Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kiwi Adventures Begin Here

Checking with the Lufthansa website, our flight was going to be forty minutes late. There was no sense in sitting at the airport longer than needed, so we called the shuttle service to ask if we could delay our pick-up. They gave us an additional thirty minute grace period to sit around and wait at home. Now that we had the extra unplanned time, we weren’t sure what to do with it. Now, I have to brag. We are leaving for 33 days and our luggage consists of one carry-on suitcase each, and one backpack each. My backpack holds my netbook computer, my camera, the extra telephoto lens, my phone, and all of the cords needed to maintain the electric and charge the batteries of the above. 

When they came for us, there was only a single rider in the van. Yet, it took them over an hour to get us to the airport. The last pick-up was on the border of Slovakia or so it seemed. We drove forever.  Once we arrived, we then had to wait twenty minutes for her to get to the van; this made me reconsider our decision to take this later shuttle. Once full, our first stop was Ferihegy I to drop off two people. We were no sooner on the road again, when suddenly the driver turned around and returned back to Ferhegy I to pick up another passenger. My stomach knots were telling my headache, this is punishment for changing the shuttle times.

Once at the airport, all thoughts of tons of time for hanging around flew out faster than any jet or the line we were in. The airport was so crowded, it looked like the entire city was evacuating. We were able to get our boarding passes from the self-check in machines for Budapest to Munich and Munich to Tokyo, but not beyond. Lufthansa only had three desks open: one only for 1st and Business class. Even when she was not busy, she refused to take any other travelers. With the flight delayed by forty minutes, it was still a dubious situation whether we were going to make it or not. Both Lufthansa and Air New Zealand have strict policies on carry-on luggage. We could take on the carry-on suitcase or the backpacks, but not both. Needless to say, the carry-ons were checked. As luck would have it it turned out we did with a bit of time to spare. The Duna Lounge has just been added to the Diners Club list of lounges, but we have been rejected in lounges in the past since our, cards are American Diners Club, not international ones. We tested the waters and received warm welcomes and free drinks with snacks.

Almost everyone on the plane had reason for concern since we left Budapest late. Still we were lucky. The flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt were all completely cancelled; at least we made it out. About 1/3 of us were going on to Tokyo and another 1/3 was headed to San Francisco. It did not seem to be many stopping in Munich. Both groups were fearful of missing our connections. There was no time to spare. We waited longer on the runway than usual once we landed, only to have our gate changed when we arrived. They had to bus us to the terminal; our late arrival caused our plane to lose its gate. I mentioned to Ron that the bus was filled with Asians, so perhaps they were going to Tokyo also, which may make Lufthansa hold the plane.
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