voice.

Seriously, I’ve been pretty mellow.

Here, in brief, is a summary of things gone… well, things that have happened.

Wednesday the 15th: After arriving in my departure city (unnamed for various reasons, but it was TXL’s host city), it started to rain—thus making the cold wind even more unpleasant. This was redeemed, somewhat, by a nice meal at More and a hair cut from a pretty hip and cool guy at hofbarbier (on Eisenacher Straße).

Thursday: My first flight was delayed because the oxygen bottle in the cockpit was leaking. This did not matter. However, my first flight to Louisville was delayed due to crew issues and was overbooked. I volunteered, thus allowing a family with a small child, to get onboard. My reward was a flight that was delayed due to crew issues, a minor mechanical issue, slot controlled, destination airport closed, fuel shortage, almost diverted, landing at 11:45.

I also sat next to a guy who was afraid the plane was going to crash and kept counting the number of rows forward and back to emergency exits, played with his arm rest to see if he could get it up so he could escape more quickly in an emergency, and kept unbuckling and rebuckling his seat belt to ensure it was on correctly.

However, that was not all. The Brown Hotel, where I had reservations, had run out of rooms, and they put me in a parlor on a roll away bed. (Result, no charge, nicer room.)

Friday: The waiter at the hotel’s restaurant didn’t bother to read my coupon for a free breakfast, presuming it was the usual one, when in reality it was for something much better than what he offered me. When I confronted him, he apologized and was embarrassed. I didn’t pursue it, although I did suggest that he not vanish for 15 minutes at a time, something he was apparently very good at doing. Especially when I wanted more coffee.

Saturday: A snow storm made MT, Gary, and my trip to the Maker’s Mark Distillery take longer than necessary. It was wet and nasty—although we were among 44 people taking the tour. We learned that women are weak. We then lunched at an Arby’s—it was like watching a live soap opera between the staff and the other customers.

Sunday: I realized that there was a problem with my return ticket to Germany—It was for Monday, not Sunday. Not sure who’s fault it is, but my ticket wasn’t changeable, so I was stuck in Louisville for an extra day.

Monday: I had a rude encounter with a nwa agent who presumed that I was an incompetent fool when I handed him my passport and asked for an international document check. After making him promise that I wouldn’t need to hand him my passport, I swiped my passport and told the machine that I wasn’t checking my luggage. He then said I didn’t need to use the machine, so when I sought clarification as to why he forced me to use the machine, he asked me why I was being “hostile,” and then said that usually people who approached him the way I did were checking luggage.

The conclusion to this story is that my plane had a mechanical breakdown—and the flight was cancelled. This, of course, put me in a tricky position. I originally had 23 hours in Germany—23 hours in which to go from Berlin to Weimar, spend three hours there, and then go from Weimar to Frankfurt, spend the night, and then fly back to New York via Detroit. None of the proposed schedules would give me enough time to accomplish this, given the transportation constraint set in Germany.

So here’s the point about this: While I could remain annoyed at the nwa ticket agent who presumed to know what I was asking for, I am grateful to nwa for accommodating me in a reasonable fashion. I have been allowed to remain in Louisville until Wednesday, when nwa will fly me to New York. In the process I forfeited my Frankfurt to New York City trip, but not the New York City to Frankfurt part—resolving my headache in this way has left me with a very positive impression of Northwest Airlines—which prompts me to say—I will continue to try and fly the red tail whenever I have a choice.

I talked to my Mom today—recounting some of what has happened to me on this trip. She pointed out that I take so many trips that they must blur together, but that this one is sure to stick out.

Hopefully nothing else will go wrong on this trip.

4 comments to One Thing After Another

  • ChrisC

    Adam… I’m confused. Why would you fly all the way back to Germany to stay 1 day then fly back to a place about 1000 miles from where you started?

    It’s kind of like driving from my folks place to Los Angeles to get to San Francisco.

  • What a trip! I am glad Northwest worked it out for you. We use to call it Northworst. (That’s back when I was a flight attendant for NWA)

  • The basic problem was that I didn’t know that I was going to go to New York City until it was too late–changing my first ticket (Germany to Louisville and back) would have been enormously expensive, so I bought a second ticket–for I can sit in a plane for a few hours. I was supposed to have two nights in Germany, but somebody messed up, and it was actually only one.

    As soon as the plane broke, it was hopelessly impossible for me to make all my connections–and techincally NWA could have told me to fuck myself because I had two distinct and unrelated tickets–it was well within their rights to make me go back to Germany and then fly right back to America–or, miss my flights to Germany.

    The end result though is that I am content–NWA benefits big time from this (much more revenue for them without me actually occupying the seat) and I avoid jetlag.

  • ChrisC

    OK, makes more sense now.

    Enjoy New York!