- Treat Yo’ Self Trip Report Introduction
- Lufthansa 747-8i – IAD-FRA
- Canceled Flight Leads to Poetic Train Ride
I was feeling alive when we started our descent into Frankfurt. I enjoyed my time in First Class on the Lufthansa 747-8i, but I was ready for the next adventure. I thought that next adventure would be checking out the Lufthansa First Class lounge for an hour or so, and then hopping on a plane to MUC.
I wasn’t very rested since I didn’t sleep on the plane, so I was looking forward to getting to Munich to catch some sleep. But, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and this was one of those times.
It all started when we had to delay our landing for over 30 minutes, due to weather and traffic. And then when we finally did land, there were technical issues at our designated gate. It was a cluster.
After finally getting off the plane, I had about 35 minutes before my next flight, so it was off to the races to find the gate. When I arrived at the gate, it was a ghost land, and I knew that it had happened. Canceled.
I have experienced this before with Lufthansa. Last summer, Jordan and I had a routing through Frankfurt during their “strike,” so I knew the game. I had 12 hours to get to Munich to make my flight to Bangkok, so I wasn’t freaking out…totally. I was running on fumes, though.
I took one look at the customer service line and knew I would be in it for at least 2-3 hours. Then I made my way to the Business and First Class lines and they were just as long. They sometimes take longer to get through, too, because some premium passengers can be hiiigh maintenance, and there can be fewer workers.
I found a gate that had just canceled their flight, and had just a handful of people standing in line waiting to talk to a rep. This rep seemed ready to help, so I jumped in the line hoping that she could re-ticket me on Swiss or another Lufthansa partner. While waiting in line, I called United and asked them if they could put me on the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok that left later that evening. I knew about this flight, because I was hoping First Class would open up on it so I could fly directly to BKK instead of having to route through MUC. Turned out they could move me over to the flight, but it was in economy and they couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t be delayed/canceled as well. No thanks.
I then tried to call Lufthansa, but could never reach anyone. I had luck doing this during the “strike” and they were able to re-ticket me in a matter of minutes, but they changed their phone numbers and I couldn’t find a new one.
I was still searching for a Lufthansa phone number when it was my turn to talk to the lady rep at the gate. She was more than helpful and told me that she could put me on standby on the next flight in a few hours, but she couldn’t guarantee I would be on it (there was already a long standby line).
Normally, I would take my chances and go to the lounge to kill the time, but there were LONG lines just to get in the lounges. Ugh. I just wanted out of there.
She then offered to give me a train voucher to Munich, but told me I’d have to find my way to the airport once I arrived in Munich. I asked how long it took to train to Munich and after hearing “a little more than 3 hours” – I was in. I took the voucher and headed to the train station. Adventure on.
It took a few questions, but finding the right train to Munich was pretty easy. It was crowded at first, but once we left Frankfurt, there were plenty of seats.
It was moderately comfortable, and had wi-fi, so I was happy. And I’m from Texas and have lived in Texas my whole life, so I was pretty enamored with the snowy scenery as we trained through the German countryside. Maybe it was because I hadn’t slept in 36 hours, maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was the Purity Ring on my iPod, but I was feeling this train ride. [I'm naturally cold blooded, so I was more than happy to just be looking at the snow and not actually outside in it. I mean, I wear a hoodie year round in Austin.] All this to say, I was glad that I opted to get the hell out of the Frankfurt airport and train to Munich.
Once I arrived in Munich, it was off to find the subway to the airport, which is in… the boonies. Seriously, why put an airport in the middle of freaking nowhere? But it was easy enough to find which subway was going to the “flughafen.” I hopped on and looked forward to hitting the lounge up for a shower and nap.
I knew I was on the right subway, too, because there was a German businessman with a suitcase. I was going to get off the subway when he did, if things got confusing. Well, things got confusing.
An elderly German lady began to talk to me in German. It turns out that I may have some German blood, but I can’t speak a lick of German. I didn’t put together what she was trying to tell me until after she hopped off the train and the man with the suitcase approached me at the next stop and said, “we need to get off of here now.” Yes, sir. We began sprinting in the other direction and barely made it onto the subway. He told me that the subway had changed routes today, so we needed to switch.
I didn’t feel bad for not knowing this, because he was German and even worked at the airport and he didn’t know. Anyway, I had a great time talking to him about travel and Germany as we made our way to the airport in the boonies.
Overall, I’m never happy about cancelations, but I actually enjoyed training it through the German countryside and rubbing shoulders with some of the locals, who were all extremely nice, even if I knew some of them had to be laughing at me for wearing a light sweater during the winter. But hey, I was on my way to 90 degree temperatures in Bangkok.
— Geoff Whitmore