The week started off in true traveling with Mr. C fashion, a nervous sweat filled visit to the airport with an out of left field cancelled flight that resulted in a 10 hour layover. To give the Sparknotes version of the traveling fiasco, myself and 4 students got to the 2nd leg of our journey in Frankfurt before a flight got cancelled and what were transported to what seemed to be a reality TV show. As we sat in the Frankfurt airport, looking to get into Dulles International Airport in Washington DC, it was recommended that we take a direct flight into a different airport in the US then hop on a connecting flight into Dulles. That seemed reasonable enough, going into somewhere like Newark, although New Jersey is not the worst thing that can happen. Upon further review, the German gentlemen who may or may not have actually worked for Lufthansa (or some B- class TV station) started printing out tickets for my crew to get on a direct flight to San Francisco, and then wait 6 hours to get on a plane from San Francisco to Dulles. I opted not to use the first few words that popped into my head… I mean, I was a chaperone, responsible for young’uns and have to keep a cool exterior. To say the least the guy really does owe my students some candy for saving him from some serious verbal abuse. After a few seconds of weird somewhat crazy giggling to myself I told him that we were finding another way to get to Dulles, one that did not involve wasting 16 hours of anyone’s time. As the group got a better flight path I thought we were in the clear…
As awesome Lufthansa employee number 1 sent us off on our merry way he forgot to look at the flight plan that he put some of us on. As we got to the check-in desk Lufthansa employee number 2 looked at our tickets, and could not print a boarding pass because the flight has a waiting queue of 25 people that were in the same position as us. Seeing that I had trouble brewing in my eyes, employee number 2 had to call the bullpen and in came the lefty. As we dove into employee number 3 we finally got someone who can work the Google machine and she was able to put us on a flight that actually had seats. Luckily that was the last of the real issues with simply getting to the US, and once we got through the baggage claim the actual conference was amazing.
Getting to the conference tidbits:
1) This is the second time Lufthansa has gave me the short end of the stick, the “Star Alliance” needs to do a blood pact, because right now the companies really don’t take care of each other.
2) The first life lesson my students learned on this trip was how not to act when a flight gets cancelled, I was very annoyed but kept it calm on the exterior. I cannot say the same for what seemed to be everyone around us.
3) Lufthansa employee number 3 was about as close to getting a kissy face from me than anyone is ever going to get, a very positive way to end my experience with this fiasco.