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To Europe And Back, For Free… Again!

Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:08 pm

The time had come for me to fly to Poland and see my daughter. I had missed out on x-mas thanks in part to a very pissed-off USAF colonel so this was my chance. This trip took some planning to set up, though there is enough aerial adventure to make even the most seasoned travelers nervous.

The first leg of this trip is the only leg that i spent more than 10 minutes planning. I would once again enlist the help of a friend and enjoy the comforts of 5-star travel. It just so happened that there was an airplane that needed to reposition to from KIAD to LFPG, and it’s routing included a stop in KJFK just long enough to pick up catering and deadheading pax (me.) Right after work i headed home, parked my car in my garage and hitched a ride to JFK’s general aviation terminal where my chariot sat waiting. Like the previous trip, as soon as i got onboard and took off my coat we sat down and started taxi. The crew was in no rush to get to Paris, the airplane didn’t need to fly again until Wednesday evening. After a few discussions with the pilots during their break periods it was decided among them that they would divert to EPWA to drop me off and save me the hassle of getting from Paris to Warsaw. Once again, the crew was very welcoming and professional, and thanks to the onboard internet a few buddy passes were issued in exchange for the favor I received. A/c was NOT N511QS.

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Photo © Harri Koskinen

I had wanted to fly home on a US A333, meaning FRA-PHL-LGA. It seemed like a good idea at the time but after getting to WAW Friday morning I decided against it, and the ladies at the counter booked me on LO377 WAW to FRA, then LH404 to JFK. The flight to FRA lacked any good reading, and I didn’t take my computer on this trip. LO made me gate-check my bag, even though it was a small roller bag. I knew it wouldn’t fit into the overhead so I obliged. They tagged it for JFK and I boarded the plane. One of the reasons I love flying LO through WAW is that many flights are boarded on the hardstand and not at the gate. We were bussed to the a/c and walked across the ramp to the airplane, something I thoroughly enjoy. It was only the first time that I was onboard an LO EMB-145, and I was glad the flight lasted less than 2 hours. Even though I had seat 12A, that airplane is a tight fit for someone my size. A/c was SP-LGL:

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Photo © Stuart Lawson

I really like FRA for some reason, don’t know what exactly it is just yet. I got on LH404 FRA to JFK. The flight lasted almost 9 hours, most of which I was asleep for again. I wasn’t’ as tired as I was last time around, and I only had 2 seats to my name on this flight. This was my very first time on an A343, and only the second on an LH flight. The food was decent, and the conversation I had with a deadheading FO wasn’t bad either. Most of it revolved around aviation careers and Flight Safety. The only unpleasant surprise was that my bag didn’t fly with me; in fact it wasn’t connected in FRA!! Since I’m an airline employee they didn’t want to take a claim and couldn’t understand why I didn’t carry the bag on. Who handles LH at JFK? The service I endured was more like a disservice! Horrible! Worst of all is that my bag contained the two single-use cameras I bought to get pix of my daughter. I wanted to pack light and didn’t take my SLR. Go figure, something always goes wrong!! A/c was D-AI**:

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Photo © Weimeng

The trip was a success, and I now have to go back soon with my SLR to get the pix that everyone is asking for! I’ll never again take a EMB-145 to FRA either!
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."

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