A collection of the planes I have flown on.
Please visit our home page
http://reitmeier.com our radio station
and our business pages http://bluemarbletechnoloyg.com http://helpdeskguys.com
DO you have some interesting flight stories? Please share them with me,
with your permission I'll post them here! I got a ton more and every
time I remember one I try to add it to the list, or make a note here and come
back and expand on it.
About that time Republic was also flying (it got absorbed into Northwest eventually). So we had many choices out of Grand Forks for a while.
Other Northwest planes I've been on...
My Favorite MSP-AMS in the summer schedule is the Northwest
Boeing 747 200
KLM 747-200 MSP-AMS when I didn't book carefully. I like red tail (Northwest) better than blue tail (KLM) not for any particular reason. Well OK I had a bad experience with a flight attendant on a KLM MSP-AMS flight one time. But I just like the Northwest crews better.
Back in '83 I had the good pleasure of being a guest on TWA as I accompanied
the Mayor elect of Las Vegas and several city councilmen (and a few news crews)
on my first visit to Europe.
Airbus Eastern Airlines LAX to BNA (Nashville)
Fokker 100 KLM
Northwest Orient and Republic and Northwest DC9's. In every variation I
think. The most flown jet because that's Nwest's choice between so many
routes that I fly. Just in Oct. 2004 Jan Förster (Berlin) and I flew from
MSP to JFK and back and it was the good old DC9 that Northwest runs back and
forth. So I've been in lots and lots of them. They always seem to
start and end my flying sequence if I'm going into GFK (home airport).
Boeing 757 Northwest was flying these between MSP and San Diego
Boeing 767 MSP-SFO to see Doug Linney and do computer work.
EL-AL JFK - Tel Aviv and back 12.5
hours on the return. Me and 499 Orthodox Jews.
Western (and their Champagne Flights) Lax to Hawaii and back.
I think a DC 10.
Also Western from MSP to Denver when NWA went on strike. Then the Frontier MILK RUN all the way to Winnipeg.
Also Western from LAX to maybe St. Louis then a rent a car to Nashville when
I was house hunting the first time. Also in August '86.
Trans Air in Canada had some smaller versions of a DC9 (Fokker
perhaps?) that I would fly from Winnipeg to the cities in Northern Manitoba.
If you have a picture of a Transair Jet, please send it to me!
Only Lufthansa flight I've been on was from Paris to Frankfurt back in 83
on my FAM trip to ride the fast trains in France and Germany. A 727 or
Also in the 70's I was working for Yamaha Canada in Winnipeg. I took a flight, a large airplane as I remember from Winnipeg to Minneapolis. Stayed and had a wonderful weekend with Cousin LouAnne, my quasi soul-mate and oft traveling companion! I was to return on Sunday because Monday I was flying from Winnipeg to Montreal for a Yamaha meeting in the Laurentian mountains. About 6 in the morning the phone rang and it was a very pleasant Northwest operator, "Mr. Reitmeier, I'm sorry to tell you that Northwest Airlines is currently experiencing Strike Conditions but I do have good news, I can get you to Winnipeg tonight! Here's your new flight agenda." I was scheduled on a now defunct Western Airlines "Champagne Flight" from MSP to Denver. Then a short layover and a flight on Frontier Airlines (737, they tried to only place 2 people on each side, with the middle seat folded down into a cocktail table-sort of a simulated First Class) from Denver to Winnipeg. What she neglected to tell me however was that it was truly the dictionary definition of a MILK RUN. The plane had 3 stops to make before Winnipeg. NEAT HUH. OK I admit it, I drank way to much Champagne on my way to Denver, it was free and hey they made you feel like royalty! Amazing what a three dollar of bubbly can do for you! Then 4 hours in Denver and well why not...let's have some more Champagne. Finally we take off and the gentleman sitting next to me ordered a Coors Beer. NO NO NO Here I was in the worlds central location for fresh Coors Beer, at the time a legendary beer that was not available in Minnesota or pretty much anywhere away from Golden Colorado as it was not pasteurized and so needed to be kept cold. Many a Crookston resident had a six pack squirreled away under their kitchen sink not realizing that someday 30 years in the future another company would actually put BORN ON dates on their beer so that you could see how fresh it was. By the time it was actually dragged out for a special event it was rot-gut, but it was STILL COORS BEER! All of a sudden the realization that I could have been drinking Coors was overwhelming to me. I ordered 2, one I drank, one went in my briefcase. Then with every landing and takeoff I repeated my little plan. Finally I had 4 beers and an unknown amount of Champagne in me, and 6 (OK I cheated with a willing flight attendant a couple of times) in the briefcase. It was now 13 hours after I had left Minneapolis, landing in Winnipeg, my 6th airport of the day. Well filled with alcohol and much affected due to the reduced altitude of the planes. Now it's after midnight and due to the striking conditions around the continent we were way late. I get to customs in Winnipeg. Usually an explanation as I was an American citizen with a Winnipeg residents/immigration permit, coming from Denver of all places. We got to the question, "are you bringing any alcohol into the country?" and I quickly replied, "I have have 6 Coors Beers in my briefcase, 6 Coors Beers in my stomach and an unknown quantity of Champagne in my system. He just smiled and waved me to the departure gate to pick up my bags.
Stories to add: Flying AMS-MSP with Purser Tom Carl (Karl?)
I sure wish I could track him down and interview him. He had 3 of the
funniest stories I've ever heard about plane travel. 1. The lady with
an artificial leg who needed his help. 2. the cat that died in-flight. and 3.
the handicapped 81 year old guy who had his 103 year old mother along who
thought she was on a train. If anyone knows Tom Please have him
contact me for some interviews.
The trip I didn't take, arranged on September 10, 2001 From GFK to MSP to ROME and back.
WOW and the big story, the DC10 flight from AMS to
MSP in 03 where I worked the flight cause I couldn't sit next to tumblina
next to me and where a passenger had heart attach 40 minutes from MSP
(at bottom of page)
The bumpiest ride was on an L1011 from FRA to JFK when they actually stopped
food service and set the crew down for over an hour.
I know I'm not that famous, but I've been "made" in lots of places where I thought I was far far away and in a place where I was totally anonymous. The worst time was sitting at an airport far away, I was in a terrible state having just broke up in a relationship that I thought was really going somewhere, had it happened sooner in the "friendship" or much later when things had cooled it wouldn't have been so painful, but this happened right at the peak, the "partner" can do no wrong eclipse. I was devastated, and flying to boot. So on one of the plane changes I got on the phone to an old friend-Lori and I really knew each other and always sort of fell into each others arms when things turned to krap in our lives. We had parted company years before but provided that safe place for each other. Well I had gotten pretty upset/emotional on the plane so when we landed I made a beeline for a phone and using my AT&T calling card at less than 4 cents a minute, knew that I could really unload all my feelings/frustrations/sadness/and twisted up emotions. Well after about 20 minutes of this I realized 2 things. Number 1 was that at the kiosk that I was at there were 4 phones in a circle and at the adjoining phone there was a guy on the line. Not so bad, just that he would have heard lots of personal stuff that was some of my truest innermost feelings and fears. Only problem was that then I realized (#2) that this was not only a gentleman from near home that I knew, but was also the president of a company that my company had made a pretty significant and expensive pitch to about handling their web design, in-house computer network, and other technological things. WHOOPS. How embarrassing. We not only lost the opportunity to have them as a client, but this was not a guy that I wanted to know all that about me. Fortunately since that time I've matured enough to only talk important business on phones where I can see all around me AND no matter what emotional state I'm in, I DON'T NEED TO DEAL WITH IT till I'm somewhere private. OH WELL Live and Learn! Because of the thousands of people who listen to my shows each day, and because most of them have to fly through Minneapolis to get anywhere else in the world, I can't even sneak through Minneapolis. Often when I get on flights, the attendants welcome me by name and play back a show they've heard, and I've been sitting at ends of concourses waiting for a flight and all of a sudden I hear, "I know that voice!" And once again I'm busted.
When I worked the festival in Sault Saint Marie, Gordy Tapp of Hee Haw fame was a Rep. for Yamaha and when I flew out the next day on a later flight, he had gotten me bumped up to first class. YIPPIE! (circa 74) Not an airplane story, but when we worked together in Regina he was the MC at the big grandstand show. It ended with the RCMP Musical Ride performing. About 100 Mounties on BIG horses. Towards the end he grabbed me and said come here, stand here, and no matter what happens, DON'T MOVE. ALL of a sudden 100 horses were thundering across the field at us. They split and came around again and again doubling up each time. What an experience feeling those horses actually make the ground shake like an earthquake.
In Amsterdam, before you get on the airplane you have to go through an additional "interview" and then pass into the room where your carry-on luggage is again scanned. While waiting in line for the interview I was talking to some of the folks around me. The guys behind me were all Curlers from NE Minnesota who had been at some kind of Curling competition in Europe and were getting back home. So of course we were chatting. One of the questions they were pondering was, "how full is today's plane?" I had called earlier and knew that it was overbooked. I was just sharing that information with them as we approached the "GUARDIAN" who did the preliminary interview and then based on our answers wrote down a code or two on our passport and then sent us to the Interrogator of his choice. If you watch the sequencing for a while, you can see that, based on his perusal of you, he sends you to an easier Interviewer, or a TOUGH one.
As I approached him he reached for my passport and asked me how many were traveling in my party. I said I was traveling alone. He said, "but I saw you talking to these men!" And I OH SO STUPIDLY answered, "YA we're all from Minnesota, that's what we do in Minnesota, we talk to each other!" That was a very bad answer. I knew right away that my hope of being towards the front of the gang to board the plane was fading faster then the chances of a Viking win at the Superbowl. He sent me to the guy who was OBVIOUSLY the toughest guy of the lot. There were 3 waiting in front of me as I shuffled over to the assigned guy. Now as you know if you've read any other information about me, I travel with LOTS of Radio gear. Although it's all mine and it's always in my possession, it always gets scrutinized and questions and gone through with every flight. I'm smart enough now to not even dodge the question. If they ask, "do you have any electronic gear with you?" I always answer, "YOU BET, I'm a traveling news man and my bag is FULL of gear!" SO this time based on being as Mr. Nasty's station, we get to take it all out and go over each piece. Where did you get this? When did you get this? Has it ever been repaired? Where was it last night? How did you get to the airport? ON AND ON AND ON IT went. Finally he let's me pass...they always do, so far anyway. (as of what happened this Month (Aug 06) it appears that the rules of carry-on have changed forever) and I make my way through the scanners and onto the plane where most everyone has already boarded.
I get to my seat 34G and the entire row of 5 is empty. YIPPIE, the entire plane is FULL and yet miraculously my entire row of 5 is empty. This is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! All the Curlers that were sitting in the area wanted to know what god I knew at Northwest that gave me that privilege. My response was, "hey the doors aren't shut yet, this ain't the final answer." Well finally the doors are staring to close and I let myself believe for just a few seconds that I might have a W I D E seat for the almost nine hours home to Minneapolis MSP. But then the doors clunked just one to many times and I knew why without looking. Two more folks got on the aircraft and headed for my row. No problem, that still leaves 2 empty seats. I had hit the jackpot. This time you could hear the doors making their final clunks and we were going to be on our way...but NO the side door opens AGAIN! Two people come aboard and start looking for their places. I already knew that there were NO other empty seats on the plane other than the 2 that were right by me. NOT ONLY THAT but the two folks coming on board...well let's just say, that if I was their son, they'd call me TINY! They were HUGE people. Now the Curlers are snickering, knowing what I was going to be facing! As they approached my seat I got up to let them pass into the row and the lady says, "I need to sit here on the aisle." Sorry Lady, ain't going to happen. I looked here right in the eyes and gave her my best and biggest smile and said, "I'm sorry but I reserved this seat a long time ago and I have to go to the bathroom a lot and I'll be sitting in the aisle seat."
SHE WAS TICKED! So chubby-hubby moves through first taking the painful, middle of the five seat, course he just didn't take his seat, but put up the armrest between them and took a good 1/3rd of her seat too. Then she gets in and puts up the armrest between her and my seat and takes up the rest of her seat and AT LEAST 1/2 of my seat. So I put up the armrest on the aisle and try to sit down. Because I am a "little" heftier than the average flyer, I had already made friends with the cabin attendant working our side and she had gotten me a seat belt extender. So there I was, sitting on the seat with about 1/2 of my body out in the aisle, it almost wasn't wide enough to hold me in place. So here I am. TIRED! FRUSTRATED! and now SQUEEZED! Part of my visits to Germany that summer had been spending time with a master learning relaxation techniques, centering exercises and energy work. But why did I have to put it all in practice right here and right now? So I decided, OK God, you're sending me this test right now so let's see if what we have absorbed over the summer can have a positive effect on this situation. I went through all the methods I learned, I tried to send positive energy to the NICE LADY sitting next to me, I tried to be accommodating to her moving around a bit, nothing but peaceful thoughts and best wishes flowing out of my mind. I can't put the tray table down, I'm balancing with one side of my rear on a seat and the other side hanging out in the aisle and almost 9 hours ahead of me. When it came time to bring the first round of drinks by, the cabin attendant couldn't even get the serving cart past me. Great huh? Since we had made friends earlier, I quietly engaged her in conversation about my situation. In my sales training we always learned that you first, acknowledge that the person is not bound to take action by your request, then state and restate the problem in generic terms before asking the specific thing you want. So my request was, "I sure understand that the plane is full and there's not another seat to be had, and so I sure would understand if you can't do anything about it, but I really have a problem here. I'm not going to be able to make the entire flight hanging out over the aisle like this. I'm really tired, I've had a stressful trip and to top it off I'm hungry and can't even lower my tray table. DO you think there's any chance that I can at least eat back in the galley?" (DC10's have a large center rear galley which I was just 4 rows away from.) "I'm a seasoned traveler and understand the risks of turbulence and such and promise I won't be any trouble to you!" She smiled and said, "Well you know that's against the rules, but I'll see what I can do!" I nodded my understanding and hopefulness!
A little while later she slid by and with a wink, said, "well have you set up in the galley in a little bit!" THANK YOU! See there's also a very comfy wide chair that's at the rear of the galley. And I knew that if I could just get permission to be there, that would become my new home for this flight. At least till it was time to land in Minneapolis. A little while later she came and tapped me on the shoulder, I busted out of my seat belt, and headed to the rear. First meal was served to the cabin and I got to enjoy some food that based on my hunger level at the time, tasted pretty good! Towards the end of my eating, I was getting interrupted by different crew members as they tried to reach around me to get into those little bins that held various and sundry things and all the single serving liquor bottles. Finally the 6 foot plus attendant that was working the left side aisle decided that it was easier to ask me to get him things than get around me. I remember so well him saying, "Hey hun, can you get me a Bacardi and a Bailey's from A6 on your right?" Well that started off my first and probably only time of working on a Northwest Jet. Pretty soon I was handing out items to all the 4 folks who were getting product from this galley. I was making coffee, I was busting out ice, I was storing and getting new tray sets out. Anything was better than trying to sit back down in my seat. Finally first service was over and we got things all cleaned up and I was going to try to get some sleep. Well I got back to my 1/2 seat and just then Tumbelina decides that she needs to get into her carry on luggage. OK no problem, I get up, she reaches down and pulls up this bag with big handles on it and she pulls out some cross-stitching materials. HMMM so how is this going to work. Well let me tell ya! She'd put the needle through, pull it out the other side, and then to pull the thread tight she'd jab her elbow right into my ribs. In, Out, Pull, Jab! In, Out, Pull, Jab! In, Out, Pull, Jab! and so it went! No chance of sleep although I tried for some hours. Finally I figured it was time for 2nd food service and I was back in the galley waiting as the crew assembled to start prepping. I put the French bread pizza's in the warmers, got more coffee going, started loading trays, broke out the ice cream from the Styrofoam boxes, careful, "don't touch the dry ice!" and pretty much played the role of cabin boy! Hey we were a team. They went out with their service trays. I enjoyed my lunch standing back in the Galley and then it was time for collection and cleanup.
By this time I knew everyone working the back and middle cabins. Things were going smoothly if I don't mind saying so myself. We were in collection mode and I and the Purser were stuffing garbage into a trash bag right were the galley breaks open into the bathroom section in the back. All of a sudden the general hum of the cabin noise changed and we glanced to the front, only to see that about 12 people were moving in on this man on a left row aisle seat. Actually we couldn't see him because they were all in the way. She dropped everything she had in her hands and went flying down the left aisle. With a stern voice she ordered everyone to take their seats. Did some sort of hand signal to the attendant that was at the mid-break in front of her. And sort of ended up right in this guys face. The other FA (flight attendant) got on the phone apparently to the cockpit and we immediately slowed down to the speed that you detect when we're coming in for a landing and just sort of floating. I'm guessing that that was because, at the moment they didn't know if it was just a simple thing like a guy having a heart attach, or the start of a terrorist event, and I now understand that they want the plane going slower and being more controllable if it's something that could get ugly. Well it turned out that it was "just a guy having a heart attach!" An elderly European man was in distress, but in some ways that was a great relief. A sick man we can deal with, a terrorist? not so lucky! So first thing they did was get out an o2 bottle and get some oxygen flowing, then they got out the de-fibrolater machine and hooked it up to him. By this time they had asked if there was a Dr. on board and I was pretty proud of our mostly Minnesota co-flyers. I've been in other places when they've asked for a Dr. and nobody will cop to it. Here, within seconds there was this guy in a fancy Armani suit heading back from 1st class, and two other returning vacationer looking guys surrounding this guy.
They immediately came to the agreement that we needed to get him on the ground as fast as possible. The de-fib machine not only can shock a badly beating heart back into some sort of acceptable rhythm, but also was giving them information as to what was going on with this guy. We never did actually shock him but it was great to know that it was there if needed. Well we were 40 minutes out of Minneapolis at this moment, they got everyone set back down, including me, and put the gas back to the throttles! We covered that 40 minutes in 20 minutes. Never slowed down till we were on final on a direct in approach. Then while still going pretty zippy on the main runway, turned off directly and headed for the terminal. None of that get to the end of the runway, slowly swing around, then limp to the jetway. WE WERE TRUCKING! We get to the gate and they immediately pop open the back door and one of those service trucks with the box that lifts up was right there. In come a couple of EMT's, a couple of Firemen, a couple of Policemen and an Immigration guy. Main goal, get him off the plane. We all had to remain seated during all this (of course they let the 1st class passengers slip off through the front door). He was traveling with a younger man who was gathering together all their cabin stuff. Only problem was that the immigration guy wouldn't let them off the plane till he had done the "interview." It was interesting to see the EMT's and Firemen react pretty negatively to that! They wanted him off now. But he stood there and asked this guy the entire run of questions before he would let them wheel him out. Neat huh! Equal service to everyone, even if you might be taking your last breath. So finally they got him off the back door, we started deplaning. Goodbyes and Thank You's were said all around, I was complimented on my excellent job and thanked for having a good attitude about everything and got a little set of golden wings! My first (and probably last) day of work at Northwest Airlines.
One interesting observation that I had earlier had got answered in an interesting way. The Purser on a flight is totally in charge of the passengers. Only the Pilot has more authority. Usually they're easy to spot cause they're the oldest FA's on board, but the purser that day was very young, for sure in her 30's and I was wondering how it was that she was the Sr. FA. In the pause while we were waiting to get the man with the heart problem off the plane I asked her. She was not only an FA with almost 20 years experience but was also an RN...a Registered Nurse. What a great combination of skills to have when you're thousands of miles (and sometimes many hours) away from a hospital!
Footnote: A couple of hours later I heard that the guy was going to be OK! Which was a great feeling after all the things that went down on the trip!
If you want to know some of what I do, visit: http://helpdeskguys.com and http://bluemarbletechnology.com and I might as well put in the radio side of things which you can find at http://lnr.net and http://theminute.com About half way through my "vacation" of hanging out in Henry's downtown apartment and just vegetating most of the day and finally doing my radio shows starting at 3:30pm Berlin time (8:30am back home). Then in a couple of hours Henry and other roommates would be arriving and we would either head out for one kind of dinner or another, or I had dinner ready and we ate in and then went out to meet friends or see a movie or something unusual. Well on Saturday morning I got one of those calls that you hope that you never get! Especially when you're half way around the world.
My aunt Barbara, who lived with Uncle Erwin just a mile down the road from
our farm, had dropped dead without warning. Mike had talked to her about 8
that morning and she was sleeping in (usual for a cold winter day) and he was
down in the kitchen making coffee and checking the markets and just doing what
gets done on a typical cold winter farmer day in Minnesota. About 9:15
uncle Mike (that's what we call him, although his real name is Erwin) hadn't
seen her yet so he hollered upstairs asking when she was coming down. No
response. So he headed upstairs and found her, half off the bed and
obviously not with us here anymore. 911 was called, other family nearby
were summoned, a deputy arrived first, but there was no chance that Barbara
would be with us here on Earth again! Just a couple of days before I left
for Berlin, she had called about 11:30 (We were both night owls) and asked if
she could bring her laptop over for me to fix. It wasn't printing again.
It would all work out. I leave Berlin at the usual 6am, on Thursday and arrive in Grand Forks, TXL-AMS-MSP-GFK, at ten that same evening. I would miss the visitation at the funeral home but would be able to get a good nights sleep and then attend and due my duty at the 10 am Funeral on Friday. Well God had other plans! I was up at my usual 3:30am to get showered and get to the airport by 4:50 for the 6:05 departure. I had a first class/biz class ticket and all was good. Or so I thought. The day before we had driven from Berlin to Hamburg. An easy 2 hour drive, to see Andre Rieu'. Henry's grandmother had recently turned 80 years old and when asked what she would want for such a momentous milestone she had asked for tickets to see the Dutch Violin player and his orchestra. I knew nothing of this violinist. Henry had told me that Oma's request was to see Andre and that he had bought me an 80 Euro ticket and that I was going.
OK...I'm not too much for violin and orchestra music, but as they say..."when in Berlin..." However in the couple of days before I had come down with a rather dry hacking cough and was really trying to back out on my commitment to attend the concert with Henry, Oma, and Jan-Henry's brother. Henry would hear nothing about it. I was going and that was that. I have been to many concerts and really hated it when someone near me was constantly hacking or sneezing and really wanted to not put any one through that. Well we were supposed to leave at 3pm, a 2 hour drive, a nice dinner, and then the concert at 8pm. There was a snow storm! Unusual for northern German both in that place and in that part of the year! Our two hour drive took almost 5 hours. We only got to the concert hall just in time to walk in for the opening down beat.
But wait...it's not a concert hall but what in Minnesota or North Dakota
would be a large sized hockey arena. Bowl shaped with a flat floor and a
stage set up on one end. What I thought was going to be a quiet violin
concert in a stuffy concert hall with lots of very formal people around was a
fun, crazy, beer drinking, brat eating festival of classical/pop oriented
pieces, mostly from the Strauss days with a little bit of New York and Broadway
music thrown in. I had a wonderful time and didn't pay any attention
to the weather. After all I had walked in the park with Henry just a
couple of days before, this was just some flurries right? WOW was I wrong.
Well we got home late in the evening...actually early in the morning. I
got about 2 hours of sleep...which was all I needed since I had first
class seats all the way home. I was up at 3:30am and Henry had me to the
terminal at just the right time. Holding a first class ticket, I walked
right by about 100 people standing in their Que and went right to the gal at the
first class counter. I laid my tickets down with a flourish and announced
TXL-AMS and on to America.
SO, I and Ilone and Peter go and stand in line. They can only stay for an hour because they have to be home because the cable TV guy is coming to their house. This is starting to sound like a bad B movie! So Henry comes and stands with me for an hour or so as we're trying to figure this all out. He has to go back to the television network cause he's got work to get done before he leaves for Amsterdam by train. I'm in line EXACTLY to the minute 4 hours. No sitting down, no food, no water, no bathroom, no seat! My feet are killing me. For the last hour or so in line, I'm talking to the Irishman in the adjoining line. I'm positive he's someone famous. I know I've seen him somewhere before, on TV or the news or something but can't place him and he's not volunteering who he is, but obviously by his suit, his luggage, and his mannerisms, this guy hasn't flown in the back of an airplane for a long long time! We have a great chat about lots of things that you're not supposed to talk about when you meet someone. Religion, politics, national interests, all the taboo subjects. It was a great conversation! Finally we get to the counter.
Across the counter was a very pleasant looking TOTALLY STEREOTYPICAL Dutch woman. Blond, trim, about 60 years old. Her name also was Barbara (easy to remember). I smile and she looks at me plaintively and asks if I could do her a BIG favor. But of course, just name it! Well she had had surgery recently, and needed to go to the little girls room in the worst way. I asked why she hadn't just gone previously. She said you don't know what's going to happen when I leave! I said NO PROBLEM and I opened up my big heavy leather trench coat. I spread it about 6 feet wide and all the way down to the ground. She smiled and said thanks and ducked out a door and then came out and crossed the waiting line of folks to head to the bathroom. You should have heard the nasty comments that were thrown at her. Unbelievable. I just waited and in about 3 minutes she was back and we got to work finding a ticket home for me. When she got back her counter mate said she had to go to...so my Irish friend held open his trench coat and off she went. Whew at least we had the ground crew so they could concentrate on the task at hand.
Well Barbara tried and tried and tried to get me home. No matter how you count it, it's 3 legs and 4 cities cause, believe it or not, Berlin is not a gateway city to the USA. So I had to get to a gateway, then hopefully to the Minneapolis gateway on this side of the ocean, and then finally to my little stop in Grand Forks ND which only flies jets in and out of Minneapolis! No matter what route she tried to get me on, even as far east as Vienna and as far south as Rome and Paris and London and Frankfurt, there was always one piece of the journey that there were no seats available. She could even get me to Memphis, but then there was no way to get me to Minneapolis to catch a flight up to Grand Forks. After many minutes of trying different routes, she looked at me and with great apology said that there was no way that she could get me to the funeral. I think she expected me to erupt at that time but I felt that she had done her job above and beyond the call of duty! I thanked her profusely and said just find me a ticket home. Saturday was the first time that she could get me back! Book it!...and she did!
Now to figure out the next problem. Everyone that I knew, was leaving.
Peter and Ilone extended an invitation for me to stay with them but I just
wasn't up to a strange house and bed and everything after all of what had
happened. So here was the plan. I took a cab back to Henry's
apartment, except he wasn't there yet so I ducked into a neighborhood coffee
shop. He came home at 4:30, gave me the key and was off to the train
station. I had 3 days to really be alone in Berlin. It was actually
fantastic. Peter and Ilone came and got me one night and we went out for a
great dinner. I watched movies a lot cause Henry has over 2000 of them in
his home collection. I meditated, I prayed, I slept, and I walked around
the town. Finally the sequence was repeated on Saturday morning.
Peter picked me up and dropped me at TXL airport, I got on my way to Amsterdam
and when we landed there had the shock of my life. It looked like
Minneapolis after a snow storm. Even though it had been 3 days since the
snow fall, there was snow piled up everywhere. Only one runway was open
and lots of regional flights were still canceled or being re-routed. It was
chaos! Fortunately my first class/biz class tickets got me access into the
first class lounge and so I could escape the hectic and sit back and relax till
moments before my plane was ready to depart. I got home at 10pm on
Saturday. Don't remember who picked me up at the airport. It was a
day after auntie Barb was laid to rest. It was a trip I'll never forget.
But I did run into Barbara the blonde haired, ticket agent in Berlin again on a
visit 2 years later.
It was December of 2006. I didn't really have any overseas trips planned. On my last trip, my aunt Barbara died without warning back home. Then just a few months later my Mother passed away, also suddenly, but at least we had a few days to get ourselves prepared and to say all those things you want to say before someone departs! I had been working for almost a year on becoming an adoptive parent. Minnesota is pretty cool about single parents adopting and as an adopted child myself it was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. One of those "pay it forward" type of things. (Just as aside, the efforts to adopt failed...that's a story for another page but we gave it the good old college try and learned a whole lot!) Well with the loss of Mom, we quickly sold my parents townhouse in town and it was decided that Dad would live the summers with me here at the farm, his childhood home, and then winters in town with my sister. It's so fortunate that we have the ability, desire, and facilities to do this. He was born in 1915 and although as of the summer of 2007 he still takes pretty much care of himself, he sure needs someone around both to engage him socially and see to his diet and pill taking and such! I'm so lucky, up to now at least, he still makes his own bed, washes his own clothes, and is pretty independent. He gave up driving at 91, not cause he can't, but he doesn't trust his legs to respond quickly enough. Well in taking care of Dad for my part of the year and working a LOT of hours on the help desk to try to maximize profits, and then going to meetings and tons of paperwork and interviews, and lessons attached to the adoption, I WAS BEAT! I know that the minute a potential son arrived that it was going to be even more intense and saw this little window of opportunity where I could sneak away to my favorite hideaway in the entire universe. Downtown Berlin! December 5 depart, 6th arrive and leave for him on December 14th and with the 7 hours of time change, actually getting home that same day.
Because it was kind of a last minute thing, and I was using 100,000 air miles to secure a first class and business class seat the entire way, I ended up with a weird route. The flights that I wanted which were direct from Minneapolis to Amsterdam and back (MSP-AMS) were booked full of frequent flyers cashing in their miles and the only way I could get on the flights I wanted was to spend another 50,000
DO you have some interesting flight stories? Please share them with me, with your permission I'll post them here! I got a ton more and every time I remember one I try to add it to the list, or make a note here and come back and expand on it.