Monday, July 10, 2017

Germany – The Adventure of the Last Two Days (Part 2) Bremen to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Airplane sculpture in park across Bremen Flughafen

The next day was my flight back home to Los Angeles by way of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. I checked out of the Holiday Inn Express, dragged my 2 suitcases to the airport and checked in one of them, then took a stroll in the terminal with my carry on bag. Suddenly, I realized that I had experienced at senior moment when I noticed that I checked the wrong bag! The bag I checked had my clean clothes, medications, personal items, laptop, and U.S. cellphone. The electronics were in the front pocket which was not locked. I walked back to the counter and asked the ground attendant if it was still possible to recall the luggage. She said it was too late. So I was resigned to the possibility that some of my items in that bag would get lost. In the meantime, the bag I had with me had dirty clothes and candy. But it also had a small container of pepper spray and a big bottle of body wash, both of which I had to throw away because it didn’t meet the carry on security requirements.

After going through security, I entered the waiting area and looked at the plane schedule which indicated that my flight was on time. The Air France app on my phone indicated the same thing. However, I didn’t see a plane parked at the ramp and we kept waiting for an announcement which never came. A few people including me went to talk to the Air France HOP agent and she told us that the plane was delayed at least half an hour due to technical problems. I told her about my connecting flight to L.A. which was supposed to leave an hour after my supposed arrival time in Charles de Gaulle. She told me those connecting flights are often delayed too. That didn’t make me feel any better though. Having experienced how long it took to transfer from one terminal to the next in CGD, I again resigned myself to missing my flight to L.A.
Sand sculpture depicting summer vacation in Bremen Flughafen

Our flight from Bremen to Paris was delayed an hour and sure enough, as we arrived in CDG, I saw the final boarding notice for my flight. It took a while before the shuttle bus transporting us from one terminal to another arrived and when it did, the driver drove at what seemed like 5 MPH. When we got off, I walked as fast as I could but when I got to the gate, it was already closed for boarding. It was too bad that I had left my Superman cape behind in California. It would have been useful to at least fly from one terminal to the next, if not from Germany to L.A.

 I was directed towards the Air France customer service desk, and after a short wait, I went to talk to the ground attendant who seemed to have a permanent smile on her face. I told her that it must be tiring to keep her smile several hours a day, and she told me she was already used to it, having worked in that position for 15 years.

She gave me two options: there was a flight in about an hour leaving for San Francisco, and from there, I would board a Delta flight to Los Angeles. Or wait till the next day for a direct flight to LAX and the airline would help me with accommodations in Paris. I took the first option, gave the lady a fist bump for her help, and was soon boarding the flight to SFO. Thus ended the second leg of this adventure.
My last beer in Germany the night before leaving (with apple strudel from McDonald's)

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