Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The challenge of NO bag - again!!

Well, the circle is complete! I am back in Sydney with no bag!

Who would have thought? Although I did half expected it this time.

The story:
I was to leave Munich on a flight to Frankfurt at 1930 on Wednesday evening arriving in Frankfurt at 2030. From there I was to connect with a flight to Singapore departing at 2230. Plenty of time I thought.

I booked my bag all the way through to Sydney. No problems I thought.

I boarded the flight to Frankfurt at about 1915.

The flight was fully booked with travellers, world cup revellers and business people (and a Churchill Fellow).

There we sat in a fully boarded aircraft in 28 degrees heat - the thunder rolled in.

The minutes ticked by. Then the captain's announcement came over the pa system. Apparently there were severe thunder storms across northern Germany. This meant that planes were departing at 15 minute intervals. Good news: we could be the next plane; bad news: it may be an hour.

Thirty minutes elapsed. The captain's voice again. Again, we could be next or it could be a while. This time passengers could disembark and stay overnight in Munich if they wished.

Time was ticking by. The window of opportunity to connect was getting smaller. We sat there in all for about 100 minutes. The flight eventually left at 2100 arriving in Frankfurt at 2200.

It was a mad rush to disembark, board the bus on the tarmac and arrive at Gate E63.

There were ground staff to assist. Their advice: Run to Gate G48 as the plane is boarding and will soon depart.

What choice did I have? So I ran; but I had no idea where G48 was. I drew on my positional skills and literacy skills to follow directions until I lost the arrows pointing me in the direction.

I then drew on my best German asking every official along the way, "Entschuldigung! Wo is Tor G drei und veirzig?", hoping they would respond in very simple positional German!

I cleared passport control, breathless by this stage and ran to make the Gate at 2215.

The flight was still open. Then the processing started. Passport had be scanned as it is an Australian Federal requirement and data entered in to the Australian Immigration and Customs data base. Time ticking. I'd made the flight!

Then there was the walk of shame. You know - that walk of the last passengers after the departure time has elapsed. Eyes looking, others thoughts running: "Which bar have you been sitting in?" "Lost in duty free shopping were you? Thanks!" "Now the flight is late!"

Exhausted, I found my seat and sat down. Needless to say, all this made for sleeping on the flight.

Everything else went well: flight, transit in Singapore, flight from Singapore to Sydney.

Arrived at Sydney, preparing for disembarking and the flight attendant announcement came over. "Would Mr Andrew Fraser please conatct ground staff in the terminal."

This I did. A message: "Please contact the baggage desk in the collection area."

The news I was anitcipating: Your bag is delayed.

At least this time they told me rather than have me stand there looking at a lone bag go around on the carousel until I realised my bag was not going to appear.

So hopefully I will get my bag the next day!

The advantage:
  • I didn't have to lug a 25kg bag through customs
  • Clearing customs was a breeze with just a carry-on bag
  • The look of envy in other passengers eyes as to how someone could travel overseas with just hand luggage, and
  • My bag gets delivered to my home - hopefully.

And so the circle is complete! I arrived in my first port of destination without a bag. I returned home without a bag!

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