Maybe it wasn’t a planes, trains and automobile experience.
But like John Candy and Steve Martin’s mission to get home for thanksgiving – so was our determination to get to our destination.
My colleague Gareth and I were heading to a team away day with our Dutch colleagues in Holland.
It was all smoothly planned by our London office.
Plane booked, hotel secured, route to airport agreed.
What could go wrong?
It was the first time I’ve been abroad with work so I was looking forward to the experience.
I’ve only been part of our team for two months so lots of emotions was flowing through my mind and body.
I naturally wanted to make a good impression and in front of my peers this is a natural feeling.
But ultimately I was excited not just to meet new people, but at the thought of a business trip abroad.
So off we went, Gareth picked me up on the way to the airport.
Oblivious of the unexpected, we motored towards the airport – munching on our tasty breakfast.
I had knocked up bacon and sausage baps for the journey to the airport. It was an early start so the baps would fuel us.
Then a text message came through from KLM – our flight was cancelled.
The KLM app I downloaded the previous day announced the end of a quick hop abroad.
We turned around, we had full bellies but empty hearts.
Holland or bust – our road trip bubble was burst.
We got to work deflated.
But hope was to hand, there was an alternative flight later that day. It was an indirect flight via Munich.
We went for it, so the road trip was back on!
We got to the airport with no problems. But then Gareth got stopped at security, apparently they found his hand luggage had traces of explosives.
Explosives said Gareth, but it’s a new bag.
Don’t worry said security.
Don’t worry about what, said Gareth, you said my bag has explosives
These things sometimes happen. It’s likely traces of something similar.
Similar said Gareth, what’s similar to explosives. It’s a new bag
Thankfully the bag was innocent, Gareth and his new bangless bag were free to continue.
We landed in Munich airport and had quite possibly the longest walk ever to our connecting flight.
One of the staff even had a bike, sensible chap.
We had an hour or so until our flight, so decided to grab some lunch. Our stomachs agreed that those baps felt like a long time ago.
Amazingly we found somewhere that served currywurst.
I’d had currywurst in Berlin with my gorgeous Tina so was happy to find an eatery that serves this lovely dish.
Gareth hadn’t eaten currywurst so when ordering I was slightly nervous that my hype could end with an unhappy Gareth.
And with a stein of beer as big as my head we sat and wow – enjoyed the food – thankfully.
So bellies full we headed for departures.
Hmm said Gareth I think we need to get booked in soon. Our footfall sped up.
And while that stein made me relaxed it also made me need a leak.
Damn I had to go. Gareth understood.
German toilets are so efficiently clean!
Ok we were off. We found an empty departures lounge and an unfriendly KLM rep.
TICKETS she said with all the warmth of the last ice age.
We don’t have any I explained, we had a forced change of flights, I have the reference number. I eagerly beared the flight details on my phone.
You don’t have paper tickets, I need paper tickets. The flight is due to leave and I’m about to close. Where are your paper tickets?
I don’t have paper tickets but I do have proof that we have seats on that plane. Here, look at my phone.
The flight is about to leave and I need to close boarding she said.
Eventually she took the reference number but only by handwriting the number down on paper.
What’s the deal with paper at Berlin airport!
We were through and worked our way down some lonely stairs. We exited and a guy gestured towards a bus full of bored looking passengers.
Gareth and I exchanged thankful relief. Although that relief soon turned to concern when after five minutes the bus hadn’t moved.
Surely the plane was about to take off and we are sat on a lifeless bus. Did that guy suggest we board the bus really?
Then the bus started and we moved. Actually driving away from the planes.
No I thought why are we driving away from the planes. Towards the planes, not away!
We drove down a hill and turned onto what looked like a dual carriageway.
Where are we going?
What is the driver going to do with me Gareth and the still bored looking travellers.
Gareth and I exchanged glances.
Heart races normalised as we came back onto the airfield (munich airport is massive) we sighed a short lived relief.
Our glances cracked when we stopped at a plane not badged with KLM.
Did our angry paper loving check-in fraulein have the last laugh?
Gareth asked one of the bored looking travellers if this plane was heading to Skipol airport but the traveller was to ignorant or bored to reply.
Moment of truth we thought. Every step up those stairs were a sound of shame if this plane was heading somewhere else.
Gareth was ahead and asked the inevitable.
Is this plane heading to Skipol airport?
Thankfully we had made it!
I’m not sure connecting flights are for me but this was certainly an experience.
The away day was great, some laughs and learnings but most important – direct flights home!
I still wonder what the beef at berlin is with paper tickets.