When Vacations Start To Feel Like Jobs

October 12, 2013

EasyJet?  A Serious Misnomer.

My friend, Gene, booked us on EasyJet for our direct flight from Lyon to Berlin for the Marathon.  When he called to tell me about booking on this airline I was a little dubious.  I said, “You’re kidding, right?”  How many seats are on this plane, ten?  He said, “Five including the pilot.”  I figured I would be the flight attendant. I could always count on him for a joke.

He said that EasyJet was just like JetBlue in the United States. I didn’t find this to be true.  The seats do not recline, there is no in-flight movie, and you don’t find out what gate you are boarding at until twenty minutes before boarding.  The walk to the gate is very long.  You end up hanging out at little airport pubs and deli’s until the last minute just to have a place to sit.

On the way to the airport, we took the wrong exit and started to head to Geneva.  I was not too happy as we approached the Alps.  Well, that was corrected once we entered Grenoble (you remember the Winter Olympics?)

We turned around quickly and drove the 80 kilometers to the Saint Exupery exit at 90 miles per hour.  Yes, you guessed it, I was getting a little tense.   The rash I developed will be disappearing any day now.

Our new objective was to arrive at the airport before the gate closed at 6:50 pm.  We arrived at the airport at 6:35 pm. We had to park the car, grab our bags and run through security.

I’m so glad I did my Mini tour de france, because it prepared me for the 440 dash to Terminal 3.  Did I mention it was 84 degrees out and I was wearing my jeans because it was going to be 41 degrees when I landed in Berlin?

We ran into the Terminal 3 and a gentleman asked,  “Can I help you?”  I said, “Is this the line for the Berlin flight?”  He said, “quatre heures en retard.”  I was thinking… we’re 4 hours late?  He said the flight was 4 hours late.

They said they were sorry, mumbled something about air traffic, and gave us each a 10 euro voucher as compensation.  We did not feel appeased, but immediately went to the Brasserie to drink a well-needed bottle of Sancerre.

We boarded at 11:30, (4 1/12 hours later) and landed in Berlin at 1:40 am.  I will admit the flight and landing were very smooth.

The train we were going to take to the center of Berlin was no longer running.  We had to take a 50 minute bus ride and then find a taxi to take us to our hotel.  We got to the hotel at 3:30 am.  They had just put me down as a no show.  We got the last room in the hotel.  (My biggest mistake was not buying some phone minutes before leaving the states..no way to make emergency calls)

My daughter had booked a 3-hour walking tour at 9:00 am at the Brandenburg gate.  I met her at 7:30 for breakfast and we left at 8:25 to walk 25 minutes to the gate. (I had 3 1/2 hours sleep)   I didn’t think I was going to be able keep my eyes open.  Good thing it was only 50 degrees out.  It kept me awake.

I kept thinking…tomorrow will be a better day.

My lesson learned was to plan for the worst-case scenario when traveling to a country where you do not speak the language.

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