It was an incredibly frustrating experience lining up the holidays. On the one hand, we are both given a lot of time off, (and in my case, I have no choice but to take the days off), so we have the time, but not so much the money. Germans plan their vacations at least a year in advance, so it’s difficult to get deals until you are working either really far ahead or just to the last minute. We liked the idea of going someplace in Europe, say a week in Budapest, for example, getting out to explore someplace we’ve never been before, especially when it’s so close. But 1) when we factor in the cost of dining and hotels for a week, the costs can quickly add up, 2) not seeing family around the holidays is tough, especially for Saori, and 3) travel is often its own kind of stress, and Saori in particular needs some good down time. So all things considered, finding a not-too-expensive flight to the US was the best solution for us.
As a desperate idiot, I used a third-party travel booking website for the tickets to Atlanta because it was a really good deal. Direct Stuttgart to Atlanta flight. Sane departure time, sane arrival time, 800 round trip. I booked the tickets and then there was this stupid dance this third party site made me do including faxing them a copy of my passport and a signed note saying that I approved of them charging my credit card to pay for the tickets. It felt shady and so I looked them up and got page after page of people complaining mostly in German. But the consensus was that this was a legitimate third party travel agency, but they were just incompetent, rude, difficult to work with, and unprofessional. Not that it was a scam. So I sweated a bit until I got confirmation codes from the airline, and then then I sweated a bit more until we actually got our boarding passes. I did get to use my Delta Silver Medallion status to use the SkyPriority line to get our passes, and then to actually board in the first zone. We got our seats in the back, two aisles as it turned out. Oh well. Only ten hours to Atlanta. At least they were side by side.
They were halfway through the boarding process when two stewardess came back to where Saori and I were sitting across from each other on an aisle:
“Mr. Perkins, we have some different seats for you, if you would like to come this way...” Saori thought they were going to put us next to each other, in the two middle seats of a four-seat row, and was going to protest, but I immediately thought “Upgrade.” We were happy to fight our way up the current of passengers back to the second and third row, where we were asked if we would enjoy a glass of Champagne or Orange Juice, sir, and we said that sounds pretty good to us. I don’t think I gave enough money to Delta this year (we flew Turkish for the wedding) so I think I’ll be losing my status soon, but I am really enjoying this instant upgrade business.
When was the last time I few anything other than economy? We got upgraded on a flight once when I was a teenager, and that between two American cities, never international.
TUMI branded travel kits, fully reclining seats, smoked tuna, Stracciatella Fagotto Pasta with sage pumpkin sauce, caramelized squash and balsamic onions. Gingerbread and butter pudding with blackcurrants and topped with ice cream. Warm cookie?
So what do we do? We ate a lot. They keep you busy the first hour or two just with drinks and wine and food. Saori napped a bit. Then she found a documentary about Spock and we both watched it. I wrote this blog and the one before, detailing what we have been up to since my last day at the office. How easy it is to write away the hours.