Other parts of this series so far:
Rhine Runaway – Booking Process
Rhine Runaway – Houston to Amsterdam
Rhine Runaway – A Short Visit to Amsterdam
Rhine Runaway – River Cruise Part I
Rhine Runaway – River Cruise Part II
Rhine Runaway – Zurich Part I
Rhine Runaway – Zurich Part II
I had a 2-connection flight back to Memphis from Zurich, connecting in Munich and Charlotte. That meant an early start to the day since I had a 9 AM flight. My roomie, who lives in a much bigger city and was on a paid ticket, had a much later flight but decided she might as well come on to the airport with me rather than just sit around the hotel for a few more hours. With her single-connection flight she’d be back at her home airport – if not her house – before I would, even with my head start. Ah, the joys of living in a mid-size city!
We’d debated the best method of getting to the airport. We checked out the train/tram maps but part of me was concerned about missing connections and we’d be lugging our suitcases along. I just didn’t trust myself to read the maps correctly at 6 AM. I thought about a taxi but then checked Uber and noticed there was a driver fairly close. I contacted him just before we left the room. By the time we’d checked out he was just arriving. This was my first time using Uber and it was nice that the app showed a photo of the driver, so I could be sure we had the correct ride. I was also thinking about how nice it was that I had a credit on my Uber account so the ride wouldn’t cost as much as the estimate they’d given me. After I returned home and saw that the full amount had hit my credit card I contacted Uber to find out why. It turns out that for a credit to apply, the charge must be in the same currency. So my credit was in USD but the charge was in CHF (Swiss Francs) so no credit for me on this ride. That was disappointing, but lesson learned.
My flight to Munich was on Lufthansa in a regional jet with 2×2 seating. Since I was in “business class” that meant I had the two seats to myself. I recall selecting a seat on the website and it showed the seating as 3×3 with the middle seats blocked so I guess their had been an equipment change. We had some light refreshment – nothing too heavy as it’s only an hour-long flight to Munich – and soon enough we were touching down.
I made my way to the Lufthansa lounge. Unlike some of the bloggers who’ve been doing this awhile, I realized I don’t take nearly as many photos as they do so I don’t have any pictures. But I found a table and was able to relax in relative comfort for about a 30-45 minutes until it was time to head to the gate. I don’t recall hearing any boarding announcements in the lounge. There were light refreshments available but nothing to qualify as an early lunch. That was OK with me because I’d get plenty of food on the plane.
Our gate was all the way at one end of the terminal. They had the entire end blocked off with a podium manned by a Lufthansa employee who was checking tickets. There was a huge line of folks in coach but fortunately I saw that the other side of the podium was reserved for business & first class passengers and there was no line there. And, just as fortunately, by staying on that side of the building after passing the podium I avoided having to go through screening again. No PreCheck here to save me!
However, getting to the gate area the way I did left me as far from the front of the plane as could be, naturally. I bobbed and weaved through the crowd until I was near the correct doorway. There was a bit of a delay with the boarding and when they finally started allowing people through there was no one checking that only first & business class passengers were using that doorway. I realize we’re all getting on the same plane and it’s not going anywhere without us, it was just annoying. And frankly, after all the German effiency I’d witnessed all week (and loved!) it seemed odd that it would disappear at this point. Fortunately, as we approached the plane first and business passengers were allowed to board through door 1L while the folks in coach went to 2L. My vacation was truly starting to feel like it was over. But there was an ocean to cross first.