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Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 10:55 am


Wed Aug 16, 2000 2:12 pm

It's been quite a few years back but I kind of liked that trip, as it was my first trip to the US.
It was the end of march 1988, shortly after my birthday.
Back in the good old years, my dad was still the Cargo Manager for AR in FRA ( he is retired now ) and I was still in school. Everything was carefree.
As always my dad ordered multiple tickets ( all ID90's ) from AC, PA and LH, in order to be sure to get on one of the flights. ( The AC ticket routing was FRA-YYZ-MIA and return and was valid on AC only, really cheap around DEM 100 per person / PA was FRA - JFK - MIA and back / the LH was the most expensive one, direct shot from FRA - MIA and back )

We had easter holidays in Germany and most of the flights to the US and CA were booked solid and as a standby you don't have much choice, have yourself listed on the standby list and wait if you can get on or not.

I was really nervous the day we went to the airport as this was my first flight to the US, before that date we only had been travelling within Europe.

At that time FRA only had one terminal divided in A,B,C
I think AC was in C, LH in A and PA I guess B.
Just keep in mind that all northamerica bound flight leave in the morning almost at the same time.

Nevertheless we went to the PA counter to check in, waited in line a couple of minutes and were greeted by a friendly airline employee ( no handling agents !!! )
Anything else than ohhh...Mr Garcia perfect we have two seats ( businees Class ) for you available on our flight to JFK would have been a miracle.
Of course the flight was overbooked and our chances getting on that flight were really slim but we went to the gate anyway and got us listed.
The boarding process already started and more and more passengers went onboard, ( it was a 747 ) then they called the standby list......My dad was talking to somebody from PA and trying to find out how the chances are to get on this flight.
Eventually they were really bad as the last PAD boarded the plane and the doors were closed !

There was another PA flight a little later and we got us listed as Standby.
In between there was another AC flight and we took our cart and the bags and rushed to Terminal C, everything was on a tight schedule.
After running to Terminal C we arrived at the AC gate and again the flight did not look too good, same procedure as for the PA flight, listed as standby and wait, wait and wait..........I hated to wait, although it always was kind of thrilling. Do we get on or not ?
We did not .................Time was running and we went back to the PA gate and tried to get on the later flight, same.................the flight was packed. We saw some fellow passengers again, who also travelled on an ID90 and had the same luck as we did, not to get on...............
During the running around we also missed the LH flight to MIA, it was full anyway so it was not a big loss.....

Somehow exhausted from the running around we figurered sitting down and having some drinks would help. We went to the AR pax office and my dad talked to some AR employees.
I was bored,left the office and was going around the terminal and looking at people, ( highly interesting ) and took a glimpse at the departure board....................
LH to BJS, AA to DFW, DL to DFW etc....all on time, almost at the end I saw a flight which was already delayed from 08.00 am to 08.00 pm, Hawaiin Airlines to MIA - HNL................ immediately after I noticed that flight, I went back to my dad and told him about my discovery.
He looked at me, said good bye to his buddies and we left the office. Not loosing anymore time we went right to the Station Manager of Hawaiin Airlines in order to find out the status of the flight and if there is a chance for us to get on. ( remember we only had the PA, AC and LH tickets and the AC was the cheapest ) He said if we have space we would take you.
It was a charter plane and was supposed to go from BSL via FRA to MIA and HNL, but upon arrival the pilot reported problems with one of the engines and the meachnics tried their best to fix the problem, in the meantime in oder to save time, the passenger from BSL had to take the BUS, not the Air-bus but the real bus and they already had been on their way to FRA. Current time would have been around 2.00pm................we had two choices leave and go home and come back later or wait at the airport. We decided to wait, as you never know ........the engine could have been fixed sonner than expected and the ETD would have been earlier .............it was a long boring wait...................and there was no guarantee that we would get on.................
Around 08.00 pm we went to the gate and met another PAD, very friendly person with the name Eric.
We got onboard and everything was fine, although a woman was kind of afraid to go onboard when she heard about the mechanical...........Eric convinced her about the saftey of the plane and finally she boarded...........it was a DC-8-73, we were seated at the rear of the plane, at that time I really did not care at least we had a seat and we were airborne. The flight was not very enventful.........oh yes during dinner time there was a funny story.......the F/A served the dinner and in front of us there was a Suiss family seated, mom and dad and 2 kids .........nice people but a little strange, when the F/A served the dinner plate to the passenger sitting a row in front of the swiss, the dad actaully stood up, leaned over the seat back and looked at the food, turned around and said : that really looks yummy and he did repeated that sentence some time...................it is hard to describe but is was just a funny situation..............

On the descent the captain indicated some turbulent weather, thunderstorm just passed through the area and lightning was still visible from time to time. Therefore the appraoch was not what u call smooth, it was really rough and we had some real choppy air............

We landed savely and it was hot and humid.......it was approx. 10.30 pm local time and we werew both really tired. We picked up our rental car and drove to the hotel................20 days of excellent vacation were just ahead of us.

I really did not want to go home, but we had to.
As the booking did not change at all, my dad decided to fly home via YYZ.
We were still using the AC ticket.........to get on the YYZ flight was not nearly as complicated as to get on the other flights. First attempt and we were airborne.
From about 86F ( 30C ) we went to cloudy skies and temps in the low 30F ( 0C), April in Toronto............we took the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Toronto, great city, btw............I wanna go back there sometimes soon, although the memories are not that good..........................

After the day we arrived at YYZ we went back to catch a flight back to FRA.
First day no luck at all, we tried AC and LH and no one would take us, Jump seat, Cockpit all were already allocated by other standby passengers.
The second day we almost had luck, bags had been checked in and we were so close to get onboard but as you can imagine, I did not work again. Bad luck...........this day we were not really picky as we also tried SR, CP and some others, still keeping in mind that we had the AC only ticket. Some airline did have space but would not accept the ticket.

Day 3 totally frustrated, bags were already in FRA, we had to buy some clothes to change, we headed to the airport again, and the situation had not changed a bit..........oversold flights and stranded full fare passenger and us in the middle.

Finally we saw a KL flight to AMS, at that point we really did not care where in Europe we wanted to go, just Europe.............The check in person did not accept the ticket, but the Station Manager of KL did, really nice,we were almost on our way, after having a little drink to celebrate our luck, we went to the gate where the boarding process already started.
Amasingly only 250 passengers were booked on that flight and all of a sudden a large croud of passengers appraoched the KL gate, they were " left overs " of a grounded CP flight and were transfered to KL...................luckily we finally got on that flight,we even had the preference of some of the CP passengers..................I was so glad to be in the air!
The flight was pretty good and we landed in AMS ! Another problem we had no ticket from AMS-Luck was finally on our side the Station Manager of KL was really helpful and I guess he felt bad for us, when we told him our story and he iussed us 2 boarding passes at no charge to finally get to FRA..........................

So this was my trip, a long one and I was ready for another vacation.  

But who can beat FRA - MIA - YYZ - AMS - FRA for DEM 90.00 or USD 45.00. per person ?  

Hope you liked it.

Vasco Garcia

For Vasco Garcia

Thu Aug 17, 2000 3:16 am


Thanks, a really interesting report. I suppose that that is what air travel is missing these days... it is very ordered with not as much excitement as there used to be!!


Topic Author
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 10:55 am


Thu Aug 17, 2000 12:28 pm

That is true, air-travel is becoming more and more commercial these days.
Profit, on time performance and customer satisfaction, where are the good old days ?
I always had that feeling all airliners were a big family and this is going away, sad but true, .........when I have time I will post some other trip reports dated a couple of years back.



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