Steve - Germany January 2010
  • I’m happy to say that my first attempt at the art of the mlog actually contains an important travel warning: Please, please, please, for the love of God an all that is holy, never let someone you care about fly a USAir Airbus A330-200 transatlantic.

    By amazing coincidence, I boarded right behind the lady who was to be my seatmate on the flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt. She had the window, and I had the aisle in a 2-4-2 configuration. As soon as she sat down, she started looking around, as though she was confused about something. She must have noticed me looking at her quizzically, because she asked, “Are we going to Frankfurt?” When I said, “I hope so”, she said, “On THIS??” I realized what she meant when I tried to slip my briefcase under the seat in front of me. The retrofit inflight movie system took up fully 50% of the space under the seat. A cigar box would have been a tight squeeze. My briefcase was out of the question. After I stowed my case in the overhead, along with my new friend’s backpack, I sat down and started coming to grips with the prospect of 8 hours with my feet squeezed together on the right side of my body. The Airbus design team had thought of everything, because the tray table was hinged so low that if I tried to sit with my knees bent, so that my feet were together directly in front of me, the table sat on my knees at a 40 degree angle, and everything ran right off it. The seating was like a Canadair regional jet, but with 245 people.

    I don’t know if all airlines are doing this, but on both the Phx-Charlotte and the Charlotte-Frankfurt flights, one of the USAir crew made a very serious and kind of creepy announcement that passengers were not allowed to put ANYTHING into the seat-back pockets, “Not even a ticket jacket!” They claimed it was a federal law that has been in place for years, but never enforced. I seem to remember reading something about this that said the law only applied to objects weighing more than 5 pounds, but this crew were having none of that. This same crew kept the fasten seatbelts light on for the entire 8 hour flight, so I’m not sure they’re really fully up on the regulations and procedures.

    The 2 hour layover in Frankfurt was greatly improved by a turkey & cream cheese bagel and a local beer, both enjoyed with a view of giant German mobile aircraft de-icing equipment blasting the snow off 747s. I made a mental note to Google “deicing machine filled with beer”. Something tells me…

    Getting to Stuttgart from Frankfurt took longer than expected, but they never told us what the delay was. We pushed from the gate right on time, but we were still sitting on the ground at the time that we were supposed to be landing in Stuttgart. (OK, it ‘s only a 30 minute flight, but still…) I finally nodded off for the first time in 24 hours, and woke up about 10 minutes before landing, when I heard the flight attendant say to a passenger behind me, “Just check the monitors when we land, and then run!” I just walked across the street to the friendly Movenpick Hotel, where I am now going to bed.

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