In my trip post about Berlin, I alluded to spending an extra night. Who knew that trying to return would be so difficult?!
I had gotten to Berlin’s Tegel Airport early, so I waited around until my flight was allowed through security to the boarding area (the airport is so small you stay by the ticketing desk until about a half hour before your flight). We boarded the plane a little late, but things seemed fine. There was a mix up with seats, and a mother and daughter that weren’t seated together, so I ended up moving seats twice.
Then, we waited.
I recall looking down the aisle and seeing mechanic-looking people coming and going from the front of the plane, but the captain made no announcement as to why we hadn’t left yet. We finally pushed back over two hours after our scheduled departure.
Everything seemed fine, until about 20 minutes into the flight, when the captain says we have a mechanical issue and will be returning to the Berlin airport! That did not make for a pleasant trip back to the airport!
When we landed, we were surrounded by emergency vehicles (even though we didn’t have to do any of the typical emergency landing precautions ourselves).
The captain later explained that it was just standard procedure for whatever was happening, and that they’d leave as soon as the brakes cooled down. The mechanics came back on board, and we were allowed off the plane a short while later. Once back in the airport, we headed to another desk, where we were told our flight was delayed a day, and given a hotel voucher and two taxi vouchers.
The hotel voucher was for a hotel near the other Berlin airport, which is on the opposite side of the city and almost an hour away. I asked my friend if I could stay another night with him at his apartment, which was near the center of Berlin.
As it got later at night, my already delayed flight was delayed another few hours. To make things more interesting, this flight from the day before had also been delayed a day! I decided that I would not be getting on that plane again, and I’d try to switch flights.
The next morning I made my way back to Tegel Airport and tried to get on an Air France flight leaving at 10 am. I chose Air France because it was part of the alliance for my original airline, and if I had to be stuck in another city, why not revisit Paris?! It almost worked, except I waited in the wrong line twice, and then they wouldn’t let me on the plane even though it hadn’t boarded yet. Instead, I ended up on the other partner’s flight, which was KLM.
The flight from Berlin to Amsterdam wasn’t noteworthy, other than receiving a snack wrap for the hour-long flight! Yay free food! The layover in Amsterdam was supposed to be just over an hour, but shortly after I arrived at the gate, they announced the flight was delayed three hours! Story of this trip, right?!
Luckily, we received food vouchers for use in the airport.
I spent mine on a beer and flammkuchen, which wasn’t nearly as good as the one I had in Berlin.
I ended up landing back in New York around 11 pm, and took a taxi home. It was so nice to be back and in my own bed!
But my streak of days spent in airports and on planes wasn’t over yet! I had travel plans the next day to visit family, which meant I was headed back to the airport less than 12 hours later.
In the end, we received a $175 travel voucher for our troubles. I wasn’t pleased with it–and much less so given it was on an airline I rarely fly. After almost two hours on the phone with two or three different customer service agents, they converted it into a gift card, which is only valid at a handful of merchants. It’s just barely better than just walking away with a crazy story tho!