On flying home* for Christmas

Two weeks ago I bought a ticket for a flight to Berlin.

Last week I checked in online, printed my boarding card and packed my bag.

On Friday I got a train from work to the airport (and was there on time), went through security, unpacking and repacking most of my suitcase in the process.

Once on the other side, I scanned the departures board to find my gate. I got there with a few minutes to spare.

Half an hour or so later I was still waiting. No one had said anything about a delay, but I fly fairly often and they rarely bother to inform you if it’s less than an hour or so.

Anyway, I phoned the DB to let him know that I would be late and that he didn’t need to set off yet. He was already on the road and asked me how I could phone him from the air. I did a slight double take, and told him I was still waiting for take-off. He’d apparently checked the website and it had told him I was in the air. This caused a puzzled silence.

Turns out there were 2 machines scheduled to fly to Berlin simultaneously with 2 different airlines. I hadn’t checked the departures board properly, and hadn’t even registered the miniature symbol in the corner of the screen at the gate.

I asked the hassled people at the gate if I could fly with them instead (there weren’t many people waiting) but obviously that wasn’t going to happen, they couldn’t even sell me a ticket for the flight because they’d already started boarding (at least on the computer).

After I checking the alternative Berlin gate and finding no one there, I went back to the main hall.

It appears one isn’t allowed to go through security the wrong way. You have to be locked in a small box first which then opens on the other side.

Almost an hour and a lot of talking later I got my ticket rebooked for the next flight.

(In the meantime I’d phoned the DB a couple of times, spoken to the staff at all the airline help desks including asking the other airline how much tickets cost for their next flight, but their computer booking system was down and the bloke said it would be extortionate being as how it was so late. It isn’t their policy to fill as many seats as possible…).

I went through security for the second (third if you count going the wrong way too) but this time it was full and I didn’t bleep.

The plane was delayed by about 15 minutes and once on the runway we had to wait for ages because of an accident.

The flight itself was non-eventful but man, was I glad to get to Berlin.


*Berlin isn’t my home, but DB’s…

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