Upgraded to First Class (to the wrong city)

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Business travel can be such a joy.  This trip was to Krakow for the PI (PROFIBUS and PROFINET International) meeting.  Upgraded to First Class (to the wrong city).  Yes, it was that kind of trip.  My wife and I had a short layover in Chicago between Phoenix and Frankfurt – at least that was the schedule.  So when we arrived early from Phoenix and found that our departure gate was right next to the arrival gate we were thrilled.  Not so thrilled when they postponed the flight 30 minutes at a time… six times.  Then cancelled.  A quick call to reservations confirmed a new flight for the next day… to London and then to Frankfurt where we would miss our flight to Krakow.  (American Airlines provided hotel and food vouchers.)  Immediately called Lufthansa for the Frankfurt-Krakow changes.  Sorry, can’t do that on the phone; go to a ticket office.  The new, later non-stop flight is wide open so there should be no problem.   Since there was plenty of time the next day before the London flight, I went to the Lufthansa ticket office in Chicago’s terminal 1 – the farthest possible point from American.  Sorry, can’t do that here; you have to do that at the ticket office in Frankfurt.  Made it to London with a complimentary upgrade to first class, then Frankfurt.  Sorry, the flight to Krakow is completely booked; you are on standby, but we reserved seats on the only other flight today… through Munich.  (€50 each required – we are so nice to you – we are only charging the change fee, not the difference in fare.)  Ran in to many colleagues also going to Krakow at the gate.  They got on. We didn’t.  There were empty seats but the plane was overweight.  (I’ve got to cut the cookie intake, I guess.)  The gate agent could not issue new boarding passes; please go to the ticket office.  I spent one hour speaking to the agent who messed up the tickets by putting both tickets in my name (I’m really not that wide!).  (€59 each required for the difference in fare.  But the last agent said…  sorry, she is gone for the day.)  Somehow this required going in and out of security four times – my passport is filled with Frankfurt stamps.  And my wife had her suitcase bounce off an escalator and break her toe (probably).  So, six airports over three days to arrive 8 hours before the PI meeting.

The good news – the meeting was extremely worthwhile, the host was extremely hospitable, and I got to spend time with an old friend from the Wonder years.

Now we’re in Frankfurt, hoping against hope that tomorrow’s flight home is much smother than the trip over.

UPDATED: Made it home uneventfully… almost – just a minor delay while they removed a screw… from a tire.  They said it wasn’t a deep enough hole to cause a problem.  Apparently they were right.

–Carl Henning

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