The journey of heading home starts with our train trip from Nuremberg to the Frankfurt flughafen train station. It is the main station that connects the airport with the regional area. We booked a hotel that night near the airport so we wouldn’t have to be rushed to get to the terminal. The hotel I booked with my Hilton points just so happened to be connected to the train station next to the airport. There is a convenience market and restaurants in the same mall area. After a hotel room snafu (we somehow got a non-smoking room that was smokey) we went out to get dinner at Paulaner, a restaurant located at THE SQUAIRE (the train station and airport mall area). I tried the Schnitzel one last time and was happy it came with a much needed salad. I also treated myself to some tropical dessert.
We go back to the hotel for an early night. We set our alarms and rest up for the flight.
We wander around a little bit in the morning before our walk to the aiport. We find a bakery where I get coffee and this cheese covered pretzel thing. I decided to carb it one last time in Germany.
Then it is on the walk to the terminal. It isn’t as quick as I thought it would be and we did end up taking a bus. The hotel and train station is in terminal 1 and our flight was terminal 2. Still have plenty of time since I always leave early for flights.
Frankfurt is a little odd. I felt like we went through security multiple times. You first go through a very easy screening and you feel like you are in the clear. But don’t buy any liquids or anything you expect to take on the plane. If you are US bound, you will have to go through screening once more to get to your gate, only within a window for your flight. They will make you dispose of any liquids you purchased (unless it is from duty free shop and “locked” up). There is a bathroom and shop on the other side where you can get duty free items, snacks, cold sandwiches, and drinks (water, soda, beer, and wine to consume there).
Once we got through the final round we sit and wait. Things seem to be smooth until we get our first delay message. It is a mechanical issue and technicians are looking at it. No eta, but no worry because so many flights are delayed these days we just expect that as the norm.
We sit some more and more delay messages. At some point they start to say a couple hours. Still hopeful of arriving home. They bring out drinks and finally sandwiches. I start to hear the rumor mill. The flight is getting cancelled. They won’t announce until it gets officially cancelled by the technicians. They also talk about how it won’t be rescheduled for later that day because the crew will time out and there is no crew to fill the 8 hour flight. People start looking for other flights to get on.
I hear the rumors but don’t want to believe them until we hear official word over the intercom. It finally comes. Our flight is cancelled. We are asked to wait for word of what to do. Some book themselves on alternate flights or the same flight the next day but now all those options are gone. Eventually they announce that they are creating a new flight for us the same time the next day and they are putting us in an airport hotel overnight with food vouchers.
We get some sort of vague instruction to find the shuttle for the Steigenberger Hotel and all arrangements will be handled at hotel. Apparently we are automatically booked on the flight for the next day. Groups of us wander out to find the bus. It is real confusing and no one is there to direct us. It is a group effort. Many on the flight are English speaking or have a good level of English language so with team work we find the bus. It is way too small for all of us waiting so we have multiple trips. While I am waiting delta calls me to offer me an $100 voucher. Really Delta? Still don’t know when I am getting home, and this hotel situation at the time seems messy. Not really the best time Delta unless you have some information to help me now!
When we get to the hotel it is long lines for the check in. My husband gets in line and I sit aside with the luggage. We check in with almost no identification. It is almost like we could have been just stragglers who came in at the right time and got a free room. Breakfast and Dinner are in a special conference room for our group. I wasn’t expecting much for a free hotel stay but was pleasantly surprised at our room. It was nicely decorated and very clean. The only bad part is that we were at the airport, it was already later in the day, so we had no real time to get to Frankfurt and sight see. Let me correct myself – ten years ago I would have hopped in a cab or train to do whatever Frankfurt I could do in YOLO style but tonight we want to eat and get a good night’s rest after being at the airport most of the day.
The dinner was buffet style and very impressive. I wasn’t expecting them to comp any alcohol but they had a seemingly never ending supply of the Radelberger beer. We took full advantage of it and did find it had an end – after we spent a couple hours hanging out chatting with some jazz/chamber music musicians from Brooklyn who were coming back from some Germany performances. A couple of them lived not too far from us. If you want to check them out they are Project Trio and Turtle Island Quartet. They were really nice group of guys.
Once the beer ran out it was time for bed. We rest up and finally get on our flight home the next day.
I heard rumors of good compensation granted for flight delays and cancellations and planned to do research when I got home. The next day we came to discover that our entire flight was comped. Both legs of the flight were refunded. So we basically went to Germany on a free flight with the “inconvenience” of having to miss another day of work. Fortunately we both have understanding employers so that wasn’t an issue.
The European union has stricter compensation laws for airline inconveniences and it appears Delta went above and beyond that. So it is hard to say that my bad travel luck is still in place since it was bad luck to have a flight cancelled, we still got home safe. Plus we were well compensated. I guess these are the good problems to have.
Until the next journey.