Sitting in my Crown Plaza-Heathrow hotel room, I decided that mere mortals would not defeat me.
I think that is a line from Bewitched.
It does not matter who said it. It was my new “I am on vacation and no one is going to upset me” attitude. With my airline reservations made for a 9 am flight out of London, I decided to settle in and get some rest. I asked for a 6 am morning wake up call. My head hit the pillow and poof! I was gone.
For two hours.
A voice deep inside my head kept saying, “It is not over yet. You know something is wrong.”
What was bothering me was that even though Lufthansa booked my flight, I had to pick up the tickets at the United Airlines ticketing agent.
(Insert JAWS theme song here)
United flights arrive in Terminal 3. Lufthansa flights leave out of Terminal 2. In the middle of that is a 1 ½ mile walk, a million people left stranded from the day before and a security line that requires only One Bag, One Bag only.
I got out of bed then and figured out the best way to pack my “luggage”. What I learned is that you can only have one bag going through security, but you can have two bags to get on a Lufthansa flight. All I needed was a packing strategy that would allow me to carry most of my stuff in one bag, with a quick switch up right before security. As laptops have to come out of bags anyhow during screening, I figured to squeeze all into my laptop bag, carry my laptop through security and into the gate area then quickly return all back to normal.
Ah, a good plan. Now for sleep.
Except I kept thinking about my luggage. My REAL luggage. The one with all my clothes, necessities and gifts for family and friends. Where was that bag?
The Lufthansa agent said not to worry. Luggage follows the ticketed passenger. If the passenger is stuck in London due to a cancelled flight, then, so too, is her luggage.
I worried anyhow.
The first shuttle out of the Hotel back to the airport was at 5:20 in the morning. I was determined to be on it.
I had a book, and I had a plug adapter. With that, I was set. I typed until I could not see anymore, and then read until the book ended. (The book was another “The DaVinci Code” kind of story. I will review that later on; much later on.)
At 4 am, I decided to leave my room. I packed up, headed downstairs to check out, and hang out at the Continental Breakfast bar until the first shuttle departed.
By 5:30 am, I am at Terminal 3, the land of United Airlines. I arrive at the ticketing counter, and, lo and behold, the agent has no record of my rebooking. I give her the booking number the Lufthansa agent gave me. Nada. Niente, Zip, Zero, Zilch.
I will say, that of all the people I encountered, only the Lufthansa agent who ripped my boarding pass and the United Airlines Indian representative were the only two people in my many hours of human contact and intervention that were not friendly, or overly helpful.
This agent called Lufthansa direct and got the info she needed to print my boarding pass. She even tried to get me on a more direct flight to Naples.
At 6:10am, I headed to Terminal 2’s Lufthansa Departure check in desk. And was rebuffed! Sent to the third floor breakfast area until 2 hours before my departure time! Oh, no! Yesterday all over again! Flights being delayed, mass hysteria, swells of people with no place to go!
I ran upstairs to get a good seat and had breakfast. Two fresh croissants and a pot of tea. I do not care what they say about the food in London, but the tea is excellent. I sat there until exactly two hours before my departure eating buttered croissants and drinking pots of tea.
After two hours in line, I made it to the Lufthansa check in.
Again, I ask, “Where is my luggage?”
The check in gal says, “It’s checked through to Naples.”
“Are you sure about that? The Lufthansa customer service representative told me that luggage is grounded with the passenger.” I replied.
“No need to worry about your luggage,” she advised.
The 9:50am flight now scheduled to leave at 12:50, but it IS leaving! Yippee! Obviously, I would not make my connecting flight to Munich in time, so the story continues…