Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stress-free travel or…

When it all goes right.

The title is usually an oxymoron as for most of us, myself included, plane travel especially that involving changes and long routes is usually a series of mini problems if not downright disasters, so imagine my shock when this time it all went fine. I am tempted to add – for once in my life – but I am sure that it is simply that the disastrous trips make for better stories and linger longer in our memories.

There was certainly the potential for an interesting story when I inadvertently booked my flights via a well-known web-site instead of directly with the airline (still a mystery to me as to how I managed that without realizing).  This meant that I needed to obtain seats and a meal by logging in to the airline’s site, but it was fine – obviously interfaces are getting much better!

I picked a seat on the aisle next to the last row and do to experience – and not any religious and/or cultural affiliation chose the Asian vegetarian special meal.

So the day of departure duly came closer and thoughts as to how to get to the airport for a 6:55 flight loomed. When I heard that one of my dear friends whom I have also taken early to the airport would be needing a similar arrangement later this year I proposed a swap: her taking me for my taking her. Agreed that 4:30 a.m. would be best. The night before I gave it some more thought and decided that 5 a.m. would do as I had already printed my boarding cards so only needed to drop off my suitcase.

After a seamless ride and entertaining conversation (I would say scintillating, but given the hour perhaps not), I walked into the check-in area only to find that a huge group had just entered the baggage drop line ahead of me. Then I noticed that one agent was free on the
end so I went in the "wrong" way and got my suitcase on before the group got anywhere near. Security - a very slight snafu when a young woman ahead of me had to basically unload her suitcase, but hey a minute more - no big deal. I was through by the time that we should have arrived! First potential problems avoided. Had time to write several e-mails before I boarded the flight for the first leg of my journey.
Arrived in Frankfurt to flurries of “snow”. Predicted but also a potential source of trouble. On the other hand I was not stressed and had two hours to shop – didn’t buy anything, but at least this time I also managed to stay in transit and not have to go through passport control or security.

Boarded the transatlantic portion easily only to find that my seat was actually the last row, but on this charmed trip that turned out to be a blessing as well: there was enough room to incline the seat about 15 cm. – enough to be comfortable and even better as it was the bulkhead that I was leaning back on I could do so whenever I wished!  Also the passenger in the window seat, although pleasant, kept to herself and slept most of the way, and we had the seat in between us empty – rather unheard of these days.

My meals were delivered early as “special diet” and much more attractive than the usual choices: do they ever change the menus?

We arrived at destination only 5 minutes late, my luggage was amongst the first out and as I had even slept a couple of hours it was truly the easiest flight in my recent history.

Nothing like that of one of my favorite bloggers:

May my whole trip remain on this plain of beatitude.

My aircraft for the transatlantic