Thirty Eight Thousand feet over the Atlantic heading towards Canada I can gladly report, we made our flight with time to spare. We are 5 and 1/2 hours into the flight to Dulles and all has been smooth sailing. The meal was actually pretty decent and the two movies were great entertainment. First the new National Treasure flick followed by Denzel in the Great Debaters. It is the story of the Wiley College Debate team in the 1930′s segregated south. A powerful film that made the time fly by.
Every time I fly Business Class I realize why I spend the time and energy on getting upgraded. Besides the movies and the marginally better food, it is the extra personal space that Business class affords. No elbows in your face and bumps coming down the aisles. It actually makes travelling bearable. I’m ready to go again already.
Our time today wasn’t always peaceful. In Athens at the Lufthansa check in we were treated very nicely at first, but no help getting on an earlier flight as the Lufthansa flight at 11:35 was actually operated by Aegean Air. They code share with Lufthansa but not United so $400 was the price tag for a little extra connection time. And after we got our boarding passes we were requested to return to the ticket office where we met the “Matron of Athens”. A rather large, deep voiced woman in the supervisor’s outfit was about to show the frugal guy who was king or queen of this hill. She proceeded to inform me that I owed her $400 for the change from our original itinerary of returning May 3rd. In fact her voice, deep as it was, became quite loud as she attempted to impress Katy and I with her power and majesty over the 4′ x 8′ cubicle she occupied. We stood our ground.
It seems my main man in Savannah had properly re booked us for our flight from Washington to Savannah on April 27th but had done nothing more than make a change to our reservation for the flights on April 26th. We were not booked according to Lufthansa, but yet they had just given us boarding passes at another station and those boarding passes were now located deep, deep, deep in my pocket. I was not giving them up, period. When I explained our circumstances of hasty departure and change in the US on the 21st, we received several more blusters and bellows and I gently as I could, explained that we were not told of any required change fees and were not in a position to be paying them to her. With some disgust, the Matron of Athens scoured through her notebook and located a number for United Airlines, I believe in the good old USA.
It is with great pleasure I get to inform you nobody answered at United and she let it ring and ring and ring for the longest time. Finally in disgust she hung up and proceeded to put the little stickers on our tickets that then blessed us to leave her kingdom without additional charge. Thanks goodness for the 8 hour time difference as she was calling the US at about 2:30 AM Eastern time. Off to Frankfort we go.
Still concerned about our short layover and if we would actually receive the Business Class seats Patrick had reserved for us, we settled in the A300 Airbus from Athens to Frankfort. It was about 24 across it seemed and we were packed in like sardines with no air conditioning while on the ground. It felt like forever for takeoff and we had a short layover. The meal was typically unsuitable for human consumption other than the stale roll and butter, but we were offered the opportunity to partake of a second glass of orange juice which I considered an honor after almost spending the rest of our life in Athens with the Matron.
Our arrival in Frankfort was ten minutes early and we made our way to the connecting gate without incident although Katy says I looked like a mad man as we approached the gate agent. I must have as the agent said all was well we had made the flight on time. Now the wait for the seats. Was it too be Business? or the dreaded cattle class for 8+ hours. I handed over only our itinerary at first as it indicated Business Class and I kept the Matrons coach class blessing in my pocket. Little did I realize the United Gate agent was smarter than me and wondered if I actually had a ticket. Sheepishly, I produced the Matrons day pass, it caught a quick scan by the United agent, and our Business class seats were issued. The pressure was off. We were going home in style.
So now here I sit, typing away just north of Bangor Maine on the map, anxiously awaiting the next feeding scheduled for anytime now, if you don’t mind. Feeling fat, happy and sassy as this trip is winding to a close. We have been to Athens. We have climbed the Acropolis, strolled through the flea markets and neighborhoods of the city. The people were courteous but not overly outgoing as are the Scots or Irish. The hairdos were different and the brown eyes are penetrating. The view from our room romantic overlooking the Acropolis and the sea in the distance.
I don’t know if we will return to Athens. We have a free cruise starting there if we’d like, but maybe there is another place for us to see. Maybe what we saw will be our memory, and whenever we travel together, it is a good one.