Everyone has heard of “German efficiency,” but there was none to be found in the airport security line. The line wasn’t very long, but was so slow! They were basically taking apart each person’s carry-on bag despite having a perfectly serviceable x-ray machine. They even examined my empty water bottle and told me I was not allowed to take more than 3 ounces of liquid. My water bottle was clear plastic and attached on the outside of my bag. This extra scrutiny seemed ridiculous. But I assured them that my visibly empty bottle was indeed empty by shaking it for them.
Our flight to Spain was not direct. It was also one of the only flights we did not book through STA, since they didn’t have any deals. We couldn’t find any reasonably priced direct flights from Munich to Barcelona, so we used a discount carrier with a one hour layover in Düsseldorf.
Of course, nothing could be that easy. Remember how we always say you get what you pay for? This was another case in point.
The flight from Düsseldorf to Barcelona was delayed. We had done a great job of booking direct flights with week-long layovers in exotic locales. Our only true airport layover of the 30/40 World Tour was at LAX, but even then we planned a beach outing in Santa Monica. This time, all we were able to do was hang out in a terminal filled to capacity with people from various delayed flights. There weren’t any seats; even the nuns were sitting on the floor. So we headed to the bar to wait.
Once it was finally our boarding time, they packed us into busses en route to the plane. Finally, we had made it to the plane. Thank goodness!
Not so fast. Our journey was not yet over. It was not yet time to relax. This flight involved screaming children from all directions.
The irony is that we had been on plenty of other flights with children. Long flights. Hours and hours of being constricted to a little seat. But this tiny little 2 hour flight was horrible.
Perhaps I have a special intolerance as a person without children, but it really didn’t seem like the parents were doing anything. The little girl in front of us was traveling with her German mother and Spanish father. She was perpetually backward in her seat so that she could stare at us during the flight. She got increasingly bold and started sticking her arm through the gap between the seats.
This was a nuisance, but not a major problem…until her arm swatted my drink. Of course, it spilled all over my legs. So I got to spend the rest of the day with sticky legs and socks. Just lovely.
To understand just how much I disdain messes and sticky things, I will take you back to kindergarten. I hated using glue because it could get on my fingers. Other kids would smear glue all over their hands and wait for it to dry. I found this appalling.
Back to the flight. In the US, they would never serve food on a 2 hours flight. But this was Europe. They gave us some sort of boxed meal, but all the “fresh” food was inedible. I think the sandwich was just mayo — gobs and gobs of mayo. Perhaps there was something else in the sandwich, but it was hidden by the mayo.
We eventually arrived in Barcelona where we had to hurry up and wait for the train. Despite visiting Dubai, it seemed excruciatingly hot in the train terminal with little air flow. I expected it to be cooler in the evening as the sun descended. Perhaps I was just being my half empty self with additional annoyance and stickiness.
We ended up in a train car with a group of boys on vacation. With a liquor bottle. They ended up making quick friends with the two girls nearby, and the liquor went back and forth across the train. Hilarious people watching!
After an afternoon of travel that seemed like days, we checked into our hotel — conveniently located above the train station. This hotel had a space theme. All the hallways were dark until you walked by the sensor and then a group of vertical lights from floor to ceiling adjacent to each door would illuminate. It was a neat effect and probably saved a good bit of electricity too.
Our room was elegantly modern with space touches including a captain’s swivel chair. There were also round portals in the room with pictures of the moon. Oddly, one of them was above the toilet.
We even had multiple sizes of pillows with varying degrees of firmness. Plus, there was an amazing ergonomic backrest for sitting up in bed, and a perfect bed tray. Our room was so awesome and relaxing that we didn’t leave until 1 PM the next day in search of food.
Maybe the flight wasn’t actually that bad. I mean it wasn’t great, but it could have been much worse. Perhaps we had just been spoiled by awesome airlines with hot towels, edible food, and the gift of silence.
- How do you select flights? Price? Schedule? Number of stops?
- Describe your worst flight.
- Does a dislike of glue as a kindergartener make me an old soul?
- Is it a sin to spend the whole morning of your first day in a new country asleep? Or is sleep important to help you enjoy it?