Plane Travel is Hell

If the speed of car travel left his (large) head spinning, you can imagine how befuddled Todd was by the concept of plane travel. “Let me get this straight,” he mused. “We can leave one day, and be in Europe the next day?” I assured him it was so. “No canals?” he asked, still suspicious.

“It’s easy,” I reassured him. “We just show up with our stuff, and they give us a blanket and a pillow, and free drinks. Sometimes they’ll even give us food. And we just watch a movie and then we’re there!”

“You had me at ‘free drinks’!” cried Toro enthusiastically. We were all set for a three week trip to Europe: a week visiting our friends Frank and Arianna in Vienna, followed by a week with the Schumanns in Germany, and wrapping up with Frank and Ari’s wedding in her hometown of Ferrara, Italy.

Well, to make a long story short, the morning of our departure didn’t go as planned. After six hours at SFO, involving:

  • our first flight being delayed for maintenance
  • being switched to an earlier flight on a different airline
  • check-in complications due to the carrier change
  • being told at the check-in counter to tell the people at security that our flight was about to leave, then being denied access to the first class security line and told with a sneer that “You should have got here sooner”
  • being pulled out of the regular security line to undergo special testing of ourselves and our luggage
  • running for but missing the earlier flight
  • being put back on the delayed flight and re-routed through London
  • boarding the plane, taxiing out to the runway, only to be turned back by a different mechanical problem
  • deboarding with all of the other shell shocked passengers
  • and realizing we would miss our connection on the London flight and end up in JFK overnight

…we decided to scrap the Vienna leg of our trip!

Actually the deciding factor on that was it was going to cost 200 euro each (over $300) to change our AirBerlin tickets (for the Zurich to Vienna portion of our trip), with no guarantee that we wouldn’t have further complications and lose that money too!

Luckily our supportive friends Dave and Melissa welcomed us back to their place in SF, where we had cocktails and licked our wounds (the alcohol makes it sterile!). Then we went back to my mom’s in Sacramento for a week, so Todd could work and we could get psyched up to try again the following week.

We got to the airport extra early, and breezed through check-in and security. We were only slightly concerned when our flight posted a 10 minute delay; we got more concerned when that was upped to 30 minutes. When we finally got off an hour late, we weren’t sure if we’d make our connecting flight or not. So much for a relaxing flight! Luckily, there were a lot of people on our plane connecting to Europe, and they held our Zurich flight. We were amazed that the other passengers actually stayed in their seats to let us scramble off and run to our next flight! And we were so relieved once we got to our seats, that Todd didn’t even mind that the limited leg room meant that he’d be crossing the Atlantic with his knees next to his ears.

As always, it was a pleasure visiting the Schumanns in Konstanz! We visited their lovely garden several times, and their neighbor Stefan took us out sailing on the lake! We also had a lot of water fun: soaking in the new thermal baths, swimming in the lake, laps at the municipal pool (an activity that I believe can be translated into German as ‘Susankickentoddsarse’), and a trip to Alpemare near Zurich, which has the craziest water slides ever! (That translated into German is something like ‘Toddscreamslikeeinekleinefrauline’.)

And of course, the best parts were eating Doris’ cooking, and catching up with the growing Schumann family. See all of our Germany photos here.

One Response to “Plane Travel is Hell”

  1. Dave says:

    Ladies and Germs – There’s a first for everything. This, my friends, marks a historic moment. And here it is: (wait for it…) (keep on waiting…) the FIRST TIME that Dave and Melissa are mentioned in this blog.

    Ed Note: It was both Melissa & Dave and ELLA to welcome our straggly travelers into Chez Fo Steer(TM).