Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.


The taxi driver from Clontarf to the airport offered to take me a different route, around Dublin Bay, along the coast pass the fishing village of Howth and then into the airport.  “It’s more miles but with school getting out it now may be less time.  At Howth he said “You’ll be flying right over that when you take off.”  (We did.)  I think he wanted the longer ride so he could ask me what I “really” felt about Sarah Palin.  He rather likes the idea of a governor named Sean Parnell.

Aer Lingus charges bags by weight.  15 kg is 15 Euros, 20 kg is 20 euros, 25 KG is 30 euros, and over 30 kg is 55 euros.  32 KG is the limit for 1 Bag.   Carry-on limit is 10 KG, which is more generous than their code share partner, Lufthansa, which allows only 8.  (Ya think code shares could coordinate, advertising seamless service and all?)  The baggage drop off line was long because of people shifting stuff between bags after the initial weigh in.  The staff was most helpful, especially to large families with lots of bags.

One guy had a tool kit which topped 32 KG by 2 KG and he was trying to shift tools into his carry-on which was just a smidge under 8 KG.  The desk agent and he examined tools to try to decide which would not get security upset.  No screwdrivers, nothing with a blade,  hammer — probably not.   They found some stuff that might get by and after three shuffles he got checked in with a smile and a joke.  What a nice staff.

It was interesting to watch once I got up close but it took between 20 and 25 minutes to get to that point.  I knew my weight coming over from Alaska but at Radio Days I picked up lots of printed material.  I packed so that if Lufthansa weighed my carryon it would be just over 8 kilos, which I could bring down by pulling my polar fleece and a book out of the carry-on.  It was all by guess, of course, hotels really should have baggage scales for customers.  I figured my check through bag may be over 20 kilos but not over 32.  I would pay the difference and charge it to expenses.  As it turned out my checked bag was 39.8 kilos and my carryon was 8.9, (this day they weighed both). “Yer perfect dear.”

Security took another while.  Several people gathered around the monitor looking at the image of my bag, pointing, whispering.  They pulled it out of the line, apologized and told me they would have to look through the bag.  They opened it and went through it and couldn’t find anything  like what they saw on the screen so they ran it through the machine again.  Again, a congregation formed.  “Sorry, we have to bring in an expert.  But would youse like a chair dearie?”   The expert came and did another search.  They finally decided that the metal clip on my eye glasses case, which clips it to my pocket, looked, on the x-ray, just like a folding knife.  With apologies all around they sent me on my way.

In Munich I landed at terminal 1 and left for Tbilisi from terminal 2.  There is a bus between them with sign saying “bus leaves in…” with a countdown clock.  The clock ticked down, no bus, so it started counting down again, German efficiency.  Then I saw the sign.  “For your convenience we have changed the schedule.  Busses now run every 15 minutes.”  The people who gave directions said it left every 10.  Do they think we’re idiots?

Going through security between the terminals I didn’t have a boarding card.  Aer Lingus does not issue them for Lufthansa.  (It’s that seamless service on code shares.)  But security let me through on the strength of my printout (No false positive on my eyeglasses case here) and told me to go directly to the check in counter.

At check-in the agent said “No goot, you must go to the transfer desk.”  I said the Transfer desk was closed when I walked by. “There is one open in the middle of the terminal, you must go to that.”

“But they told me to get the boarding pass at the gate.”

“Ha, you did go to the transfer desk. They told you to come here.  You must go back.”  It was then I realized I was probably in the middle of a union jurisdictional dispute.

“It was the people at security transferring to Terminal 2 who told me to come directly to the gate.  You are giving German efficiency a bad name.”  At Lufthansa I’ve more often found German officiousness than German efficiency.

“Vell, you are lucky I am a supervisor.  I can do it, but the girl next to me cannot.” (Yep, a labor dispute.  I checked the news.  Lufthansa is scheduled to go on a three day strike April 1.)  “Here, you have a whole row to yourself.”

“Good, Thank you.”

“Not goot, it means ve have not sold enough tickets.  And next time you vill not be so lucky.  You vill go to the transfer desk!”  I tried to click my heels but it doesn’t work so well with rubber heeled Merrill shoes.

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