Standby, standby

Thanks to the ever unreliable Ukraine International Airlines, I found myself in a state of airport limbo today. My flight from Kiev Borispol to Berlin was delayed by 5 hours. My genius plan of fixing this pickle by flying to Frankfurt and then on to Berlin was fool proof, or at least it would have been if I hadn’t flown to Frankfurt with…yep, Ukraine International Airlines. My day has been spent staring at the all seeing eye known as the “Standby List Screen” in Frankfurt Terminal 1. It’s like watching ceefax (RIP) for the football scores. My name is on there, I’m number 8! I’m ruddy number 8! I don’t know what that means. I ask the well-fed Lufthansa check-in desk lady as she is mid Kit-Kat, “nothing” she tells me. I’m “in a queue”. There’s nothing I can do apparently. I ignore that last comment, there’s always something you can do. I hot foot it to the Lufthansa help-desk, and do what we Brits do best, queue (again), in preparation to complain.

It’s a well known scientific fact that British people are best in the world at queuing. We politely queued outside Northern Rock to collect what ever was left from our life savings, we queue outside HMV at midnight to buy Modern Warfare 3 and I am queuing in Frankfurt airport, partly to prove chunky Helga wrong, and partly because I’m now convinced its what I should be doing.

I reach the desk at the same time as an equally frustrated American man, who lets rip. No soft approach, no sob story, just hatred. I hold back, British reserve kicks in…”I’m terribly sorry to bother you”…and “I wonder if you can help me”. I hear the American to my right, it’s not going well…”I’m sorry sir, the next 2 flights are fully booked, cancellations only I’m afraid, I will put you back on the Standby List” he is informed. My lady goes quiet, waits until Mr Diplomatic storms off…and slowly hands me a boarding pass, “have a nice flight”. I should buy her a Kit-Kat.

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