Categories Europe Travel

Belgrade Day 1: Just Trying to Get There

What the fuck was I thinking with a 5:00 AM flight?  A 5 o’clock flight meant that I had to leave my house at 3:00 AM. This was 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning in December from Dublin, Ireland. Which means my taxi phone app wasn’t hailing any taxis at that time, and I had to go outside into the cold drenching rain while attempting to flag down one that wasn’t already occupied by a drunk on their way home. After approximately 15 minutes in the rain I was eventually able to flag one down, plop my wet ass, bag, and self into the seat to deal with listening to some guy try to talk to me the whole way to the airport.
 Now, since I was wet and cold, that could only mean that the airplane itself had the air-condition cranked on for the flight. Obviously it would be one of the planes where the heat is cranked on. On the plus side, I only had to freeze my ass off for two hours.
After arriving in Frankfurt my feet were still a bit wet, but the airport was warm enough to heat the rest of me back up. Hanging out at the Frankfurt Airport for three hours was pretty uneventful, yet difficult to stay awake. You see, instead of going to sleep the night before and waking up to leave at three in the morning, I decided to just stay up all night. So by this point I was getting darn tired. Especially when all I had to do with sit in some uncomfortable airport chairs.
Things did, however get more interesting when it was time for the second flight. Getting on the plane they had the heat cranked up, which was fine with me. there wasn’t anyone in the seat next to me so a couple of hours nap before getting to Belgrade seemed like a good plan. But then it started snowing. So the plane was delayed, then canceled. Yep, a little now canceled the flight.
What was interesting about the whole experience was how ill prepared the Frankfurt airport and Lufthansa were for bad weather. First of all, it wasn’t even snowing that hard. And it was December, a month that you would think they had seen snow before. But after they let us off the plane, we all moved towards the closest Lufthansa counter where pushy Germans tried cutting in line and forcing their way to the front, and were eventually told to go to another place. Then after we went to the other place, we mostly ended up in the third line. A very, very long line. The thing is, that if they would have just been clear as we were departing the flight where to go that would have at least got us to that final line.
While waiting in line I tried to call the airline to see if I could re-book that way. If you have never traveled in Europe you won’t understand dialing Europeans numbers. If you have, then you will. I was calling from an Irish phone to a German number in Germany, so figuring out do I add the 00 or remove it, or the + and country code. It took a few tries but eventually made it through to someone. The person I talked to told me that since my ticket was booked using my award miles that I would need to contact a different number. The next number gave me another number that I think was just flat out wrong. As I was calling the line was moving, and I eventually made it to someone who was able to get me on the 10:00 PM flight. I couldn’t complain. I was expecting them to try to put me on one the next day. So, around 2:00 in the afternoon the new flight was booked, and I was riding an entire night of no sleep looking forward to hanging out at the airport all day waiting for a 10:00 PM flight. On the plus side, the friend that I was meeting in Belgrade got bumped and we ended up on the same 10:00 PM flight. Suffering with others is always better than suffering alone.
This post is also published to my Substack

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