Eat breakfast at the hotel. I splurge and have two waffles with syrup and scrambled eggs after the plate of salmon, brie and fruit. How crappy can this day be?
Go down to the lobby and hop in the taxi. The taxi has a sort of apricot fart smell to it which I think is a German thing. I only half gag at the thought of a 30 minute taxi ride in this olfactory dream machine.
Arrive at the airport. Driver informs me that he needs to charge me a 4 Euro surcharge because I’m using a credit card. No other driver has charged me that. The smell is really too much for me so I tell him to charge away.
Waiting in line to check my bags. Watching people all around me not get upgraded. Feel happy. Listen to agents tell lots of travelers around me that their seat has changed. Look down to see my seat assignment is the same. I should have suspected something was up.
Very nice United airport person (what are they called anyway) checks my bags and apologizes for not being able to clear my upgrade from Washington to Boston. I tell her that for a 60 minute flight I don’t care where I sit.
Pass through security without having to remove my shoes and belt. How civilized. I forget about the apricot fart taxi and declare my love for Germany.
In line for exit immigration. German police guy only speaks grunt. He flips through my passport, stamps it and I’m on my way.
I show the gifts I bought to the customs person who stamps my tax form so I can get the tax back on the gifts I bought. I see her and her partner start to laugh as I walk away, probably at what I paid for my gifts. Stupid Americans.
Woman at the tax window pays me in US dollars. Auntie Annie’s Cinnamon Sticks, here I come.
Stop at the strip club at the airport to take pictures of it with the other idiotic Americans who think it’s great there is a strip club in an airport with dildo’s in the window. I have an hour. Look in my wallet and see I only have 5 Euro left and I can’t imagine that will buy me anything worthwhile.
Decide not to go to the airline lounge. Walk 10 minutes to the gate, go through another quasi-security screen. Sit down and alternately start to do some puzzles and check my phone for the really important emails that are always arriving.
Girl sitting across from me moves to the seat so her back is to me. Look next to me and see creepy guy staring at her. I’m relieved it’s not me.
More people are showing up complaining about seat issues. Shockingly I figure out in my head that something is up. I pull out my phone, bring up the flight on the United app to see that the aircraft has been switched to one of the old configurations. This sucks. This sucks for the following reasons:
- The business class seats suck. More later about this.
- The configuration of the seats suck. More about this later.
- I see on the seat map that I now have a window.
Yes, I know, wah wah wah. Listen to me complain about having to sit in business class. I hate window seats. I don’t sleep on flights. So if the guy next to me falls asleep then I have to step over him. You slowly creep one leg over and then steady yourself before swinging the other leg over to the aisle. So you are basically mounting the person next to you for a moment, and of course that’s when they wake up realize they are joining the mile high club whether they like it or not.
I also see that there are no more aisle seats available.
Waiting to board the aircraft I see a guy I met at the conference. He complains for 15 minutes about how much he hates United and that if only this was US Air he would be flying first class. I try to redirect the conversation to anything else but he is persistent.
I board the aircraft, sit down and relax. Window seat. Sure. Why not. Tons of room in front of me.
Annoying woman #1 and annoying woman #2 sit down in the seats in front of me. I’m totally screwed. There are basically two types of flyers those who have no regard for anyone else around them and the rest of us. I can already tell these two are the latter.
Younger annoying woman in front of me starts yelling across the cabin to her friend, “My immigration card is in German! What do I do? Ha ha ha ha ha.” Except that her “Ha ha ha..” was more of ear piercing cackle. Even if you have never seen this card before it’s pretty straight forward. I cringe.
Flight attendant brings orange juice. Ahhh....
Older annoying woman decides to educate young annoying woman on how to work all the controls on her seat. More cackling, “ha ha ha... I totally can’t believe that’s how it works. Ha ha ha.” Maybe she’s wanted in Germany and they will come take her off the plane.
Very nice guy who only speaks French sits down next to me. I consider asking him if he would like to switch seats but I don’t. Frequent traveller for sure.
We depart. Take off. In the air. Let’s go.
Drink service comes around. Rum and coke please. Thanks for the warm nuts. I look over and see my seat mate asleep. He’s a pro.
Yes. Another rum and coke please. No, I’m still working on the warm nuts.
A warm hot towel. I love warm hot towels.
Why yes. I would love another rum and coke with my appetizer.
Oh, a drink with my dinner. Yes. I’ll have a rum and coke. And by this point the buzz is going strong and I’m feeling much less annoyed about my impending doom. It’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.
Waiting for the spinach and pasta dish to cool off and for the cheese to congeal enough for me to eat it without the cheese ending up all over me. United meals are all predictably horrible. Never order the beef - always overcooked.
Sure. One more rum and coke. It’s always good to drink in odd numbers.
No. I’m still waiting for the cheese to completely congeal. Please don’t take my tray yet.
Yes I’m done. I’ll have the cheese platter for dessert.
Watch as Annoying Woman #1 eats her ice cream fully reclined. What is she a queen? Cleopatra? Who the fuck eats ice cream reclined like that?
Step over sleepy head and head to the bathroom. Person in front of me apparently has never used an airplane bathroom and left me an un-flushed toilet and a sink full of water.
Heading back to my seat awesome asian flight attendant offers me another Rum and Coke. I decline. That was definitely the wrong choice.
Get back to my seat to find seat mate with duvet on and reclined. He totally knew the drill - waiting for me to finish dinner and hit the head before fully reclining.
Window shades are all closed. Annoying woman #1 and annoying woman #2 now fully reclined so I can see their frosted (#1) and fake (#2) roots. I am now trapped. No way out. If I was on the other United aircraft - the new one - even if I was in the window it is easy to stand up and step out. The old configuration sucks so much. I know, wah wah wah.
Take out laptop and play Tetris for awhile.
Type up notes from the conference and realize that I am way more productive after drinking a few rum and cokes.
Decide to take a nap realizing that I was wrong about being more productive. Put all of my stuff away, grab the United headphones, eject the video display from the seat. No video on demand on this aircraft. #oldSchoolUnited
Video display is broken. Does not work. This happened to me last year on the way back from Frankfurt. I call over the flight attendant. He was so nice and tried to help, but broke is broke.
I fall asleep.
I wake up. Find a card from United Flight Attendant which I can use to request “compensation” for the broken video display.
Play Bix for an hour.
Read for an hour.
Buzz is totally gone now. But I can’t drink anything because I can’t get out of the seat so I play more Tetris.
Annoying woman #1 gets up and fiddles with the seat lamp illuminating her boobs. On. Off. On. Off. Funny.
Recline and listen to classical music. Fall asleep.
Wake up. I suck at sleeping.
AW #1 and #2 are now only half-reclined so I sneak out and hit the head again.
Do I want another meal? Cheese plate or Turkey Sandwich that is toasted. Pick the cheese. Pick the cheese. Pick the Cheese. “I’ll have the turkey.” “Sir, another rum and coke.” “No. I’m good.”
Turkey sandwich on burnt bread arrives. I pick off the turkey. Sleepy head got the cheese plate and didn’t eat much of it. I consider asking him if I can have the rest.
Land at Dulles. My head hurts.