The Trip Home

At dinner last night, still trying to avoid a refueling charge from Hertz, I get my 20 changed for smaller bills. Then on the way to the airport, I’ll have another go at the pump.

Flight is at 6. Airport only about 15 minutes away, plus gas up time. Even though I know the airport is small, I figure I should arrive by 4:30 or so. Lufthansa makes you check any bag over 8kg, so I need to check mine. I don’t want some bureaucratic problem to make me miss the flight.

At the pump. I put in a 5. Only will take 1.25€, about a liter’s worth. So I was really close last night, even though the gas gauge didn’t show it.

I take the keys back into the building where I arrived. No one there, so I just put them on the drop box at Hertz.

After about 15 minutes, there’s still no one else in the building. Hmm. I don’t see check in desks, either. So I go exploring.

departures-153136_640Finally I discover another building, a couple of hundred yards away, not connected to the other except by an outside sidewalk. It’s for departures. Two buildings. No signs pointing from one to the other. Only 3 departure listed for the morning, maybe for all day. L’Aeroporto delle Marche.

I start the day with a croissant and espresso. 2.00€.

First stop is Munich. Nice airport, but it’s 7:30 and a two and a half hour layover. Too early for beer for me, even in Germany, but I see a couple of guys who disagree. I opt for scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Total: 8.50€. I love these airport prices.

Frankfurt next. It’s not as nice as Munich and has one very annoying practice. You’re told that your gate is in the Z concourse, but no gate number. Concourse Z is one big duty free mall. I assume they don’t tell you your gate right away so you mill around and buy stuff that’s no cheaper than at home. Now it’s time for that beer.

My flight is supposed to start boarding at 12:20. About 12:15 I check the monitor. Now it’s not just no gate number. No flight to Chicago listed. Did my watch stop?

I spot another United flight from gate Z20. I figure my only option is to go there and try to figure out what happened. On the way, I see a crowd at Z15. Chicago flight. Who knows why it wasn’t listed and how everyone else knew where to go.

Finally, off to home. Across the aisle from me are two women, a middle aged one and I assume her mother. They spend the entire flight mostly yelling at each other in a language I don’t recognize at first, but finally realize is some Italian dialect. I’m hearing capisc’ and be’ and a few standard Italian words.

On this flight, the economy section is packed. No empty seats. But the economy plus section is almost empty. But if you want to move there, it’s $129, but I’d bet some people were booked economy and “upgraded” there. No luck for me.

Once we land, I take advantage of Global Entry to go through passport control quickly. But then the bags take forever to come out.

Finally, about 6 on Halloween night, I arrive at home, about 22 hours after I woke up.

Overall, a good, but scary, trip.

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