Getting to Krakow from Portland, Oregon

I arrived in Poland yesterday via Lufthansa (per United by Expedia purchase). The flights were good, the experience however has been a little lacking from the coordination perspective. Expedia has again sold me tickets where it is obvious they bulk purchase these and I’m on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to seat priority. Beyond that United has been pretty decent, albeit they have done the following for better or worse over the last 36 hours of traveling.

  • First report via Expdia via United was that the first plane was 2 hours late that would take me to Chicago.
  • Being proactive I was at the airport 5+ hours early (also eating breakfast because Portland’s airport actually kicks ass and has decent food, prices, and service) and I decided to go see if there was any other way to Chicago.
  • United was kind enough to get me a seat on an American Airlines flight to Chicago, which left and arrived at almost the same time as the original United/Lufthansa flight.
  • Once rescheduled I received a 3 hour and 40 minutes late notice from Expedia/United.
  • Then I received a flight cancelled notification.
  • Then while in Chicago waiting to board the lufthansa flight to Frankfurt I got a 2 hours + late notification.
  • During this time the United staff also mentioned that my luggage would follow me on the American Airlines flight.

So by the end of that mess I was thoroughly confused about whether the flight had gone anywhere. But none the less I didn’t really care since I’d been able to mitigate the problem.

In Chicago I also went to board and had a minor heart attack. When I swiped my ticket I got a “Deny Boarding” message. I then went and checked with the counter staff and they scanned my passport again and I was able to board. I guess they just needed re-confirmation even though they also had staff on hand to verify that people had their passports on them.

That flight was on a 747-8 via Lufthansa. Excellent flight overall, with a good hot dinner and a simple breakfast served. The staff were great and were on the spot. I really enjoyed this flight, in spite of all the other mess that was happening.

When I arrived in Frankfurt I then went through passport control and got my Frankfurt stamp. It took about 2 seconds as there were no lines to even mention. Once I found the gate I had about an hour and half wait.

The crew then had us board the plane, which was an interesting logistical situation. We all exited the gate onto two 60 foot buses. The buses then drove all of us out to the plane that was about 400 meters from the actual gate. It was just sitting parked out on the tarmac. We all exited the buses and went up the steps to the plane.

Once onboard the flight was only about an hour. Nothing of any significance occurred during the flight. We came in over Krakow and got a perfect view of the downtown center, then landed at the airport. Upon landing we were all bused again, via two 60 foot buses, from the airplane to the airport inbound terminal. Which appears to be an under construction building seperate from the main airport. It also seemed odd they bused us barely 100 meters.

Once off the plane all the passengers waited for our luggage to leave through the customs control. After about 30 minutes they finally offloaded the luggage and behold, my luggage didn’t arrive. All I could think was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I had multiple hour transfers, the flight legs were basically the same as originally planned, and somehow they’ve completely screwed up and misplaced my luggage. On top of all this I’ve no idea if it was United, American Airlines, or Lufthansa. I’ve got a tracking slip now and can only hope that they’ll manage to find it.

I’m also pondering how I should have bought insurance, because I just did the math and realized I had about $4k worth of things packed in there. A laptop, a stand alone bluetooth speaker, Missions Workshop bike cloths which are NOT cheap, and a host of other moderately expensive plugs, adapters, and other things for the computers.

Fortunately I’m generally prepared for entities to royally screw up like this, so I’ve at least got one change of cloths and my main laptops with me. So here I sit, thoroughly enjoying Krakow at this point, and just waiting for my luggage.