Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Yossarian would know the way to our gate.
We made it! Chad made reference to our Frankfurt experience, so I'll elaborate. Let me just say, I love the people of, Germany and Frankfurt, a culture, city I've never seen, etc. but the airport was something out of Catch 22. We flew 8 hours from the US to a connecting flight in Frankfurt with a 2 hr layover. 2 hours seems like plenty of time to catch a connecting flight, right? We got off of our plane outside and the entire contents of the plane were to fit on one tiny airport bus that took us to a lower back entrance of probably 1000 unmarked terminals all under major construction (think hanging electrical wires, random lighting and NO SIGNS). We faced two long lines, one moving & one not. The 2 airline employees present told us-no kidding here, they both told us exactly the same thing-we could go in either line, but we SHOULD be in the one to our left that wasn't moving, but it was up to us, we could go either way. They had never heard of Czech Airlines, our connecting flight's carrier, and would repeat the former lunatic statement while shoving us to the left, into a stationary mass of confused foreigners. Thomas wasn't having any part of it, and boy am I glad, because after 30 minutes of standing in a stationary line, when there is a possibility we could have gone another way, but there are now 100 people standing behind us so we probably shouldn't leave the line, but what if...I start to cry like a sleepy two year old. Chad remained in line while I toted my screaming child to the front of the line to see what was going on & luckily another mama toting two sleepy toddlers was there & security wanted all of the sleepy crying toddlers out of the way, yippee! But wait, our bag had to be tested for explosive residue, no kidding. We still have no idea what the hold-up was about, it involved three unfortunate travellers who were not communicating well with security, we heard someone punch a bag in frustration, but after our printer tested negative for explosive making chemicals we got the heck out of there, I bet there is still a line, because no one else got through while we where there. This is where it got fun. There were no signs, just random hallways. Now after standing in a stationary line & going through an exhaustive security check, and not wanting to enter any area that could possibly put us back out on a runway or through another security check, what do we do? Ask for assistance, right? Ha ha, no one we stopped had ever heard of Czech Airlines, one employee actually looked like she had never heard of the Czech Republic. We were told to go to the Info desk. Oh why didn't we think of that? There was none, or maybe it was behind one of the 50 unmarked doors we passed. Finally after bumbling around for a mile or so, and feeling tears close by, we found an employee who took our tickets behind some locked doors to find us an answer. Talk about trust and despiration. We were sent back on a bus to another terminal, through security again, and low and behold to a place with signs that had gate numbers similiar to where we were supposed to be. The light at the end of the tunnel you say, oh but it couldn't be that easy. Our tickets stated we had to check in with our new carrier. We looked down in horror upon the ticketing area for our airline, at about 1000 stationary people checking in. No way, we were going to our gate, and no one was going to stop us from getting on that plane. We cautiously made it down a 2 mile corrodor, and ran into some passengers from our first flight (I bet they went to the right) going in the opposite direction, toward the 1000 or so in ticketing. They needed to check in as well. I groaned, had they been turned away at the gate? No? They thought they were headed to the gate. Aha, it wasn't just us. The happy ending is that we got to a quiet, unpopulated gate, very well customer serviced counter, and onto a pretty empty plane with lots of leg room, free food, and even a very cute little hippo finger puppet for Thomas. Well the happier ending is that all 6 pieces of luggage made it with only one minor toiletry spill, we made it through the passport/visa check without stress, and our ride was waiting for us with beer, chocolate, soda, and a tour of Prague.