I decided to take Vinnie to Scotland this weekend. RyanAir flies from Frankfurt to Glasgow. Hannah lives in Glasgow! Weekend made.
Hannah was our neighbor in Butler. She lived two doors over from us for a year--the year of hurricane Sandy, birth of the twins, Errol’s first go on the job market--an important year. She is wonderful. I miss her.
I presented this trip to Errol as a simple one. Friday to Sunday, 1:1 kid adult ratio, no hotel costs. Easy!
Flying out of Frankfurt is hard.
Vinnie and I arrived by train at 4 p.m. We followed the crowds up from the platform. I thought there would be signs stating where to go depending on the airline. Nope. Smartphone to the rescue. I found that RyanAir is in Terminal 2 Concourse E Second level. Learned through signage that we were in Terminal 1.
Found bus to Terminal 2.
Found concourse E but RyanAir wasn’t listed on the airlines E served.
Texted Errol. Another set of eyes on the information sometimes helps.
Found the Ryan Air desk right after I sent the text.
Now, I really try not to be an idiot. It’s something I purposefully work toward. Last night I read some Ryan Air articles online and learned that those traveling with non-EU passports needed to have their boarding passes and passports checked prior to security at the airline desk. I thought I was an informed traveler not being an idiot. Ha!
Vinnie and I were checked and cleared by the RyanAir desk and told our gate number. It was 4.40, and our flight wasn’t until 6.25. I thought we had so much time.
We found a great McDonalds with a touch screen ordering system. Vinnie got a happy meal that really made her happy. I insta’d the moment! She played in this giant rocket/space apparatus. Things were going great, but it was now after five. I told her we needed to get through security.
There were two lines. Check that. There was one incredibly long line and an area with no people and ropes set up for a long line. This area was for those with EU passports. The incredibly long line we scanned our boarding passes to join was for “all other countries.” It took a very long time.
My heart was beating fast, afraid that we were going to miss the flight. We made it to the front of the line. It wasn’t regular airport security. There were men in booths checking passports and asking questions like we were arriving instead of departing. I haven’t flown within Europe since 2006. This was new for me.
We got through, passports stamped (on departure?), and I told Vinnie to run. Our gate was D53. We came out to D1. Our boarding pass said the gate closed at 5.55. It was 5.41. We raced to this far off gate only to see another big line waiting for us. Secuirty for gates D50-54 would be at least another 20 minutes.
I heard the aiport employee say something about Glasgow. “We’re going to Glasgow!” I plea. She lets us and a handful of other sorry sacks cut the line. The man behind me tells me we still have ten minutes.
I’m getting impatient. Two of the sorry sacks made the metal detector go off. Really?
It’s finally our turn. The security agent asks me about liquids and electronics. He wants to see my Chromebook. Vinnie pulls on me and reminds me that she has her Kindle. I tell her that doesn’t count.
Our bags get scanned, and a woman grabs Vinnie’s backpack, takes out the tablet, and accusingly questions, “Electronics?”
“Yes, I’m sorry,” I say.
She motions us to follow her to a separate room.
To be clear, in Amerian airport security, one only needs to remove laptops to be separately scanned and inspected. Tablets do not count. Obviously, there are different rules. I had even noticed no one was taking off their shoes.
So, we’re in the secure room, and I’m feeling really sad and stupid. We were going to miss the flight because we went to McDonalds. The secuirty officer swabed Vinnie’s little red tablet. Unsurprisingly, the results were non-threatening. She let us leave.
We book it. Of course, the gate isn’t right there. We have two flights of stairs, but then we see D53.A large screen reads ZEIT: 17:55.
17:55?! That’s when the gate was supposed to close. I see one of the other sorry sacks,
“Did we make it?!” I ask.
“Yes, the plane isn’t even here.”
The man who told me we still had ten minutes was sitting in the waiting area eating a pizza. He smiled.
I have never been so happy for a flight delay.
It was quite the delay too. We were packed into buses, waited, and waited some more in the plane.
Vinnie was a champ through it all. We agreed this was good practice for future adventures.
Hoping we have a less dramatic return on Sunday.
Anne Thomsen lord
Writings on our year abroad.