How to stay out of Phoenix when the weather is nice..........

Chicago Travel Blog

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Giving her best flight attendant smile (as she called it) on our Privat Air flight to DUS.

It all started after we had been home from our respective jobs for six days, Mark from Savannah, Georgia and me from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  "So what do you want to do this weekend?" We can't sit around here and watch TV the next nine days", which was how much time I had before I was to return to work on Christmas Eve.  Mark had the rest of the year off and just the thought of no work to fill his thoughts on sleepless nights was already starting to keep him up in further anticipated sleepless nights.  Not one to shirk household chores and projects, he mentally brushed them aside and said, "Let's go somewhere." Well, heck, why not?.....That's what we do !!   His remark was tantamount to Mickey Rooney saying to Judy Garland (in one of their countless musical extravaganzas).

The Business Class "pods".
...."Hey, let's put on a show!", except without the unlimited budget and dancing girls.

So, we put the pin in the map and came up with the Christmas markets in Germany.  Within 36 hours or less, we had planned, reserved, packed, instructed our good friends (L.J. and Eleanor) in their cat maintenance duties, completed one flight from Phoenix to Chicago, another from Chicago to Dusseldorf, Germany and were planting our feet on German soil. 

To digress, it wasn't all that simple as we prepared to take off from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.  Our anticipated ontime departure was delayed due to air traffic control delays into Chicago...

Can there really be only 12 rows on this aircraft?
......  What do you mean we're late?  The weather is fine here !!  No worries though. We had allowed two and a half hours connecting time there and this only gave me more time to bone up on my German.  Two hours later we finally lifted off the desert on our way to the land of snow and ice.

Once we landed at ten past one in the afternoon, we were nearly certain that we would not make our connection to the Lufthansa flight departing at 1530. After sitting in the "penalty box" (an affectionate term that airline folk have for the ground holding area) for 25 minutes, we KNEW we would not be making the connecting flight.  Plus, I'd gone against my better judgement this time and had checked a bag (mental note: don't check any bags ever again).

.....real china, real glass, real flatwear.....
So, we would have to wait an indeterminate amount of time until the ramp agents finished their breaks and decided to offload our luggage. No wait, I'm not in Philadelphia.........our bags came up in record time.  We made our way to the Lufthansa ticket counter in no great hurry in order to beg forgiveness and pray for room on the next Frankfurt flight.  As we exchanged pleasantries at the counter and commiserated with each other for being in the airline industry, the ticket agent advised us that United Airlines had the next flight to FRA but it would do no good to go to the counter until we had phoned their reservations line and "listed" ourselves for the flight. "They won't even talk to you if you don't have a listing", he said.  As it turned out, they won't even talk to you on the phone, as countless  calls were made to a recorded message and we climbed from branch to branch of the phone tree with no success.
The dessert trolley.....don't mind if I do..........
  In an act of frustration and hopelessness, since the next Lufthansa flight didn't leave for FRA until 2225 in the evening, I mosied back to the counter and asked what time the next flight would depart for anywhere in Germany.  This is not as dangerous and it sounds since Germany is probably no bigger than Arizona and we weren't  exactly going to be routed to a city thousands of miles from our intended destination.  The agent made a few entries into her computer, trapsied into the back room for a minute and returned to casually ask, "You wouldn't mind flying on a small aircraft would you?"  Shoot, at this point I'd take a helium balloon across the "pond".  "Hey, no problem, I say.......where are we going? and.
Hurry up and take the picture before I confiscate that camera.
.....uh....exactly how small is that plane?" " We have an A319 that is configured for Business Class only, she says, smiling slightly."  "But, you'll have to run as it leaves at 1530."  Ever the consumate airline employee I ask, "Will our bag make it?"  "Oh, yes! she answers", all the while knowing that I knew there was no chance in "you know where" that it would.  I forgave her for her one transgression as we turned tail and ran in the direction of B18. 

It was 1527 as the gate loomed into view and I was gabbing on my cell phone to our friends, the Von Banks,  in Wilmington, De. (for info on "Hotel Von Bank" see previous travblogs on this site) . After surprising the gate agent as well as the flight attendants as they thought boarding was complete, we took our seats, took a glass of champagne  and took a deep breath as we congratulated ourselves on this unexpected coup de grace.

okay....a flower, bowl of soaps and other little pretties....hey, it didn't even smell like a lav....

I looked in awe at the interior of the aircraft.  The A319s upon which I work, seat 124 passengers uncomfortably in 22 rows.  This aircraft had 12 rows, seating two passengers on each side of an aisle so wide that even two of our most robust  flight attendants, walking side by side, would be hard pressed to touch their well rounded backsides against the seats on the aisles!  Forty-eight business class seats with only twenty-two passengers headed to Dusseldorf !   It was difficult to suppress the grin that was forcing its way onto my face as I perused the dinner menu, mentally making my selections for the evening meal.  I was only allowed to whip out the camera, by my embarrassed husband, after it was evident that I wasn't the only one with an itchy trigger finger.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning as I watched the flight attendants gliding up and down the aisles with their white cloth lined trolleys upon which gleamed silver pots and pitchers and numerous colorful bottles of liqueurs and juices.  Meals were served on covered, china plates and we even had cloth rollups containing among other flatwear,  "real" knives, something which had become non-existent upon my own airline since 9-11.  Since there was one  attendant for every five passengers on this flight we never had to worry about missing out on anything that was offered, including the boxed white chocolate Christmas tree that was presented to every passenger. 

But all too soon we had worn out all the facilities available on the aircraft (you should have seen the lavatories!) and could see the twinkling lights of Dusseldorf below us as we touched down in Deutschland, ready to file the claim for our bag which was waiting with the agent back in Chicago......

olsalty says:
Wow, what a flight. I've never seen an aircraft interior like that. I wish I was a "Pod Person". Let's hope the next installment brings forth more positive surprises. Traveling during the holidays takes courage me thinks.
Posted on: Dec 18, 2007
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Giving her best flight attendant s…
Giving her best flight attendant …
The Business Class pods.
The Business Class "pods".
Can there really be only 12 rows o…
Can there really be only 12 rows …
.....real china, real glass, real …
.....real china, real glass, real…
The dessert trolley.....dont mind…
The dessert trolley.....don't min…
Hurry up and take the picture befo…
Hurry up and take the picture bef…
okay....a flower, bowl of soaps an…
okay....a flower, bowl of soaps a…
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photo by: mahoney