…dann kann er was erzählen.
This German saying (something like “Traveling makes you end up with a lot of stories to tell.”) proved truer than ever before when we were to board our plane.
Carefully planned trip to the airport – no problem. 4 cats in one car, luggage in the other, almost all parents happy to accompany us to the airport and see us off in Düsseldorf. Doors close, let’s go.
At the airport, we first had to find enough baggage cars for all our stuff. Easy as pie. If there is one place where there are enough baggage cars, it’s the airport, right? Plus at that moment, we still had enough hands to do the shoving around…
Somehow, Thomas (plus baggage car 1) were the first ones to enter the airport building. I just had to wait for another elevater to arrive and give me and the kitties a lift. After a little shoving, no problem. The doors of the elevator closed. My cell rang. my husband told my from over the street that he just had been to the airline counter. Our flight had been cancelled.
I thought he was kidding. Kind of a cruel joke, but still… I asked him again, and he repeated the information. And there was this little edge to his voice that it made it sound really true…
When all baggage, cats and parents had made it over the street, we had to face the truth: the flight really was cancelled. Apparently technical problems, but who knows what really happened. We could not be placed on any other flight since we had 4 cats with us, and had booked our flights with miles. Choices were limited. We couldn’t go via London, for example, since animals have to be quarantined in the UK. Lufthansa or some other planes departing to SFO – no option, as not the same alliance. Great.
After several hours (I’m not joking here) and already the second team of (more or less) friendly airline ground personnel, we finally got our new “marching orders”. We would have to stay overnight. Great idea with no apartment to return to, and our whole life somewhere between Rotterdam and a cargo ship. A nice airport hotel was the solution – but the cats… Yes, even with cats. We must have looked slightly pathetic, pale, freaked out, and someone at the front desk felt really sorry for us. They gave us a junior suite, so that the cats could have their own room. My parents were real heroes and stayed with us the entire time. Then, they treated us to a really nice lunch (after leaving at the crack of dawn with no real appetite it was amazing!), wine included (yep, we definitely needed that!) and also went to do some shopping with us – cat food, litter box, water bowl, other supplies. Peeing on the carpet was not an option, starving to death neither (if you have cats, you’ll know what I mean).
And after a pretty restless night, we flew to Los Angeles and then to San Francisco. Checkin was a nightmare, since we had to get the cats out of their kennels in the middle of the terminal. People behind us, late for their flights to Mallorca or some other island, whimpering about them being too late (lead on time, people!) and if we couldn’t hurry up a bit. Haha… It worked out just fine, and with a queasy feeling in my stomach, we left the cats to be put into the cargo area of the plane, and went our way.
The flight was rather uneventful…
In Los Angeles, it was on again. Getting the baggage, finding out where we could pick up the cats again, finding the right express counter, immigration, customs, proving the cats were alive and not drugged, finding baggage cars, manouevring from one terminal to another, dropping the baggage again, paying again for the cat transport (we already had paid in advance, but we didn’t want to be sticklers at this point, we just wanted to get going), getting the cats out of the crates again for a drug swap and belly check, and then… a cool beer in the airport lounge. I never felt that pumped in my entire life, I think, and no beer has ever tasted so sweet.
Way later, and with way more hassle than we wanted to have, we finally arrived in San Francisco.
Welcome to your new life.