US Airways, United, Chicago and US again …

Oh my god, I begin to believe that I will never travel without
complications again. So, in a previous post, I described how I moved my
flight back to Germany to December 10th (today). Hah! That seemed to
just have worked fine … seemed. So I arrived at the US Airways
check-in (the first leg of the flight was a US flight to Charlotte at
1:50pm). And hah! They automatic check-in did not find a ticket … the
clerk had also not any idea that I was supposed to have a flight today.
Oh man, I was of course freaking out and very very persistent (blocking
the clerk for about 20 minutes). And, hmm, after some while we got it
resolved and I had a ticked with the neighboring United ???? Ok, don’t
ask, I have no idea but I was happy after I received all my boarding
passes :) . The schedule that US sent me via email (and also orbitz told
me) was not existing anymore. But see, how flexible they can be when
they have a persistent and angry customer :) . Note to self: just go
there next time with a fake printout and bum a free flight *g*.

Anyway, this flight was 3:50pm through Chicago … two hours later, but
it would only arrive 35 minutes later in Dresden (less layover) -
perfect! I tried to avoid Chicago in the original ticket (which was
through Charlotte) because from the four times I travelled through
Chicago, I was stuck two times. Anyway, I was happy to have my boarding
passes. Chicago … is another story in itself because this weird city
seems to have the strangest weather ever, like today. The flight that
was supposed to leave 2:30 was still in the gate at 3:30 when the
borading for my flight was supposed to start *argh*. And there were tons
of people with connection flights standing in line. And then they told us
that they give priority to the people that had the earlier flight. I had
several guys going to Europe in front of me and it looks like we would
all miss our connections. Some of them rented a car to catch their
flight – that was too late for me. So yeah, no way to Chicago … and
about 50 people in front of me in line at the gate. So it looked like I
would only get a flight the next day … but I had to give my talk at
the next day *argh*. Anyhow, I had the cleverest idea of the day :) . I
went back to the check-in and complained to them. And I was the first
one who had this idea, so I was able to catch the boss to tell him my
story. He was really cool and working/flirting closely with a clerk from
US Airways. So my proposed solution was to re-book me to another flight
through Charlotte with US. There was a flight, but there were no seats
from Frankfurt to DD anymore … but I still had my original boarding
pass. So we did some happy mixing, many confusing conversations and
finally, after approximately one hour of discussion with the two, two
boarding passes to Charlotte and Frankfurt with US. And the friendly guy
even got my luggage re-tagged (oh man, I hope this “blue tag” thing
works!!!!). And the queue behind me counted 45 people – I am pretty sure
that I was the only one of the Chicago travellers who made it to Europe
today :-D .

Btw., they have some kind of internal accounting system. It looks like
United bought a ticket from US for me. The price for the one-way to
Frankfurt was EUR 350 :) , not 2000!!!!

So I ran to the gate to Charlotte (they made the plane waiting for me :)
and now I’m in the A330 towards Frankfurt! Hah, actually, I made a
perfect deal with that. So I had some funny problem-solving discussions
(I really enjoy this), felt cool because I finally made it, got a *much
much* better airplane with personal video system and laptop power (my
oringinal flight was in one of thise crappy Lufthansa machines), and I
guess I will get some things when I call US Airways later to complain
about this all :-) . So the only drawback is the food … and yeah, I’m
just holding one of those butter-rolls (100% fat stuff) in my hands
*bah* – that must be a US airline. But, seriously, I really enjoy the
laptop power. I have been able to work 6 hrs of this flight intensively
and finished my 2 papers and 3 talks completely! We’re landing in 35
minutes in Frankfurt and I hope that I’ll get to Dresden in time (with
my luggage, but I’m not so sure about this).

Ok, I’m in Frankfurt now! Yeah! Germany! Back to the German organization and preciseness … not quite :-( . Lufthansa did not have a seat for me :-/. They told me that my ticket was cancelled. Great, but they gave me a new one because I looked like killing somebody. Anyway, after I git my ticket, I worried about my luggage and I went to a clerk to ask. Man, back in Germany … everybody is *sooo* unfriendly. It’s amazing! This Lufthansa employee refused to check my luggage for about 5 minutes because she explained me that if she would do this for everybody … blablabla. But I insisted and the guy behind me got annoyed of waiting jumped in my boat and also asked her. Anyway, eventually she checked on the luggage … and … hah, she did not find it. But I know that it was there because I checked it at the checkin in Charlotte. Ok, they found it boring 30 minutes later on some conveyor belt in another terminal and somebody even transported it to my plane. Oh man, if you don’t do everything by yourself.

But I arrived! That’s it for now …

IU Travel, US travel and flights between US and Germany in general

It begins to get weird if you’re trying to buy a one-way ticket. Those
tickets cost generally more than $2000 (sometimed >$3500) while a
rount-trip ticket is about $700. Weird, huh? So of course, I’m not
stupid and booked a round-trip to use it later for the tripe back. So it
happens that this trip is a conference trip to Germany and the flight
should be booked by IU travel. Hah, but I already had the first part
(form my arrival flight) and I did not want to pay the stupid $2500 for
a one-way where a two way was only $700. BUT: IU travel wanted/tried to
force me too. Seriously, they know about this problem, and they have a
“policy” that does not allow this. So they wanted that my lab wates
$1800!!!!! But I did not want this … so screw them … I booked
myself! Man, it took me 4 months to arrange this travel. This baurocracy
is as bad as in Germany, I never expected this.
But – how weird. I found out that this policy is actually mandated by
the US government! They want two-way flights and I even found out that
*not* taking the flight back is kind of illegal. Huh, good that I can
take it. I think I would loose my legal status if I don’t take it. But
yeah, that weirdness makes me then come back to Germany at least once
per year *g*. Oh man, this stuff sucks ….