Wait, the title says Lufthansa. This report is supposed to be about a British Airways flight to London for my long anticipated American Airlines 787 flight back to Chicago.
The original plan was I'd be looking at this board for the train to downtown Amsterdam and enjoy a late breakfast, do some sightseeing before boarding British Airways back to London. All to save the insane departure tax the Brits impose. (Here's a great idea, let's tax someone an additional $200 for the privilege of leaving the country on top of the already ridiculous airport taxes and fees we levy. We'll get so many more visitors this way.)
When in London the night before waiting for KLM to Amsterdam the thought crossed my mind I may have a problem getting back Sunday with British Airways having cancelled all their flights on Saturday. Even if whatever problem was fixed, aircraft and crews were out of position. So I did a quick check of local hotels. Nada. So much for that idea.
A highlight of this report is the Hilton in Amsterdam. It's located in the new business center build off the airport. There are three hotels you can walk to without exiting the complex; Citizen M, Sheraton and Hilton. Of course the Hilton was the farthest walk but still not too far. It was worth it, beautiful hotel.
An upgrade to the Executive floor was welcomed.
I woke early and immediately checked my phone for an update on British Airways. (I failed to take a screenshot, probably due to jet lag fog) but the flight status said something like this: 'Your 7:15pm departure is currently scheduled for 11:55pm. Due to constantly changing scheduling we recommend you arrive for your flight at the originally scheduled time.'
Okay, so at 7AM my flight scheduled in 12 hours is already delayed by 4 1/2 hours, but they want me to wait in the airport just in case they decide to fly on time? On top of that, a Google flight search showed EVERY AMS-LHR flight before mine cancelled. My American flight leaves London the next day at 7:45AM, so getting in at midnight to get up at 4:30 to deal with a fiasco at London Heathrow was pretty much a fitting ending for this trip, and not something I wanted to do.
I pondered my options.
I'm already self-imposed exhausted with crazy time zone changes and back to back to back 9+ hour flights. Do I want to walk around Amsterdam for 6 hours, wait in the airport for 6 hours for a flight that may or may not go then maybe get 4 hours of sleep only to take another 8 hour flight at 8 in the morning? And if they do cancel the flight, I'm at BA's mercy for a hotel or it's my dime. I understand the sacrifices Reward Flying demands, but this is a little much.
Of course if British Airways cancelled the flight to London and somehow I got a hotel, American Airlines would get me back. Their flight the next day was to Dallas on a crappy 767 then up to Chicago, best case home late evening. I assumed they had availability as I can't image folks flocking to fly that plane in business class, but that's off topic.
Not liking my booked options I opened the United app. AMS-ORD. Plenty of Star Alliance options for Sunday as well as United 767 Global First for Monday. One Sunday option was very appealing and left in a couple hours, yes just get me home. Lufthansa 747-8i in business class, 70,000 points and $50. More than my 57,500 American flight, but it's crisis time. The issue was a $150 cancellation fee with American that was one of the reasons I took this stupid trip in the first place.
I called. The first agent refused to waive the change fee. Said the flight must be delayed for an hour before a no cost change can be made. Hang up call again. Thirty seconds later my American itinerary was cancelled, points back in the account, silly $137.00 LHR taxes refunded and redeposit fee waived. Lufthansa here I come. American 787-8 Concept D we just aren't meant for each other and I am not booking you again, -9 I'll forgive.
Fresh air will have to wait until Chicago which is a shame as it was a spectacular day in Amsterdam.
Arriving at the gate on time I found a mass of people and no plane. It finally arrived but was scheduled for a crew change. I had a 90 minute connection in Frankfurt. Notice the time 14:43 and the departure time 14:50. Not one announcement was ever made. Two agents sat talking to each other at the counter seemingly with no interest of what was not taking place, boarding.
It would have been fitting to miss the Lufthansa flight home and be stuck in Frankfurt now wouldn't it?
We finally boarded but the crew was in no hurry to depart. Come on, come on come on, at 3:30 the plane pushed from the gate, 40 minutes behind schedule.
Then the longest taxi to a runway of my life.
It was 4:05 when wheels were up. FRA-ORD was scheduled at 5:15.
Lufthansa domestic business class would fit in perfectly with US legacy carriers.
Yes, they'd fit right in.
Amsterdam, I'll be back under better circumstances.
We touched down at about 4:45. I was feeling better about my chances.
Caught this aircraft as we were landing but the photo isn't clear enough to make out the airline's name, nor do I know what type of aircraft it is. Soviet maybe?
Amsterdam - AMS
Frankfurt - FRA
Another impossibly long taxi to the gate. Finally at the gate, it's 5PM. People are charging the front to get off. But...the jetway is broken.
To be continued.
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