Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Second Visit To The US

I did not expect the fellow manning the Lufthansa check- in counter at Bengaluru airport to be so mean. We were travelling to Detroit via Frankfurt and he offered a free upgrade to business class for both of us for the cost of one. I declined his offer, told him that we were fine with our cattle class but requested him to put both of us together, with one aisle seat if possible. He said that all the aisle seats were full. “That’s why I offered you the upgrade sir,” he added grudgingly and handed our boarding passes. We had got the middle two of the four seats which form the middle row of the Boeing 747. The flight was full and I can understand the situation. Stingy people who do not want to pay extra for the seats of their choice should accept whatever they get.

Anyway, as it happened, the passenger occupying the seat next to us on the Bengaluru - Frankfurt flight was a German working in Bengaluru and since he spent most of the journey chatting with the steward at the back of the aircraft, we could travel in reasonable comfort in spite of the inconvenient seat allotment.

This was my second international travel and this time also I started to feel the jet lag even before the flight took off! You need to report at the airport at twelve midnight and the deprivation of sleep along with the unusual activity in the night makes me hungry much before we board the aircraft. Fortunately some snack is served soon after the take off and I greedily devour whatever is offered at that ungodly hour thereby beginning the messing up of my biological clock. What was served during my present flight was some heavily spiced vegetable mix rolled in a very tough 'Chapaati' along with a slice of cake, but a somewhat decent and edible package was served later in the flight.

I had experienced my first international flight about six years back and had forgotten most of the experience except for the fact that my elbows were in the butter and jam of the breakfast tray of my co passengers when I was eating. After that I had only travelled on the domestic flights where butters and jams do not exist and I had trained myself not to ask for anything other than water. A few hours into the flight I realised that it was not the case here and that I could move around the cabin and get any refreshments as and when required. The food provided was not bad. In fact the fruits, were actually sweet! Moreover there was this ‘Belavita’ cereal and fruit bar which was very good, and there was an unlimited supply. So, the rest of the journey was quite comfortable.

The flight from Frankfurt to Detroit was little more than half full and there were rows of seats vacant. While my wife made herself comfortable by flipping the hand rests of a row of three seats up and converting it into a cosy bed, I could get the free use of a row of two seats and had a comfortable time reading and listening to music. In spite of half the aircraft being empty the fellow at Bengaluru check in counter had allotted us seats 19K and 42H. I think I am justified in calling him mean. We arrived at Detroit right on time and in spite of  about half a ton of food and gifts which we were carrying, the officials waved us through and we were home in no time.

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