So, drama-free trip with Brussels Airlines, and I was soon making my way through Schengen Emmigration on the way to the FLounge when I got the message….the drama to potentially end all drama…from Matt:
“I’m still at London City – appears our inbound flight sucked in a SWAN into the engine…they’re assessing damage now.” Now, on first thought, I chalked this up to drama. We had 2.5 hours in Frankfurt to connect, and I wasn’t terribly worried. As long as he was delayed less than two hours due to swan drama, things would be ok. A quick check of expertflyer showed there was another LCY-FRA flight 90 min after his original, so I told him to watch both flights, and get on whichever left first.
That was a wonderful idea, until….the SECOND flight went mechanical due to some sort of sensor or another going tits up. Oh, and plane number one? Still having miscellaneous bird innards removed from its engines. At this point, we were at a two hour delay, and I was getting worried. How worried was I? I’d spent over an hour in the Lufthansa FLounge, and was still only halfway through my glass of champagne, and hadn’t even hit the showers for the Lufthansa Rubber Duckie. It was THAT bad!
Soon it become obvious that the inevitable was going to happen: there was no way he would get to Frankfurt in time, and was going to miss the onward connection to Baku. Now, normally this wouldn’t be the end of the world, but Baku isn’t one of those destinations with dozens of daily flights. Lufthansa doesn’t even fly there daily. So, I passed on the champagne, cornered a third lounge employee, determined to fix this. Oh, I didn’t mention perhaps the biggest part of the drama. I had Matt’s passport with the Azeri visa. Plan was he would fly to Frankfurt on Passport #1, and then I’d give him Passport #2 with the Azeri visa, and we’d go to Baku together. So, small problem!
Thankfully, after trying three lounge attendants (first two were the very rigid “sorry, there is nothing I can do” types) the third was awesome. She agreed to hold the passport, and to rebook him on the only other option: Frankfurt to Baku via Istanbul. One small problem though: It arrived Baku at something like 4am. I don’t do redeyes unless absolutely necessary, and Matt definitely doesn’t do them. I had her book that option, as well as an option where he got to Istanbul around 8pm, forced overnight, getting into Baku the next day at noon – I was convinced that given all the flight drama that was a pretty damn good solution.
That sorted, I advised him the backup plan, got in my Mercedes, and was driven to the plane…with perhaps the creepiest person I’ve ever met. I had the honour of sharing the car with a guy who spent the entire 5-10 minutes on his cell phone calling every escort/woman for hire/friend he had in Baku advising them he was going to be in town that night and wanted to see them. Ewww. When he caught on I understood his German he switched to Russian. BZZT! You lose, it just got creepier!
Up to the plane, on board in Seat 1K and it was confirmed – we would have been the only two in first as expected. Woo hoo – private plane for me!
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