A Day to Remember

Here is another little story I wanted to share already for a long time. I really do wonder why I didn’t write about it before but well better late than never.

This whole annoyance happened back in 2015 when we were flying to China. I had everything planned out on how we get from our home to the central bus station and from there to the airport. The day started even well (except that I was pretty ill back then) and we got our taxi to the bus station without problems. The bus also arrived in time and the entire trip to the airport went without problems. But then the nightmare started and it lasted nearly the whole day.

First of all my wife had the wrong residence permit with her (The Finnish one, not the needed German) but we were able to settle that after some time. The next problem was at the customs as we had some products with us for our customers. The line there was just huge and we saw the time running away to get to the gate. After the customs we were relieved as there was still time left but oh no, more troubles were ahead. One big trouble was the security check where we found out that one of the products was a mixer and we completely had forgotten about the nice blade placed within it. The option now was 1. throw the thing away or 2. someone had to run back to the check-in to get the bag with the mixer inside as an extra luggage.

night4
All is still well at the bus station

Turns out I was the one to run to the check-in and the staff was so friendly to declare that suitcase as an extra luggage for Nathan and thus it was for free. What joy I felt in that moment and I really did believe now all of our troubles were over. Well while as I had this brief moment of joy my wife had other struggles at the security check as her laptop had to be checked for explosives and this whole stress made Nathan a very very upset little boy. Upset equals a lot of crying and thus making it also very hard for mommy. Even these troubles we survived and we were looking forward to just relax a bit before flying to Helsinki.

Flying to Helsinki? Not going to happen! Just as we had few minutes to calm down we heard the announcement that the flight to Helsinki was delayed by two hours. Those two hours would mean that we miss our connecting flight to Xi’an. All the stress began anew and we rushed to the gate to get more information. There we were told that all passengers with connecting flights to China got a new flight via Lufthansa going from Hamburg to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Beijing and then for us from Beijing to Xi’an. All in all over 23 hours instead of our booked flight with only 10 hours! We weren’t happy at all so we had to go back to the check-in area to the Service Center to make some complaints. Result was that we still had to catch that flight to Frankfurt and we needed to hurry as the Gate was closing in 15 minutes. Now the problem was that we still needed to get our luggage from the Baggage Claims. In all the hurry (only 5 minutes left!) we forgot one suitcase but we wouldn’t realize that until much later. As we ran with the staff to the Gate we saw our plane slowly rolling away…

night3
Brief moment of rest before finding out that the flight is delayed

Now we had to go back to the Service Center. There my wife was already in a terrible mood and it escalated into a shouting match between her and some of the staff. Meanwhile I was busy entertaining Nathan somehow who got also grumpier by the minute. After what felt like an eternity we got another flight and this one was leaving once again in just 30 minutes. So all the running madness began again (I think I do not need to point out that we had to do the security check each time we passed between the areas + having the same stupid explosive check with our laptop). Half way through the running we finally realized that one suitcase was missing. Down I ran with the staff to the Baggage Claim just to find out after spending 20 minutes there that our suitcase had by now taken its flight to Helsinki with the delayed machine. By now we had in fact already spent 6 hours at the airport, running here and there with our 1 1/2 year old son without resting, eating or drinking something. Of course we missed our new flight as well due to the delay at the Baggage Claim.

night2
More than two days later Nathan is exhausted in FIL’s arms

Exhausted we had to go back to the Service Center once again and the staff there was not all too happy to see my wife again in front of them. I don’t know what all happened in the following hours but it involved me going down to the Baggage Claim to the Lost & Found desk to somehow find the missing suitcase which was by now somewhere in Helsinki (indeed it was kind of lost as the tracking number was gone), my wife having an emotional breakdown and Nathan getting very exhausted and more grumpy. In the end we settled for taking the next flight to Xi’an via Helsinki two days later. We spent 11 hours at the airport, running the whole day and did not eat or drink anything during the entire time. As we got back home we were just dead tired and went to sleep after eating a bit.

This has been thus far our worst flight experience as it was a day where nothing worked out at all, everything going wrong. Two days later everything went as smooth as it could go. I must also add that the staff at the Hamburg Airport did an excellent job by helping us out and not to actually trying to kill my wife.

What was your worst experience when it comes to flying/ being stucked at the airport.

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24 thoughts on “A Day to Remember”

  1. I did have an airflight delay of 8 hrs. but it doesn’t compare dealing with a young child and lost baggage. I was in the CAnadian Arctic on Baffin Island where our plane could not land due to 180 km./hr. winds in a wind snowstorm in winter. I ended up chatting with an INuit mother who had her baby for an operation that they needed to fly 1,000 km. south to Ottawa.

    1. It must be really hard to get the medical attention required when living in such areas. In Germany it is a bit different however people living on the small islands in the North Sea also need to be transported by Helicopters in case of emergency and pregnant women have to stay in the Mainland for the last 1 or 2 months of the pregnancy.

      1. I learned when I was up there, in town of Iqauluit which is also capital city for Nunavut Territory, that the local hospital is unable to attract a doctor. So they have nurses. Keep in mind there are no roads across huge sections of the Canadian Arctic. So imagine if one was subject to domestic violence or one was suicidal in a tiny hamlet of 500 people, you’re abit trapped.

      2. Here are some documentaries from time to time about those regions. I really do wonder how long I could stay there because it is so isolated. Mind you I love to stay at my cottage away from other people even for months but I always have the option to jump into my car and drive to the next town just a couple of hours away

      3. It’s tough living and awfully expensive. I think a loaf of bread was well over $15.00CAN. A lot of food comes by ship which is only a few times annually because of the Arctic ice.

    1. It is like a nightmare when thinking about it. I tried to forget but then again it is a good reminder when something doesn’t go as planned because that airport experience shows that it still could be much worse !

  2. Overall…it sounds like a lot of exercise. Can understand why everyone was frustrated and it seems like miscommunication everywhere and bad luck 🙁😒 How you made it through without food is amazing. I would have probably bought something from the McDonalds 🍟🍔

    1. It was less exercise and more hell on earth. We didn’t even realize that we didn’t eat or drink the entire time till things calmed down by getting the flight two days later.
      Oh and I think there is not even a mc Donald’s there but I could be wrong as I never really check for something like that :p

  3. Uff, so many suitcases in the picture, and a small kid… your “adventure” sounds like hell on Earth! I haven’t been that unlucky yet (touching wood), I’ve only had the usual delays (once with Ryanair I was stuck for 8 hours in Seville’s super small and boring airport…).

    1. It was a real madness. Thinking about small airports, once we were stacked for 5 hours at St. Petersburg airport which has the size of a small railwaystation. Not to mention that we had that day well over 30 degrees Celsius and there was no air condition 😀

  4. OMG. That sounds like pure hell. No, I don’t think I have a travel story that comes even close nor do I want to. No, I’m good, thank you. You win.

    So glad you survived it. I suppose when these things happen, you don’t really have a chocie do you? They make it so hard these days just to do the simplest things. And with a toddler in tow. Jeez.

    I would have been as frazzled as your wife, for sure. Hope you never go through that again!

    1. I really do hope something like this won’t happen again. We would have accepted the rebooked flight in case it would be just a bit longer but nearly triple the time – no thank you.
      The staff at the Service Center need some thick skin as there is something like this everyday…

  5. What a trip! I understand that it must have been really stressful. Though I’ve also been on the other side/with the “bad guys” when I worked as a pilot and as cabin crew, and airlines usually only cancel flights if there are no other option, because cancellations also means that they lose a lot of money. And even though a 23h flight really sounds unbearable compared to the 10h original flight, then it was probably a better option than having to wait for the flight the following day? Glad to hear that the Hamburg staff was nice to you:)

    1. Waiting two days was definitely better than the long flight + we paid for the direct flight (the 23h flight was 200 euros cheaper…)
      I understand that they had to do that due to some kid of reason but we had really bad luck that day with the luggage and missing 2 rescheduled connecting flights:p

  6. Ahh reminds me the horrors of flying, especially with a baby on board. Those experiences have me tougher lol, because I have learned to overcome my fear.
    I flew with my daughter from Kuwait to Philippines then to the Netherlands alone. We never have this crazy incident before checking in but I was already exhausted from a 21 hours flight with 4 hours to kill in Dubai airport without a stroller. Hardest part was maintaining my calm during her chaotic cranky mood since she has colds. When we arrived in Amsterdam, exhausted, tired & jet-lagged, plus waiting so long for our baggage, the airline staff informed me that my daughter’s stroller was left in Dubai and they forget to load it in the A380 flight to Amsterdam!

    I remember when we are on holiday in Ph, me & my husband have to rescheduled our flights 3 times. The bad weather was not foreseen and I did not expect that our flights would be cancelled. First, we are up in the sky and ready to land but suddenly the plane get back because the airport refuse to let us land. The next was we are in the shuttle ready to board the plane and it was cancelled again. It totally ruined our schedule and mess up with our other itineraries.
    But in the end, we managed to be home. Those were indeed days to remember. I ma looking forward that our next flight will be smoother.
    Great post Timo!

    1. Thankfully never any of our luggage was “forgotten”. The one we kind of lost in Hamburg was reunited with us when we arrived in Xi’an two days later so we had no issues with that.
      The rescheduling the flight three times sounds horrible.
      So far we got in all airports we were a stroller for Nathan, I am surprised that they didn’t have it in Dubai?

      1. Oh Emirates is a great airline but our time of arrival there was so full , most strollers are taken so I don’t have a choice but to carry her when she’s tired.

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