….Then We Took Berlin*

We’ve yet to take Manhattan, but we have taken Berlin – or perhaps we were taken in Berlin. Anyway, we have left Berlin and are now on the final leg of what is fast becoming an arduous journey.

We got to the Tegel Airport at 6:30am for our 9:10 flight. Now, compared to Kelowna International, the Berlin airport is equivalent to Dogpatch, USA. From finding something decent to eat to finding an electrical outlet is a chore. Add to that the squeaking women’s washroom door (Apparently there is no WD40 in Germany) next to where Terry, Ria and Scott were sitting for an hour and half and you get the beginning of an idea. It is just the beginning.

Scott, Ria and Terry go to the gate attendant (I am lagging behind) and Terry is told she cannot take her carry on suitcase on – either it is too large (Not true) or she has three bags (one of which is a 6″ by 6″ purse which Terry says  she can put in her backpack. “No! You must check this bag” This is our 7th flight. Scott and Ria’s carry-ons are both larger than Terry’s and she told them they were ok. Nevertheless, the attendant gives Terry a paper tag and tells her to leave it with her colleague at the gate. Terry obliges. (I know, you know where this is going).

We get to Amsterdam – even in the rain it is much much nicer looking than Berlin. We wait at the baggage carousel – and wait and wait. No suitcase. We file a lost luggage report. Problem – because it was just a paper tag, it doesn’t get scanned into the system. There is no way to track it. They have to manually search for it. Great. They give us a file number so we can track the hunt online. Great. “Search is in progress. Please check back later” At 5:00 Terry phones and the woman reads her the online message. Great. At 6:30 an irate husband phones and gets a much better response. A very nice gentleman says he will look more closely into it, contact Berlin and get back to me. At 8:30 he calls to say they have located it and a courier will deliver it by 11:00. All’s well that ends well. Nope. I wait up until 11:45 – no courier, no suitcase. At 8:00 this morning Ria goes down to see if they have left it at the front door. No, but they have left this.

Even if Ria is of Dutch heritage, she can't read this.

Even if Ria is of Dutch heritage, she can’t read this.

I call the number and am told that a) perhaps the driver didn’t call because my number is not a Holland number and b) it will be delivered between 11 and 2 today. I tell him we only have 3 days in Amsterdam (ok, a little lie, but still…) and waiting isn’t how we want to spend one day. He says he’ll call the courier later – when the courier gets up. He calls the courier – now it will be between 2 and 7pm. I get upset and we finally agree to delivery between 7 and 11:30 tonight with a guarantee they will call me. 

I do want to be clear that the delivery debacle does not appear to be KLM’s fault – it is the courier. On the other hand the KLM attendant at the Berlin gate caused this because she was so – let’s just say – difficult.

And so we wait.

So there’s my morning rant. More on Amsterdam later.

*From the fantastic Leonard Cohen’s fantastic “First We Take Manhattan” I have wanted to use that line ever since we arrived in Berlin.

Leave a Reply