Whew. We made it back last night finally around 10 p.m., GMT+1. That was a really long flight — it was “only” 10 hours and 41 minutes in reality, but it has completely messed with our internal clocks. We left Puerto Vallarta on time at 16:00 and arrived at Munich on time at 18:00 the following day. It really did feel like 26 hours in the air.
We had a great trip and are grateful to be able to visit our families and friends. Things we should have figured out, but didn’t:
- United Airlines. They’re not very good.
On our way to Kansas City, we had to transfer in Chicago. We had to claim our bags at O’Hare to clear Customs, but there was no easy re-check area for connecting flights (that we could find). We ended up shuffling our stuff all the way out front to the ticket windows for re-checking and the people working there were an utter embarrassment…even to United. They appeared to have no idea what was going on. And thank goodness we noticed that one of our bags lost its sticker enroute before we re-checked it on the way to K.C. — else I’m sure it would have gone missing. The United people at the ticket window surely wouldn’t have noticed.
When we were leaving Puerto Vallarta bound for San Francisco on Friday afternoon, we got to the gate area nice and early awaiting the announcement that United 1264 to San Francisco was waiting to board. The monitors were showing a boarding time 20 minutes later than the time stamped on our boarding passes, so it looked to us like there’d been a delay since the time that our passes were printed. We noticed that there were 4 flights to San Francisco within about 35 minutes of each other. We heard them calling for flight “eleven sixty-four to San Francisco” a couple of times, but didn’t pay any attention to it until they made a final boarding call. We walked up and the gate agent was very surly with us: “weren’t you listening to the announcements?” I tried to explain to her that 11 ≠ 12, but she didn’t want to hear that from me. When we got on the bus to the plane, we heard other passengers griping about the same topic, so we knew it wasn’t just us.
- Getting back to Regensburg is never as quick or easy as it sounds, especially after that many hours in transit.
There was a small chance that we’d be able to snatch our bags and race for the bus to take us to the train station in time to catch a train. But it took a long time for our bags to come off the belt, and the bus was a couple minutes late, and a detour on the bus route meant that we missed our first available train and had to take the second. So of course it was after 20:00 when we finally arrived in Regensburg.
- Holiday Weekends are great, unless you don’t have any food in the house.
We forgot that we were coming back on a Saturday night. We forgot that we’d likely not make it back until all stores were already closed. We forgot that we’d have to wait until Tuesday to buy any groceries. We forgot to leave some non-perishable food here waiting for us.
We’ll chalk it up to “lessons learned.” I guess that means there’s some Exil and Ganesha in our future until Tuesday.